Monday, June 03, 2013

TOP STORY >> Civilians receive notices

Approximately 657 civilian employees at Little Rock Air Force Base started receiving 11-day furlough notices Friday from their supervisors.

The unpaid leave will start July 8 and end with the start of  the fiscal year in October.

That’s approximately a day off per week, or about a 20 percent reduction in pay for nonessential civilian workers because of sequestration cuts in the federal budget.

A furlough means an employee is in a temporary unpaid status at least until fall. The furloughs will affect 800,000 civilians employed in the  military.

Col. Brian Robinson, 19th Airlift Wing commander, said the impact of the furloughs will be felt across the base.

“We are deeply concerned about the negative effects furloughs will have on the morale and effectiveness of the valued civilian workforce,” Robinson said.

“The impacts on base operations from the furlough action are yet to be determined. We are currently assessing what limits the furloughs will place on the base and how we will best operate within the bounds of acceptable risk and safety,” Robinson said.

“Our foremost concern is the safety and welfare of our military and civilian airmen in getting our assigned missions done during this challenging time,” the colonel said.

The furloughs were triggered by the inability of Congress to come to a budget agreement, and it will cost the Defense Department an estimated $46 billion for the fiscal year.

The Pentagon was $30 billion short for operations and maintenance, necessitating the furloughs and other cutbacks. Since sequestration became law, Congress has allowed certain areas, such as the military, to shift funds around, and has restored funds for air-traffic controllers and food inspectors.