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Fort Gordon employees bracing for furloughs

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 7:48 PM
Last updated Thursday, May 16, 2013 7:10 AM
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The uncertainty surrounding civilian furloughs in the U.S. Department of Defense lingered Wednesday as Fort Gordon employees braced for the next two weeks, when officials said they will be “served” with letters informing them of what days they must stop reporting to work.

Starting May 28 and running through June 5, the “vast majority of the 3,100 civilian employees at Fort Gordon” will begin to receive notices stating that they will be forced to take 11 days’ less pay over the summer, officials said.

Furloughs of one day a week will begin July 8 through the end of fiscal year 2013, which economists estimate will equal a 4 percent pay cut and cost the local economy $20 million in lost retail sales.

Beyond the numbers, it is the logistics of the furlough that remains unknown.

On Wednesday, Fort Gordon’s public affairs chief, J.C. Matthews, said that the post hasn’t received specific guidance on how to implement the furloughs and that he expects it will take awhile for those instructions to “filter down to our installation through our higher levels of command.”

While the senior administration at Fort Gordon waits, Matthews said post leadership will do “as much as we can to keep the workforce informed as we receive information.”

“We have a proud, dedicated and talented workforce at Fort Gordon, and we will prioritize our missions to ensure that we continue to provide the most critical support to service members and families under these conditions,” Matthews said.

The Pentagon, the nation’s largest federal agency, on Tuesday ordered furloughs of 680,000 civilian workers in an effort to save $1.8 billion of the $37 billion in spending cuts it must make this year.

“I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DoD operations,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a memo to employees.

In the bulletin, Hagel said that he, along with the senior civilian and military leadership of the Defense Department, spent considerable time reviewing information related to the need for furloughs, and added major budgetary shortfalls drove the furlough decision.

All cuts, Hagel said, date directly back to March 1, when sequestration went into effect and reduced the 2013 defense budget by $37 billion, including $20 billion in the operation and maintenance accounts that pay many of its civilian workers.

When factoring in rising fuel prices, the shortfall totaled more than $30 billion – a level that exceeds 15 percent of the defense budget request.

Hagel said that the military took actions earlier this year to reduce the shortfall – sharply cutting back on facilities maintenance, training missions and base operating costs, as well as preparing to ask Congress to shift some funding from investment and military personnel operational and maintenance funds.

But with fewer than six months left in the fiscal year in which to accommodate this dramatic reduction in available resources, Hagel said “these actions are not enough.” The secretary said he had “no choice” but to impose a civilian furlough in every military department along with almost every defense agency.

Civilians deployed to combat zones, emergency workers “necessary to protect life and property” and employees funded by non-appropriated funding will be exempt from furloughs.

All others have seven calendar days to contest the unpaid leave after they receive their furlough notices.

FURLOUGH TIMELINE

MAY 28-JUNE 5: Furlough proposal notices will be given to employees. They will have seven calendar days to appeal.

JUNE 5-JULY 5: Furlough decision letters will be given to those affected.

JULY 8: Furlough period begins no earlier than this date.

Comments (8) Add comment
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owensjef3
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owensjef3 05/16/13 - 08:34 am
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Where are all the
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Where are all the sequestration fans at now, 0 comments now.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/16/13 - 08:36 am
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11 days off out of 250 workdays per year

Anyone can absorb that kind of pay cut. Many have absorbed much higher pay cuts in this recession.

kc fan
158
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kc fan 05/16/13 - 09:17 am
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furlough

No one shed a tear when teachers were furloughed. Richmond county teachers are still being furloughed and are still expected to exceed standards they did not meet when they were not furloughed. Tough times require tough measures. Why not furlough congress and the government since they are not getting the job done!

Augusta resident
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Augusta resident 05/16/13 - 09:58 am
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No one should be furloughed.

No one should be furloughed. just stop giving all of our money away, those people in the middle east don't like us and never will.
Our taxes keep going up. Food prices keep going up. Gas is way too high.
I say ground air force one, that thing cost us more than the space shuttle.
Little lamb, you are starting to sound like fred russell.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/16/13 - 10:12 am
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Ouch!

That hurts, Augusta Resident.

Frankly, I do not like the idea of furloughs for government employees. Instead I would like to see honest to goodness pay cuts. It would not hurt us all to be racked back in pay every now and then. Of course, Ben Bernanke is doing it as we type on these keyboards via inflating the money supply.

bclicious
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bclicious 05/16/13 - 10:14 am
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CHANGE!!!

I am not sure how much more of this "CHANGE" we can manage.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 05/16/13 - 10:45 am
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DIXIEMAN'S POINTS AIN'T FURLOUGHED

This whole furlough/sequestration think is a hoax and a joke. The sequestration cut only PART of the INCREASE in the Federal budget over last year -- not a real cut from current expenditure levels. And DoD has discretion in where to cut. For a start, before furloughing anyone, let's eliminate:
1. All diversity, sexual harassment, gender, LGBT, etc. feelgood politically correct seminars, onsite and offsite.
2. All public relations activities.
3. All travel expenses for meetings at the Pentagon. E-mail, conference call or Skype instead.
4. All consultants' fees.
Etc. There is more than enough of this useless non-functional garbage to save far more than the sequestration costs so no employee needs to lose a penny.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 05/16/13 - 04:38 pm
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I'm with Little Lamb!

We can absorb 11 days without pay in our household and I'm glad that is all these employees will have to suck up. I'm also glad that we have a unique military base that supports military communications and intelligence. Both are necessary to all military missions worldwide.

fedex227
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fedex227 05/16/13 - 10:28 pm
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We're fortunate to have a military base that
Unpublished

supports military comms and intell. It's just too bad they won't be able to prosecute that mission as effectively as they did before sequestration. It's a shame.

fedex227
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fedex227 05/16/13 - 10:41 pm
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And lest we forget,
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income for the top 1% in this country has risen 11.2% over the last two and a half years while 99% of Americans saw their wages shrink by 0.4%. I'm sorry, i didn't mean to say 1%, I meant 'job creators'.

Augusta resident
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Augusta resident 05/22/13 - 03:51 am
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Federal employees haven't

Federal employees haven't seen a cost of living increase since Bush was in office. They have actually seen a cut in pay when the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire.

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