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Appeals won't delay furloughs at Fort Gordon

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 5:18 PM
Last updated Thursday, June 20, 2013 1:48 AM
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Plans to trim more than 3,000 civilian paychecks this summer at Fort Gordon are expected to continue without delay, despite appeals by dozens of workers at the Army post challenging the 11-day furloughs, officials said Wednesday.

In the weeks since the Defense Department began informing employees that it plans to slash civilian time cards by 88 hours before the end of the fiscal year, at least 37 people have petitioned commanders for an exemption, said J.C. Mathews, the public affairs chief at Fort Gordon.

Although the unpaid leave could amount to a 20 percent pay cut for nearly all the 3,100 civilian workers on the post, Mathews could confirm only the appeals filed in Fort Gordon’s Army Garrison, which employs 422 people to manage the post’s day-to-day functions.

Though he was uncertain how many people have challenged furloughs in the rest of Fort Gordon’s civilian workforce, Mathews said “there are definitely appeals.”

Pentagon officials have expressed doubt that any furloughs will be overturned, but they said that commanders will review “the merits of each package” and provide a written notice on their decision by July 5.

The furloughs – scheduled to start July 8 or later – are part of the Pentagon’s effort to make up $37 billion in cuts from sequestration that kicked in March 1 and cut $20 billion in the operations and maintenance accounts that fund civilian employees.

The off days – which most organizations at Fort Gordon will observe on Fridays – are expected to save the Defense Department $1.8 billion.

Employees are urged not to pin their hopes on getting a furlough decision overturned by arguing seniority, stellar performance, financial hardship – or possibly any reason.

Officials have said that the sweeping, across-the-board nature of the cuts, with exceptions granted for reasons of safety or national security, means that appeals claiming the furloughs are being applied unfairly probably won’t work.

Defense has granted furlough exceptions to civilians in war zones; some medical workers; non-appropriated fund employees; and, citing the damage done to the military by a growing number of sexual assaults, those working in sexual assault prevention and response programs.

Despite the small number of exemptions, the head of the largest union of federal employees said workers should not feel shy about pressing their rights.

If all else fails, said J. David Cox, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, workers should file appeals with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, an agency that directly handles furlough decisions through the federal government.

“The Defense Depart­ment’s decision is a slap in the face to its civilian workforce, most of whom live paycheck to paycheck and are barely able to pay their bills without the additional challenge of furloughs,” Cox said. “DOD’s workforce is not only the government’s largest; it also includes the largest number of hourly and low-paid federal workers. Many earn less than $12 per hour. Furloughs of 11 days will amount to a pay cut of 20 percent for the remainder of the year, and combined with three years of frozen pay levels, these cuts will send many into dire straits.”

THE BACK STORY

FURLOUGHS FOR CIVILIAN WORKERS

BACKGROUND: As part of the Pentagon’s efforts to make up $37 billion in cuts from sequestration that kicked in March 1 and cut $20 billion in the operations and maintenance accounts that fund civilian employees, the Defense Department announced plans May 14 to furlough about 680,000 of its civilian employees for 11 days through the end of this fiscal year, allowing only limited exceptions.

AT FORT GORDON: Starting July 8, most organizations will close on Fridays to compensate for 11 weeks of civilian furloughs. More than 3,000 civilian workers stand to lose 88 hours of pay each by the end of the fiscal year.

DISCOUNTS FOR DEFENSE WORKERS

The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, in conjunction with local tourism partners, is offering Department of Defense workers special discounts at several local events, attractions and hotels. The CVB has also compiled a calendar of free events during the furlough period.

“Augusta offers a wealth of attractions and events for the local community to enjoy,” said the Augusta CVB President and CEO Barry White. “We recognize the valuable impact that Fort Gordon has on our community, and we hope the employees and their families will take advantage of these many opportunities.”

The offers will be valid July 1 through Sept. 30 and apply to the employee and up to three family members or guests, unless otherwise noted. Employees will have to present their Defense identification to receive the discounts. Some of the offers include:

• Augusta Canal Discovery Center. Buy any one-hour Petersburg Boat tour ticket and get one free ($12.50 value).

• Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson. $1 off regular admission (25 percent savings).

• Clarion Suites Hotel. $49 plus tax for a double or king suite. Valid through Sept. 1.

• Historic Augusta Trolley Tour. $3 off tour tickets (20 percent off).

• Soul City Sirens. $8 general admission tickets for home bouts on July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 29 ($7 savings).

• Westobou Festival. 10 percent off tickets purchased in advance at the Westobou office at 965 Broad St.

– From staff reports

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corgimom
30077
Points
corgimom 06/20/13 - 06:19 am
2
0
I'm thinking that people that

I'm thinking that people that are furloughed are going to be more concerned with making house payments and buying food rather than riding a boat or touring Woodrow Wilson's home, but that's just me.

class1
299
Points
class1 06/20/13 - 07:26 am
0
0
Discounts

I didn't see anyone stepping forward to give teachers any discounts when they were furlough for the past few years!

curly123053
4489
Points
curly123053 06/20/13 - 07:29 am
2
0
Sequester Who ??

The President has not cut back his expenses during this time of sequester. He has been golfing on the taxpayers dime, hosting all-star concerts in the White House on the taxpayers dime, and sending his wife and kids on expensive trips. Next up is the vacation to Africa expected to cost American taxpayers 6 to 10 million dollars! The President has made zero sacrifices during this time while everyone else is feeling the pinch one way or another. It's time to put an end to arrogance in the White House.

seenitB4
84100
Points
seenitB4 06/20/13 - 07:49 am
3
0
My blood is boiling

When I read this...

“The Defense Depart­ment’s decision is a slap in the face to its civilian workforce, most of whom live paycheck to paycheck

Yes I know some in dire situations too...funny we cut back on employees trying to work & make an honest living but on DEADBEATS we are full steam ahead...geeez what a country....we even give millions after millions to countries that kill & maim our people...we just bend over for the ones who burn our flag....
I wish I could run this place for awhile...MANY countries wouldn't see a dang dime from us...& deadbeats would get a wake up call.

seenitB4
84100
Points
seenitB4 06/20/13 - 07:51 am
2
1
I agree with corgi

Food & housing will be their top concern....

corgimom
30077
Points
corgimom 06/20/13 - 08:03 am
0
3
Curly, you DO realize that

Curly, you DO realize that Congress is the one that appropriates the money to run the White House, not the President, right?

Contact your congressman if you don't like it, put the blame where it belongs. You won't read that information on the right-wing blogs, but that's who you should blame.

It is amazing to me the number of people that don't understand how the American government works- but thinks that they are an "informed" voter.

Watermedic
292
Points
Watermedic 06/20/13 - 09:36 am
1
0
Really

Corgimom,

Congress does not decide what happens at the White House as far as Presidential entertainment. That would be considered an "executive decision".

Also, why is congress not being furloughed? They should be the first ones to lose in this!

The fact that our country is in fianancial hardship so Obummer takes a 100 million dollar trip to Africa for a family vacation should wake people up!! He is rubbing in the faces of every defense employee on the furlough list!

Wake up America!

Fiat_Lux
14984
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/20/13 - 09:37 am
0
0
It's the deadbeats that caused this in the first place

They and the losers in Congress who woo them with our money and future in order to get their uninformed vote.

Both sides of that parasitic relationship are whores, speaking figuratively of course.

Not to say that among the really stellar employees, there are not several, even many, cords of dead wood among the civilians working at Fort Gordon. Been there, seen it, found it disgusting and reprehensible. They're the same kind of folks who could say with ease, "I'm not a greedy man," while taking bribes/kickbacks for political favors, etc, or fleecing their own family and friends with a "charity".

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 06/20/13 - 10:04 am
1
0
The fact there is nothing we

The fact is that there is nothing we can do about the White House or our current political situation until the next election. Starting in 2014, we(Republicans, Independents, and disillusioned democrats) have to break out in numbers higher than in the past to make a difference. The low information voters have figured it out, all they have to do is turn out and vote, they are smart enough to provide transportation to the elderly, and in some cases, revive the dead long enough to get them to a poll and vote, and in some instances I have heard of, the same person has cast votes in several different precincts on the same day. It is time that We the People take our country and government back. We must have a better vetting process for future presidential candidates, because we can see the damage that can be done by one man who has the wrong intentions and proper support from a select few.

Darby
24763
Points
Darby 06/20/13 - 11:18 am
4
0
"It is amazing to me the number of people

that don't understand how the American government works- but thinks that they are an "informed" voter."

.
And given the above post, I'd put corgimom at the very top of that list.

Darby
24763
Points
Darby 06/20/13 - 11:23 am
4
0
Meanwhile,

FLOTUS is spending taxpayer dollars like they are going out of style.

G8 confence where she has absolutely no real role to play, in a $3500 a night hotel suite.

Good Grief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wonder if she has handmaidens feeding her grapes while she reclines and contemplates our "overweight" children????

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 06/20/13 - 11:55 am
0
1
seenit
Unpublished

it was the whitehouse and their policy makers who devised the "sequester" in the forst place. it was never really supposed to happen because john boehner was supposed to cave to the president's requests for more government/welfare spending but this time the weak speaker of the house grew a set of *alls and said no, the next part of the strategy was to let the citizens "suffer" and think the country was going to implode it the budget increases was not restored. well that did happen either and we the citizens realized that the country is going to make it..there were no real budget cuts, the fight is over the amount of increase in the federal budget...using base line budgeting there are so such things are budget reductions, just cutting the rate of growth from one year to the next......it was all a big shame and the president is willing to let citizens suffer than spend money where it is needed and cut where the fat is...that means he would rather spend more on "de walfare" than institute across the board cut in real spending..can't but the illegal and moocher vote unless there is money to give to them.....and they "gots to keep gittin dey foo stamps and welfare checks fo sho"

corgimom
30077
Points
corgimom 06/20/13 - 12:32 pm
0
4
Those "all-star concerts" are

Those "all-star concerts" are not "entertainment". The White House is used for those performances to present American culture to the United States, and to honor and spotlight performers for their contributions to our country in the arts.

I don't know if any of you have ever watched those "Performances at the White House". They are fabulous. Same with the Kennedy Center performances.

And yes, they are specifically planned for and budgeted in the White House budget- that is voted for by Congress. Most of the costs are paid for by public television, but hey, why confuse people with the truth? Why not just believe and copy everything off of every nutcase blog, no matter what is written?

As for Michele Obama going to the G8 conference, "where she has absolutely no real role to play"- every First Lady has the worst job in the world, it's a full-time job that they don't get a red cent to do. Who says that she has "no real role to play"- all of the First Ladies play a huge role in foreign affairs. Learn your American history, First Ladies have played key roles in our history.

Why is it that people don't take the time to educate themselves about where their tax dollars go, and what they are used for?

But good luck in telling any American President that they can't take their wife and family with them when they travel. Some people seem to think that when someone is elected President, as President, the President gives up all of their personal rights. Those are usually the same people that scream the loudest about THEIR rights.

Laura Bush travelled all over the world, so did Nancy Reagan, so did Barbara Bush, but I guess that's different, right?

Fiat_Lux
14984
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/20/13 - 01:46 pm
0
0
Nancy Reagan, Laura and Barbara Bush, Rosalee Carter, Pat Nixon

and even Hillary all have/had one thing in common in doing their unpaid jobs as FLOTUS: They weren't tacky as hell and disgustingly obvious in their spendthrift activities, if they engaged in them at all.

And apart from Hillary, none were as arrogant and self-righteous about how much smarter and how much better people they are than the rest of America's citizens.

Little Lamb
44854
Points
Little Lamb 06/20/13 - 04:20 pm
0
0
Pay Cut

Okay, the furloughs are two weeks out of a 52-week year. What is that, about a four percent pay cut? That's not that bad. It's certainly not draconian.

Fiat_Lux
14984
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/20/13 - 05:26 pm
0
0
4/52=0.0769. That's pushing 8%, which ain't nothing to sneeze at

Eight percent of a $40K is $3200. Not many households can absorb that kind of blow without feeling it. It's several times what someone pays for their mortgage in this area, and a year of car payments for a moderately priced vehicle.

It's about what my family spends on food, entertainment and medical expenses for about 4 months.

They should be howling about this. If the libtards can't come up with something reasonable as a budget, just make sure you howl at them instead of doing the Obummer misdirection play regarding sequester. What a liar.

Darby
24763
Points
Darby 06/20/13 - 06:16 pm
1
0
"Who says that she has "no real role to play"-

all of the First Ladies play a huge role in foreign affairs. Learn your American history, First Ladies have played key roles in our history."

.
Well, for one, I say that.... as do thousands of other well educated American citizens. I have a major in economics and a minor in American history. Michelle has abused the role of FlOTUS like no other woman in that position ever has.

I'm doing my best to imagine Michelle in 1814, in role of Dolly Madison, risking her life to preserve the George Washington portrait and other memorabilia and state documents ahead of the British burning of the White House.

Nope, sorry, thought about it. Just can't see old "First time in my lifetime" proud of the United States, Michelle risking her ample butt for anything.

-----------

"Most of the costs are paid for by public television, but hey, why confuse people with the truth?"
.
That's just plain nuts! Public Television isn't even paid for by Public Television. Learn what you are talking about before you embarrass yourself.

And stop admonishing others to educate themselves when you obviously haven't bothered to do the same for yourself.

As for Laura Bush, I seem to remember her accompanying W on a lot of vacations to Crawford Texas. Didn't cost taxpayers much to sleep in her own bed while there did it?

What we have now is the imperial presidency that George Washington feared. We don't need or want royalty in our White House.

And the Constitution doesn't provide for it either.

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