News>Ceremony marks departure of military presence at AFFSC
Tech. Sgt. Claire Beck (center), Air Force Financial Services Center remissions branch chief, stands with Senior Airman Thomas Archer (left), AFFSC overseas relocations technician, and Senior Master Sgt. Brian Evanczik (right), AFFSC superintendent, during an awards ceremony for the remaining Airmen of the AFFSC in the AFFSC main lobby on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Sept. 19, 2012. As part of Air Force-wide efficiency efforts tied to budget restructuring, military members who formerly handled military pay functions at the AFFSC will be returning to individual bases to serve their customers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Woolridge/Released)
Gary Gualano, Air Force Financial Services Center director, addresses AFFSC staff as the last military members depart the AFFSC at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Sept. 19, 2012. Gualano spoke about the hard work and dedication of the Airmen, and expressed the center's appreciation of their time there. Civilian workers at the AFFSC will continue to handle travel pay functions, with military pay being transferred to base level financial management offices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Woolridge/Released)
Maj. Dawn Chard, Air Force Financial Services Center commander, listens as Gary Gualano, AFFSC director, praises her hard work and leadership during an event in the center's main lobby on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Sept. 19, 2012. Chard was responsible for ensuring a smooth transition of the AFFSC from a military organization to a civilian-operated work center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Woolridge/Released)
by Airman Ashley J. Woolridge
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
9/26/2012 - ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Thanks were given and goodbyes were said during a recognition ceremony for the last active-duty Airmen departing the Air Force Financial Services Center Airmen in the center's lobby, Sept. 19.
Airmen are no longer assigned to the AFFSC, as a result of an Air Force-level decision made last year to restructure financial services in order to provide better service to all bases. The center, which at one time employed more than 300 Airmen, will now be run entirely by civilian employees.
"When the center opened in 2007, it was a big deal," said retired Lt. Col. Gary Gualano, AFFSC director. "We had congressmen out here for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and we had more than 550 Airmen, contractors and other civilian employees. This place was thriving. At times we had 40 people deployed at once. We had a hard time trying to find enough space for everyone."
Senior Master Sgt. Brian Evanczik, AFFSC superintendent, added that this was probably the largest group of finance Airmen working together in one spot - ever.
The center was originally intended to perform both military pay and travel pay functions not covered under the Defense Travel System. Gualano said the AFFSC handled more than $500,000 worth of vouchers last year, and will handle more than $400,000 this year.
After a thorough review of the processes and procedures at the center, Financial Management officials determined that it is more cost effective for the military pay function to be accomplished by Airmen at individual military installations.
Operations at the AFFSC will remain much the same, with the exception of military pay that will now be handled at the base level.
"Airmen will be distributed to financial management offices at other bases, and a few will be assigned to CPTS (28th Comptroller Squadron)," Evanczik said.
"I'm sad to see it happen," said Maj. Dawn Chard, AFFSC commander, who is also the Financial Management chief for the 908th Airlift Wing, a reserve unit at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Chard assumed the role of overseeing the end of military operations at the AFFSC early this year. "It's bittersweet."
After the ceremony, Airmen and civilians had the chance to mingle for perhaps the last time together during an ice cream social in one of the center's conference rooms. Although they will no longer work together, the AFFSC personnel will always have the spirit of being "Proud to be - FSC!"