<<opening for eyewitness news at six>>ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE PLANS TO ELIMINATE HUNDREDS OF JOBS...
(bite from McMahon: "All together these iniatives will result in the reduction of approximately 500 civilian positions from Robins Air Force Base." :08)
LOCAL LEADERS SAY TODAY'S NEWS DOESN'T REFLECT ON THE BASE'S PERFORMANCE.
(Shaheen: " It's minimal it's going to affect some of Warner Robins but the people of Warner Robins are very resilient we'll bounce back and we'll move forward." :07)
STILL... THE WARNER ROBINS AIR LOGISTICS CENTER COMMANDER SAYS MORE CUTS ARE COMING TO THE AIR FORCE... .AND THEY COULD BE BIG.
4500 BITE "ladies and gentleman these are challenging times for our nation and it is likely that the reductions that I have talked about today are only the beginning."
TONIGHT... WE HAVE EXTENDED COVERAGE OF THE CHANGES AT THE BASE.
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY.. THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
JOB CUTS AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE STARTED TODAY... LESS THAN 24 HOURS AFTER THE AIR FORCE ANNOUNCED PLANS TO ELIMINATE 9-THOUSAND JOBS ACROSS THE NATION.
ROBINS SHARE WILL BE 516 CIVILIAN POSITIONS... WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF MORE TO COME.
LORRA LYNCH JONES IS JOINING US NOW.
LORRA... 260 EMPLOYEES RECEIVED NOTICES TODAY.
THOSE WERE EARLY RETIREMENT OR VOLUNTARY SEPERATION PACKAGES... MOST WITH A PAY-OUT OF 25-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
MAJOR GENERAL BOB McMAHON EXPLAINED WHY THIS IS HAPPENING... AND WHAT'S TO COME.
<< (50:12) "We are keenly aware of the current challenges facing our nation. The rising national deficit is quite simply the most serious threat to our national security we face today."
TO CUT THAT DEBT... WARNER ROBINS AIR LOGISTICS CENTER COMMANDER BOB MCMAHON EXPLAINED THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE'S RESPONSIBILITY... TO SLASH SPENDING BY 450 BILLION OVER THE NEXT DECADE.
ROBINS WILL DO ITS PART BY CUTTING 516 POSITIONS...
THE FIRST 260 WILL COME FROM THE 78TH AIR BASE WING AND C-17 PROGRAM.
THE NEXT ROUND COMES AFTER THE FIRST OF THE YEAR.. AND WILL MAINLY AFFECT MANAGEMENT LEVEL JOBS FROM THE AIR LOGISTICS CENTER HEAD-QUARTERS... WHICH IS MOVING TO OKLAHOMA CITY.
MG Bob McMahon: (2:57) "I think folks expected larger reductions than we actually talked about today. I think the folks are relieved the uncertainty is gone and they're able to move on."
BUT THAT UNCERTAINTY STILL EXISTS.
THE AIR FORCE PROMISED ANOTHER 45-HUNDRED JOB CUTS TO COME. THEY JUST HAVEN'T SAID FROM WHERE.
Major General Bob McMahon: (59:20) "The expectation is that all of the major commands may be impacted by that. If Air Force Material Command, our home command, is impacted then we should likely see additional cuts."
McMAHON STRESSED THAT THE CUTS TO ROBINS.. AND THE AIR FORCE'S DECISION TO CONSOLIDATE THE THREE AIR LOGISTICS CENTER HEADQUARTERS INTO ONE ... AT TINKER AIR FORCE BASE... WAS NOT A REFLECTION ON ROBINS.
MG Bob McMahon: (8:26) "I've heard alot on talk radio today that said Tinker is just better and that's why. The answer is that is false. That is absolutely false. I had to do with a specific objective criteria to make that determination. I will compare Robins Air Force Base and the work force here and the job we do with anybody, not only in the Air Force, but in the world."
AS A RESULT OF THE REORGANIZATION... TWO STAR GENERAL.. MCMAHON SAID HE WILL BE LEAVING... REPLACED BY A ONE STAR.
(3:58) "I'm confident the Air Force wil decide what they ought to do with me, but that is least of my worries now. It's about the people impacted.">>
IN ADDITION TO TODAY'S JOB CUTS TODAY AND THE 45-HUNDRED MORE THE AIR FORCE PROMISED.. ANOTHER ISSUE ON THE TABLE COULD AFFECT ROBINS FUTURE.
A 12 MEMBER BI-PARTISAN GROUP IN WASHINGTON.. IS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO SLASH THE NATIONAL DEFICIT. THEY CALL IT *THE SUPER COMMITTEE.*
THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT ALREADY PLANS 450 BILLION DOLLARS IN CUTS...BUT MCMAHON SAYS THE SUPERCOMMITTEE COULD RAISE THAT TO MORE THAN ONE-POINT-ONE TRILLION.
THEY ARE EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE THEIR PLAN BY NOVEMBER 23RD.
AND WITH THOSE POSSIBLE DEFENSE BUDGET CUTS LOOMING IN WASHINGTON... MANY COMMUNITY LEADERS TODAY SPOKE ABOUT HOW TO PROTECT ROBINS' FUTURE... BY MAKING IT AS COMPETITIVE AS POSSIBLE.
ONE THING THEY CALLED A TOP PRIORITY... IS GIVING THE BASE ROOM TO GROW.
ELEANOR LISSITZYN HAS MORE ON THE ENCROACHMENT ISSUE... AND WHY THOSE LEADERS SAY THEY'LL BE WATCHING NEXT WEEK'S BIBB COUNTY ELECTION RESULTS.
"I will put it in very plain talk-- it's critical."
COMMUNITY LEADERS SAY... PROTECTING FUTURE JOBS AT ROBINS... MEANS GIVING IT ROOM TO GROW.
STATE SENATOR ROSS TOLLESON SAYS... ROBINS COULDN'T AVOID THURSDAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT.
"Those decisions were made in washington through the strucutre throughout the whole country. SO I don't think we could have done anything to make a difference."
BUT WARNER ROBINS AIR LOGISTICS CENTER COMMANDER ROBERT MCMAHON SAYS FUTURE CUTS... COULD BE ANOTHER STORY.
McMahon: "The folks in Okalahoma City and the folks in Utah have taken care of their encroachment issues. So they're concerned about that. They're looking for every competitive edge, and if there's a negative discriminating factor, I think the community is looking at how we elimiatet hat."
LEADERS SAY ONE OF ROBINS WEAK POINTS... IS THE LACK OF AVAILABLE PROPERTY OUTSIDE ITS GATES.
BIBB COUNTY WANTS TO HELP FIX THAT... BY USING SPLOST MONEY TO BUY OUT CURRENT BASE NEIGHBORS.
Stand-Up: This neighborhood is off highway 27... just over the houston... bibb county line. It's an example of the land Bibb County wants to buy... using six million dollars from the SPLOST. In the SPLOST documents, they call it an 'incompatable land use', what that means is homes and businesses too close to the base pose a safety risk... and could prevent future growth of the base down the road.
MACON-BIBB CHAMBER OF COMMERECE PRESIDENT CHIP CHERRY SAYS WE NEED TO LEARN.. FROM OTHER BASES...LIKE TINKER AIR FORCE BASE IN OKLAHOMA.
"They passed a $50 million bond referendum to deal with their encroachment, put some other things in place to make them more competitive. Whether that played a role in them getting this headquarters operation, I think that warrants some review."
MACON-BIBB WINS IS HOSTING AN INFORMATION SESSION TOMORROW ABOUT THAT ENCROACHMENT ISSUE.
LEADERS FROM THE BASE'S COMMUNITY LIASON... THE TWENTY FIRST CENTRUY PARTNERSHIP... WILL DISCUSS WHY THEY SAY REMOVING HOMES FROM THE BASE'S LANDING ZONES IS IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF ROBINS.
THAT SESSION IS TOMORROW AT TEN A.M... AT 2034 JOAN DRIVE. THAT'S A PROPERTY RECENTLY PURCHASED FROM THE ENCROACHMENT AREA.
WE ASKED OUR FACEBOOK FANS IF THEY WERE SURPRISED BY THE CUTS PAT REPLIED... "ALL BUSINESSES ARE TAKING A HIT INCLUDING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
REMEMBER THERE ARE REGULAR RETIREMENTS AND EARLY OUTS THAT WILL TAKE SOME OF IT."AT ROBINS.
GREG WROTE.. "NOT A SURPRISE AT ALL. I ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE WORSE."
AND NICKY COMMENTED... "NO, THIS IS NOT A SHOCK. SHOULDN'T BE FOR ANYONE WHO WORKS AT ROBINS. I'VE SEEN IT COMING FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS."
BIBB COUNTY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND SAYS YEAR ROUND SCHOOLS WILL BE PART OF HIS STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.
DALLEMAND SPOKE AT A GREATER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BREAKFAST THIS MORNING.
CANDACE ADORKA TELLS US HE ALSO ASKED THE COMMUNITY FOR ITS SUPORT FOR HIS BOLD PLANS.
"You all brought me here you said you wanted change. Well change is here."
SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND SAYS THAT CHANGE WILL COME IN THE FORM OF THE STRATEGIC PLAn HE WILL PRESENT TO THE SCHOOL BOARD IN JANUARY.
THE PLAN IS NOT YET FINAL... BUT DALLEMAND SAID IT WOULD ALLOW STUDENTS TO CHOSE THEIR OWN SCHOOLS... REQUIRE STUDENTS TO LEARN MANDARIN CHINESE AND TECHNOLOGY... AND EXTEND SCHOOL THROUGH THE SUMMER.
" every year, we spend two to three months at the beginning of the school year catch up."
"Year-round school? I think its great, because the kids lose so much in the summer."
PATSY MERCER SAYS FOR HER 9-YEAR OLD GRANDSON... THAT SUMMER LAG ALSO APPLIES AT HOME.
"You get them into the discipline of getting up in the morning, going to school, coming home, and then when school starts back over you have to retrain them."
JERRY GREGORY SAYS HIS 11 YEAR OLD GRANDSON WOULDN'T LIKE THE IDEA...
"course he's 11 years old he can't wait for school to be out. I think he would definitely benefit from it. He'd get used to it."
DALLEMAND KNOWS THE IDEA MIGHT BE UNPOPULAR...
"It may not benefit a lot of the adults, but it will certainly benefit most of our students."
BUT HE SAYS THE COMMUNITY, INCLUDING BUSINESS PEOPLE NEED TO RALLY FOR SCHOOL REFORM.
"I think it's time that we show the same level of enthusiasm for academics as we do for sports."
CANDACE ADORKA... 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> DALLEMAND SAYS THEY ARE STILL WORKING ON DETAILS LIKE WHETHER MORE SCHOOL DAYS WOULD BE ADDED IN THE SUMMER MONTHS OR THE CALENDAR SIMPLY REARANGED.
THE SCHOOL BOARD WOULD STILL HAVE TO APPROVE THE STRATEGIC PLAN ONCE IT'S COMPLETED IN JANUARY..
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... WOULD A YEAR-ROUND SCHOOL YEAR IMPROVE EDUCATION?
SO FAR 59 PERCENT OF YOU SAY NO... IT WOULDN'T.
41 PERCENT OF YOU SAY IT WOULD.
VOTE NOW... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
IN LESS THAN A WEEK... DUBLIN VOTERS WILL DECIDE WHO WILL LEAD THEIR CITY.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... THE TWO CANDIDATES AGREE ON ONE MAJOR STEP FOR DUBLIN.
BUT CAN'T SEE EYE TO EYE ON HOW TO GET THERE.
WITH TWELVE YEARS UNDER HIS BELT...
Nats, "How 'bout that?"
...DUBLIN MAYOR PHIL BEST SAYS... HE KNOWS WHAT THE CITY NEEDS MOST.
Mayor Best: "We have got to get some jobs in here and decrease our unemployment and provide opportunities for our citizens. That will be one of our main focuses."
HE SAYS SEVERAL PROJECTS THAT COST THE CITY 25 MILLION DOLLARS OVER 12 YEARS... LIKE WATER AND SEWER LINES....ENCOURAGE JOB GROWTH IN AREAS OF THE CITY THAT SAT EMPTY.
BUT HIS OPPONENT... DUBLIN SMALL BUSINESS OWNER JOHNNY VAUGHN CALLS HIMSELF ... THE JOB CANDIDATE.
Johnny Vaughn: "I have had to burn some midnight oil dealing with budgets, payroll, employees..."
HE STARTED AN ACADEMY FOR KIDS PLACED IN D-FACS... RUNS A HOMELESS SHELTER... AND OWNS TWO DOWNTOWN SHOPS.
Johnny Vaughn: "I am going to be the drum major for this community. I'm going to lead the parade for this community and we're going to bring in industry."
VAUGHN SAYS NEVER BEING QUOTE... TIED DOWN TO CITY COUNCIL HAS GIVEN HIM THE FREEDOM TO MAKE CHANGES WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.
BUT FOR MAYOR BEST... HIS 18 YEARS IN A DUBLIN SEAT... PLAYS A ROLE IN WHAT HE CALLS THE CITY'S TEAMWORK.
Mayor Best: "Our City Council is doing good, we have a good relationship with our County Commissioners, and our state officials and our Development Authority."
ONE SAYS HE'LL REACH OUT TO A MORE DIVERSE CROWD...THE OTHER... MAKING THE CITY BETTER THAN HIS TERM BEFORE... BOTH IN SEARCH OF CALLING CITY HALL... THEIR WORKPLACE.
AMY AUBERT 13 WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS. >>
VAUGHN SAYS HAVING TO CUT BACK ON HIS OWN BUSINESS GIVES HIM EXPERIENCE TO DO MORE WITH LESS.
BEST SAYS INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS HAVE ALREADY ENCOURAGED SEVERAL BUSINESSES AND RESTUARANTS TO OPEN IN DUBLIN..
RECAPPING TONIGHT'S TOP STORY... ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE STARTED JOB CUTS TODAY... AS PART OF PLANS TO ELIMINATE 9-THOUSAND AIR FORCE JOBS NATIONWIDE.
ROBINS' SHARE WILL BE 516 CIVILIAN POSITIONS.
THE FIRST 260 WILL COME FROM THE 78TH AIR BASE WING AND C-17 PROGRAM.
THE NEXT ROUND COMES IN 2012... MAINLY IN MANAGEMENT JOBS FROM THE AIR LOGISTICS CENTER HEAD-QUARTERS... WHICH IS MOVING TO OKLAHOMA CITY.
WARNER ROBINS AIR LOGISTICS CENTER COMMANDER MAJOR GENERAL BOB MCMAHON SAYS MOST OF THOSE CUT IN THE FIRST ROUND WERE OFFERED A 25-THOUSAND DOLLAR BUYOUT... THEY HAVE UNTIL NEXT THURSDAY TO ACCEPT IT.
THEY HOPE THAT ENOUGH PEOPLE WILL TAKE THOSE BUYOUTS TO AVOID LAYOFFS AT ROBINS.
TUESDAY... VOTERS IN JOHNSON COUNTY WILL CAST THEIR BALLOTS ON A SPLOST.
TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11... WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THE COUNTY PLANS TO DO WITH THE MONEY IF THE PENNY TAX PASSES.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.