Shutdown will impact 'Team MacDill' colonel says - WFLA News Channel 8

Shutdown will impact 'Team MacDill' colonel says

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Colonel Scott DeThomas, the commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing Colonel Scott DeThomas, the commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The partial shutdown of the federal government is having a huge impact at MacDill Air Force base. Colonel Scott DeThomas, the commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing said this will have a great impact on 'team MacDill.'
 
"Our civilians have experienced great uncertainty since sequestration took affect on March 1," he said.

Related story: 10/01/2013 Manatee park closes during shutdown

Colonel DeThomas says just over 1,500 civilians have been furloughed at the base with each employee losing about $250 a day in wages.

"Starting yesterday we're losing just under $400,000 of wages every day and that's a pretty incredible number on the backs of our civilian airmen," he said.

Many of the closed services on the base are having a direct impact on families. The Family Child Care Office is closed, along with the Child Development center, the library and the base commissary.

Related story: 10/01/2013 Gov't shutdown: No progress on ending stalemate

Colonel DeThomas says he knows the closure of the MacDill Air Force Base commissary is something that will have the greatest impact on families. People who qualify to shop at the base commissary can save 30 percent on a grocery bill over what they would pay to shop in the community.

"Thirty percent less is a lot of money for the folks who are struggling to make ends meet," Colonel DeThomas said. "And that will have a big impact on our base across the base and across the community."

Colonel DeThomas says if the government shutdown lasts for a long time, it may have a deeper impact,

"Next weeks paycheck will be half of what they are accustomed to," he said. "That's going to have an impact on mortgages, credit cards, car bills, all those things we take for granted sometimes."

If civilian employees begin to miss credit card or mortgage payments, Colonel DeThomas says it may begin to have a long term impact on security clearances at the base.

DeThomas says poor credit history or foreclosure can mean the loss of a security clearance at the base.

"Security clearances are the difference between being qualified for a job and not being qualified. If you lose your security clearance, I can release you from that job, that's critically important," said DeThomas.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps General Gene Deegan says he believes the civilians who are losing money now will have it repaid when congress finally ends it stalemate.

General Deegan says, " In all previous shutdowns, the government has made good. You've got cooperating institutions like Navy Federal who have said, even if the paycheck doesn't arrive on the 15-th of this month, they're depositing the money into their account anyway."

General Deegan says he knows it difficult right now for people living paycheck to paycheck.

He says their anxiety is legitimate and inevitable.
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