Fermilab director announces voluntary separation program

Pier Oddone, Director at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, announced on June 16 that the lab would begin a self-select voluntary separation program (SSVSP) in order to reduce staff by 100. Following is Oddone’s message to lab employees:

I am announcing today, June 16, 2011, a self-select voluntary separation program to bring Fermilab operations into balance with the resources we expect for the next few years, and to bring the laboratory workforce into balance with the skills required for future projects and programs. The self-select voluntary separation program (SSVSP) is a financial and benefits package that the laboratory is making available to Fermilab employees in order to accomplish a necessary reduction in the size of the Fermilab staff.

The laboratory has faced tight budgets for several years, and this situation is likely to continue as the federal government confronts large budget deficits. We have significantly reduced spending for materials and supplies but a substantial gap still remains in the funds for salaries, wages and benefits. In addition, the shutdown of the Tevatron at the end of September will accelerate the complex transition to the laboratory’s future scientific program. We will move as many employees as possible to jobs on new experiments and projects, many of which are already well underway and in need of extra help. There will still, however, be a mismatch between our current workforce and what is needed for the future program. To bring our workforce into balance with future projects and available funding, we hope that 100 employees will volunteer for and be accepted into the SSVSP.

Unlike previous voluntary separations, all regular Fermilab employees will be able to apply for the SSVSP. Once an employee has submitted an application, Fermilab management will decide whether to accept the request based on the requirements of the laboratory’s ongoing and future program. Criteria for acceptance may include the laboratory’s need for an employee’s skills taking into account retraining possibilities, the number of individuals with the required skills, whether or not the position will need to be filled following the departure of an employee, and documented individual performance.