President Donald Trump’s recent executive order to freeze federal hiring affects military facilities and veterans in Western Washington.
It was unclear Monday what effect his order banning immigration from seven countries to the United States will have on the military.
Asked Monday about what guidance the Army has received about travel restrictions under the ban, a spokesman for Joint-Base Lewis-McChord provided a statement from the Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs:
“We are currently assessing any immediate impact this policy will have on (Department of Defense).”
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As for the order freezing hiring of federal workers, it includes the 750,000 civilian employees who support the military, Pentagon officials said last week.
The freeze does not apply to uniformed military personnel.
JBLM is among the biggest employers of federal civilian workers in Washington, providing close to 14,000 civil-service jobs.
JBLM spokesman Joseph Piek said he wasn’t sure how many civilian job openings there are at JBLM, because civil servants are managed by multiple commands.
At Madigan Army Medical Center, more than 3,400 of 5,200 employees are civilians.
The hosptial has about 560 job openings, ranging from surgical specialists to administrative support staff, spokesman Jay Ebbeson said.
Madigan officials have been working hard in the past 18 months to fill positions that were lost or frozen during federal budget cuts implemented in 2013, Ebbeson said.
Hospital managers have hired about 130 people since the start of the last fiscal year, he said.
The federal jobs website, USAjobs.gov, listed 311 openings in Washington on Monday. They ranged from electrical engineers to storekeepers, in cities from Spokane to Vancouver.
The freeze appears to have suspended VA Puget Sound’s efforts to fill some of more than 570 open positions.
The number of positions at VA Puget Sound Healthcare Network that could be filled under the freeze depends on how the executive order is carried out.
The order states that, outside of the military, no new federal positions may be filled, and no positions can be created except in limited circumstances.
The VA, in a written statement, said front-line caregivers would qualify for a public-safety exemption included in the executive order.
That would appear to allow VA Puget Sound to move ahead with hiring for 40 doctor positions and 136 slots for nurses considered to be critical to health care delivery.
When asked to clarify the definition of front-line caregivers, a VA spokesman responded, “We hope to be able to provide more as the situation develops.”
The VA Puget Sound Healthcare Network serves more than 105,000 veterans in 14 counties. It handled more than 1 million appointments during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and in recent years has been one of the nation’s fastest-growing VA networks.
News Tribune staff writer Adam Lynn, The Washington Post and The Seattle Times contributed to this report.