Furloughs begin for MacDill civilians - WFLA News Channel 8

Furloughs begin for MacDill civilians

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MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, (WFLA) -

Thousands of civilian employees at MacDill Air Force base will work four days a week through the summer.  It's not by choice. The forced furloughs are part of the federal sequester and will impact 85% of the Department of Defense's civilian workforce.

About 3,500 employees at MacDill are scheduled to begin taking their unpaid days off this week.  The furloughs go through September 30.

When the cuts were announced in February, Gov. Rick Scott wrote the President a letter urging him to reconsider the furloughs.

3/27/2013 Related Story: Tampa Bay braces for impact of sequestration

"Congress and the President should do their job. They need to balance their budgets because right now, by them not doing their jobs, Florida families are gonna lose their jobs," said Scott.

The Defense Department estimates the furloughs will save the country about $2 billion, $8 million of which will be cut in lost wages at MacDill.

Retired MacDill Brigadier General Chip Diehl is concerned the reduced staffing could impact military response time. 

Civilian employees were slated to take 22 days without pay when the furloughs were first proposed, but that number was later cut in half.

"You gotta remember one thing, our Nation always has to be ready. Readiness is number one, regardless of the impact, we've got to be ready to do our job," said Brig. Gen. Diehl. 

MacDill's commissary will be closed on Mondays until further notice due to a smaller staff.  Businesses around the base told News Channel 8 there's no way to predict how far reaching the furloughs will be felt throughout the community.

Officials worry the Pentagon will be hit even harder by layoffs in 2014 if automatic budget cuts continue as planned, according to the Associated Press.

           

           

 

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