Fort Gordon employees to get furlough notices

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 5:30 PM
Last updated 11:37 PM
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Starting in early May, thousands of civilian employees at Fort Gordon will begin to receive notices informing them that they can expect two weeks’ less pay over the summer.

Beyond that, little about what the slips might say is known.

In a statement released this week, representatives at the Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office said they have received no “official word” from the U.S. Department of Defense on how or when furloughs might be implemented.

“As decisions are made at the national level, it takes time for specific guidance to reach our installation,” post spokesman J.C. Matthews said. “In the meantime, we are watching developments very closely, and we’re doing what we can to keep the workforce informed as the situation continues to unfold.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced almost a week ago that the Pentagon had managed to reduce from 22 to 14 the number of unpaid work days about 700,000 civilian employees would have to take by September.

Fort Gordon officials said they expect the furloughs to affect the “vast majority of the approximately 3,100 Army federal civilian employees” it has on staff, but Department of Defense officials say they are still working to determine which employees might be exempted as they search for ways to fill a $41 billion hole in the department’s budget.

Either way, Fort Gordon leaders said they were happy to hear Hagel’s good news. Many employees had started to prepare for what could have amounted to a 20 percent cut in pay spread over five months.

Now, the Department of Defense said, the furloughs would probably start around the third week of June, with one unpaid day off each week through late September.

The change follows congressional approval last week of a defense appropriations bill that prevented an additional $6 billion in cuts, ordered under sequestration, from taking effect.

But despite a congressional reprieve, Hagel said on the Department of Defense Web site that the Pentagon is still going to be short at least $22 billion for operations and maintenance, “and that means we are going to have to prioritize and make some cuts and do what we’ve got to do,” including making sharp reductions in base support and training for non-deployed units.

More critical in the long run, he said, is how budget cuts will affect readiness and the department’s overall mission. Because of that concern, he said, he has directed Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to conduct an intensive department-wide review of U.S. strategic interests, including how to protect the nation with fewer resources.

“There will be some significant changes; there’s no way around it,” Hagel said.

Dempsey said the department has already exhausted 80 percent of its operating funds halfway through the fiscal year and characterized the current budget situation as “not the deepest, but the steepest decline in our budget ever.” He warned that it will affect military readiness into the future.

“We will have to trade at some level and to some degree our future readiness for current operations,” the chairman said. He called on elected leaders to give the Pentagon the budget flexibility it needs to carry out institutional reforms.

“We can’t afford excess equipment,” Dempsey said. “We can’t afford excess facilities. We have to reform how we buy weapons and services. We have to reduce redundancy. And we’ve got to change, at some level, our compensation structure.”

Comments (8) Add comment
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Just My Opinion
6251
Points
Just My Opinion 04/03/13 - 03:46 am
3
0
One of the biggest issues,

One of the biggest issues, and biggest fears...depending on who is looking at it...is how well these furlough-affected institutions will perform with less staffing. If it's business as usual and nothing significant has happened to denigrate how things are being run, then the question will come up "Well, if we're okay with less people, then why not stay with less people?". Course, the furloughed people are aware of this and are scared as hell.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 04/03/13 - 05:12 am
8
1
1st let me say, My comment

1st let me say, My comment will not be popular but will be sincere.

While we are being sold daily on the impact the long overdue budget cuts will have at the people level, we continue to see NEW spending in other areas. Why?

While both parties are constantly overspending the budget and have since the 1930's, they have only continued to spend more and more deficit money.

We are now to the point we are selling USA bonds to still semi-former enemies that want to see our downfall.

The amount that is being cut each year is less the 1 year of the Vietnam War.

There are so many examples of the fact our politicians are bankrupting America on a grand level in order to rape it for personal power and gains. But they want us to focus on individual worker paychecks and NOT their spending habits or Congressional Millionaire privileged benefits.

But still they want us to focus on the lowest human element instead of eliminating PORK projects, closing already 3/4 vacant military bases that DOD wants closed, and many other wasteful spending habits. They want MORE so they cry more taxes, or less taxes to keep more.

They play us culturally, socially, economically, and by their own version of political hate speak, they keep us at each others throats while we are violated and abused without even a kiss.

I do not feel guilty for one minute that it took a mandated action to throw a wrench into their high spending gears.

Because while everybody is looking at what they are doing,
I peeked behind the curtain and figured out something.

All of this can be stopped and some sanity returned 10+X's over by stopping the $1+ Trillion Dollar Obama Care implementation and operational costs for each year.

Obama Care is finally the Political Vote Buying Socialist Straw that broke the America's back.

We are Taxed Enough Already,

It is time Congress had to eat some of its own Pork Swill.

jwarner6
63
Points
jwarner6 04/03/13 - 05:48 am
2
0
Furloughs can be less painful

Hopefully, the DOD with reduce the impact of the furlough by spacing the days out over a year rather than requiring employees to take them as a group. the State of Georgia implemented a similar measure years ago to balance the budget. Having one less work day of pay a pay period was not enjoyable, it was less painful than if taken together. However, if the administration wants the most political hay of sequestration, they will take it all at once.

fatboyhog
2104
Points
fatboyhog 04/03/13 - 05:54 am
4
0
I wonder...

when are we going to furlough benefits to the "less fortunate?" When are we going to furlough the countries that are getting foreign aid? When are we going to furlough corporations that get all their sweetheart deals? When are we going to furlough special interest groups? When are we going to furlough senseless substitutes? When are we going to furlough Congress and the White House (I don't see that happening)? Seems to me that we need across the board furloughs. CUT SPENDING? Are are politicians that stupid that they can't figure that out?

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 04/03/13 - 06:55 am
3
2
Amount

$22 billion in cuts out of the entire DoD budget is a gnat on an elephant. It's beyond tiny — it's infinitessimal. We will survive.

A couple of points: in 2009 and 2010, the entire country took some serious haircuts. Private sector workers were laid off. Businesses closed. Businesses declared bankruptcy. City governments tightened their belts (CSRA was largely spared because massive federal government infrastructure here). State government workers were furloughed.

The only sector unaffected was the federal government. The federal government expanded. More workers were hired. Workers received raises. Job scope increased.

It is now time for federal government workers to feel some of the pain the rest of us felt. They can take it. It will be only temporary.

If I recall correctly, when the Republicans allowed the Washington bureaucracy to come to a standstill in 1995 or whenever it was, federal government workers were furloughed, missing out on some of their pay. But when the legislation re-authorizing startup of the government was signed by Bill Clinton, Congress included back pay for the furloughs — i.e., they got paid for the days they took off as furloughs. Watch it happen again.

Oh, yes, didn't the government shutdown back in the 1990s set up the first encounter of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky?

my.voice
5167
Points
my.voice 04/03/13 - 07:11 am
4
0
Furloughs are a lie. The

Furloughs are a lie. The "Sequester Budget" is still higher than what was spent last year. Why in Gods name are we sending humanitarian aid to countries that would rather see us burn when we cant "pay our own bills"? WRITE your congressman / congresswoman and let them know how you feel about the lies of the sequester.

Red Headed Step Child
4486
Points
Red Headed Step Child 04/03/13 - 08:53 am
3
0
Redundancy, excess...

That's the government's modus operandi. Remember the $200 hammer? $500 toilet seat? Multiple departments that handle the same thing? I won't be holding my breath waiting for them to manage spending appropriately...

As for the foreign aid - I have NEVER understood the concept of giving aid to people who HATE you. I'm all about "turning the other cheek" - but more and more when it comes to foreign aid to countries that are not our allies, I think the "cheek" we need to present sits below the belt line...

bubbasauce
24260
Points
bubbasauce 04/03/13 - 10:50 am
4
0
Excellent posts from

Excellent posts from fatboyhog and red head step child. Don't need to comment any further.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 04/04/13 - 07:28 pm
1
0
LL says ...
Unpublished

"The only sector unaffected was the federal government. The federal government expanded. More workers were hired. Workers received raises. Job scope increased."

Obviously you don't work for the federal government - whose wages have been frozen for the last 3 years. Not that you'd hear any complaints - most of them are willing to sacrafice and contribute to restoring this country's economic stability. If you want to be mad at someone for not doing their fair share, go call Exxon, Mobile, or GE.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 04/04/13 - 07:30 pm
1
0
Best wishes to all those families ...
Unpublished

that will be effected by the upcoming furloughs. Hope things work out in these difficult times.

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