08/15/2013 -- Civilian employees at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany breathed a sigh of relief as the reduction of mandatory furlough days was recently announced.
As part of the efforts at the Department of Defense to identify savings and help from Congress, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently announced a reduction of the number of furlough days for DoD civilian employees from 11 to six.
“We are extremely pleased that our civilian leaders in Washington, D.C., have found a way to reduce the number of furlough days, whereby reducing the financial impact to our civilian workforce,” Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, said.
Davis added, “Restoring our civilian workers to a full work status sooner enables us to focus on fully supporting our operating forces and ensuring our Marine Corps remains the world’s premier force in readiness.”
Gratitude for ending the furloughs was the unanimous response for many of the civilian employees polled here on Hagel’s announcement.
“It feels great that the furlough has ended,” Roosevelt L. Howard, program management assistant, Business Performance Office, MCLB Albany, said. “I am looking forward to seeing an increase in my paycheck.”
Howard added, “Hopefully, in the future, they will find other ways to reduce budget costs before implementing employee furloughs.”
The sentiment was expressed by other civilian-Marines, who shared the views of both the impact and relief for the end of the furlough days at MCLB Albany.
Jeremy Sean Tanksley, information technology specialist, Cyber Security, Computer Information System Division, said he was happy about the furlough ending.
“I am hoping to see our processes start to flow again,” Tanksley said. “The efficiency of the business we conduct was greatly impacted by the time we lost due to furlough days.”
According to Tanksley, although he was furloughed only one day each week — on Mondays — the greatest impact was felt when he needed to connect with someone who furloughed on Fridays. As a result, that actually created a two-day service outage each week.
In his announcement message, Hagel also discussed the furlough’s impact, budget challenges for fiscal year 2014 and expressed appreciation to the civilian workforce for its contribution to the DoD.
“This has been one of the most volatile and uncertain budget cycles the Department of Defense has ever experienced,” Hagel said. “Our fiscal planning has been conducted under a cloud of uncertainty with the imposition of sequestration and changing rules as Congress made adjustments to our spending authorities.”
Hagel added, “As we look ahead to fiscal year 2014, less than two months away, the Department of Defense still faces major fiscal challenges. If Congress does not change the Budget Control Act, the Department of Defense will be forced to cut an additional $52 billion in fiscal year 2014, starting on October 1.
“This represents 40 percent more than this year’s sequester-mandated cuts of $37 billion,” Hagel said. “Facing this uncertainty, I cannot be sure what will happen next year, but I want to assure our civilian employees that we will do everything possible to avoid more furloughs.”
Hagel concluded his announcement by thanking “our civilian workers for their patience and dedication during these extraordinarily tough times, and for their continued service and devotion to our department and our country. Your contribution to national security is invaluable.”
The end of furloughs also ends closures and modified hours of operations for many of the offices and service centers base-wide.