DoD Comptroller Bob Hale told a town hall meeting at the Pentagon yesterday that furloughs for DoD civilian employees could begin as early as April 26 if Congress does not come up with an alternative to sequestration.
During the 40-minute briefing, during which he took questions from the audience, Hale provided an update on the effects sequestration would have on the department and the efforts underway to mitigate them.
He cited the grim effect the across-the-board cuts would have on military readiness, emphasizing the large O&M funding shortfalls the military services would experience, especially the Army. Flying hours are already being cut and ship maintenance would be reduced, he said. In discussing the effect the sequestration is already having on training, military and civilian, Hale said many conferences, which Hale called “training events,” that DoD employees were scheduled to attend have been canceled or delayed. He also said that DoD estimates 2,500 investment programs would be affected.
Acknowledging that impending furloughs were foremost on DoD civilian employees’ minds, Hale spent much of his briefing and most of the question and answer period discussing how DoD was preparing to implement furloughs. Hale repeated often that he hoped furloughs, which he called “a last resort, but not the last resort,” would not have to be implemented.
However, he said that there was no doubt that unless an alternative to the across-the-board cuts was not found furloughs would surely be implemented. He repeated what Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter told Congress last month: most of DoD’s 800,000 civilian employees could be furloughed for one day per week for up to 22 weeks, amounting to a 20 percent pay cut. When asked if some DoD components could avoid furloughs under a sequester due to their specific circumstances Hale said he didn’t think so. “Consistency and fairness is the right approach,” he said. DOD would do some “cross-leveling” of funding by transferring funds to address specific difficulties for some components, but components would not be excused from furloughs.
Hale described the furlough timeline for March and April. He said DoD notified Congress on February 20 that it would issue furlough notices if sequestration went into effect. That meant furloughs could begin after 45 days. He said DoD officials are currently reviewing recommendations on exceptions from components and should finish by March 15.
He stressed that DoD has entered into consultations with unions, which will end on March 1. He reminded the audience that unions have the right to bargain on how furloughs are implemented, not if they are implemented.
Between March 22 and March 26, DoD will notify exempted employees and those who could be furloughed. This will begin the 30-day wait period. Hale said exemptions will be limited to civilians serving in combat zones and many directly involved with maintaining safety for life and property. Employees will be able to appeal decisions to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
Furlough decisions will be sent to employees during April 1-25, which means that actual furloughs could begin as soon as April 26.
When asked if furloughs could be repeated next year if sequestration continues, Hale said he doubted it. If DoD has to take $52 billion in cuts next year, military strategy and force structure will have to be reviewed. Rather than furloughs for civilian employees, this could mean lost jobs.
I am confused here we are talking about furloughing employees for 22 days but continue to pay for programs that have been canceled. There is definetly something wrong with this picture. BL why should I have to take a cut in pay when we cancel programs and change the name so we can still utilize the funds we do have. I think there is something called a trade off is anyone looking at that.
I’m so happy our federal government recently approved a grant to study why “lesbians are overweight.” I hope the government uses the money it saves while we are being furloughed to study many other “worth while” causes as well.
I am worried about the single parent DoD employee families, and the families were both parents are DoD employees. The furlough is going to hit them hard!
I have not seen any reference to cutting funds to all of the countries overseas we are “helping”. Charity begins at home. When is Congress going to come to the relization that we can not take care of the world and the needs of the American people should be foremost in their minds.
Of course, we should all be aware that furlough does not affect our elected officials. Furthermore, they voted themselves a payraise this year.
If we really want to make a significant cut let’s have lawmakers reduce their salaries by 20% and see how fast things change
The federal employees are being used as the scapegoat in this budget. DOD was given money for 2013, and now they are saying that we are still getting furloughed and that any extra money will go to needy agencies that cannot even meet the furlough. So we go into forclosure, get bad credit, lose our clearance, and still feel motivated to produce new technology, keep our systems secure, resolve complex issues etc to keep our free country secure and fluent, while we go into a financial disaster.
Why isn’t the 20% pay cut beginning with our law makers? We haven’t had a pay raise for awhile but yet we have to take a pay cut in the lower grades of government service. We, the people, who actually have to show up for work each and every day or we don’t get paid! We, who can only take two weeks of leave at a time and only if we have accrued it. And for that matter, if we the people of America have to burden the cost created by our law makers, then why shouldn’t each and every American have to also have to pay through higher taxes. All people equally should have to pay for our governments mistakes! After all, it wasn’t your average government employee that decided to bail out the big companies of America. Yes, that was our President and law makers. Therefore, shouldn’t everyone in America have to pay the price?! When I say everyone, that means even the President, Congress, and the Senate!!!!
Sequestration should have taken place two years ago when first voted on. Back then the U.S. economy was at rock bottom and major government spending reductions would have been a positive sign to investors throughout the world that we were serious about containing spending. Now two years later just as the economy is in recovery we deal it a critical blow. Just like the government to be a day late and a dollar short. As a government employee the proposed furlough is just not 20%. My daughter is in college and she worked as a summer hire for the government to survive through school. As of 1 March all summer hire positions have been eliminated due to the budget cuts. So now who is going to be there to insure that she stays in school? I was planning on trading in my 5 year old car this year, that’s now off the list “impact Auto industry”. I had major cosmetic dental procedures, not covered under insurance, scheduled for this year that I now have to cancel “impact the dental industry”. And the list goes on but, you get the point! 800,000 federal civilians are just a drop in the constituent bucket and congress is just arrogant enough to not care!
[…] DoD said DoD civilian employees would have to take 22 furlough days. Then, after Congress passed and the president signed the the FY2013 DoD appropriations […]