LAWRENCE, Ind. - The way paychecks are processed for civilian and military employees across the country could change under an Army proposal, but there is concern the move could cost nearly 2,000 people their jobs in central Indiana.
Both the union representing employees and lawmakers are asking the Army for answers on how a possible restructuring of the Army’s financial procedures could impact the Defense Finance and Accounting Services headquarters in Lawrence.
DFAS handles pay for the military. The American Federation of Government Employees estimates as many as 1,800 jobs could be affected by a proposal to try to move some of the capabilities of the office to Fort Bragg.
Sen. Joe Donnelly is one of the six members of Congress who sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army and the Under Secretary of Defense.
In the letter, the group asked the two officials how many jobs could be impacted and which financial management functions the Army would transfer.
"What we're trying to do is make sure nothing is put into place that doesn't make sense that from everything we're seeing from quality of employees, quality of people, our place out in Indy does a phenomenal job," Donnelly said.
The proposed pilot is part of a comprehensive review of the Army's financial procedures.
In a transcript from a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Secretary of the Army John McHugh said the following in response to questions from Congressman Andre Carson:
"We don't expect it would have much of any impact on DFAS. But we won't know what the outcomes may be until we do this one or two base targeted program," McHugh said. "DFAS relies upon its customers, and its customers are the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Coast Guard. As the number of customers get smaller, you're gonna have fewer transactions."
"What we're trying to do is make sure there are no capabilities moved to Fort Bragg, obviously. Our intention is to remain as strong as we are right now and hopefully grow in the future," Donnelly said.
Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup said a number of unanswered questions remain.
"I believe that any discussion about the future of DFAS in Lawrence should begin and end with how we bring more jobs from around the country to our growing military job center," Jessup said.
Both the union and members of Congress are requesting a briefing with the Army.