Defense Department Announces Possible Civilian Employee Furlo - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Defense Department Announces Possible Civilian Employee Furloughs

Updated: Feb 20, 2013 06:20 PM CST

The Department of Defense notified Congress Wednesday 800,000 civilian employees might have to be furloughed. It's apart of preparations for $46-billion in cuts that might happen on March 1st and it could affect the Rock Island Arsenal.

According to a Rock Island Arsenal spokesperson there are almost 4,923 civilian employees. The union that represents civilian employees says there are 8,000. If sequestration goes into effect civilian employees will have to take one furlough day a week, for 22 weeks. The furloughs mean civilian employees will loose 20% of their pay.

"20% is significant," says Craig Flenker, "It's going to figure into how we spend for our food, the cars we buy, and are we looking to buy a house.

Flenker is president of the union that represents the arsenal's civilian employees. He's been watching the situation very closely, so civilian employees on Arsenal Island know what to expect.

"They're nervous," adds Flenker, "A good portion of them live paycheck to paycheck and when you take one day a week out of your pay, and it will impact how you think and how you spend."

Wednesday's Department of Defense announcement is required by law. The DOD has to give Congress 45-days notice of a possible furlough.

"The Department of Defense is doing what we call precautionary, if not preparing for the inevitability of sequestration," says Flenker.

Flenker and an arsenal spokesperson do not know how many, if any, of the arsenal's civilian employees will be affected. If sequestration does happen, then the defense department will figure out who will be furloughed.

"It will touch a lot of different people, in a lot of different ways," says Flenker, "It's just the nature of what's going to happen."

If furloughs happen at the arsenal Flenker says the Quad City economy will suffer.

"The Rock Island arsenal impacts the community by about 18%, 19%, 20%," says Flenker, "If you cut 20% of your spending capacity out of that, it will work its way through the whole economy, you just can't avoid it."

If sequestration occurs on March 1st, the Defense Department will start to issue letters in the middle of March. The letters will give civilian employees 30-days notice that the furloughs will start at the end of April. The 22-week furlough will go until the end of September. After that the Department of Defense does not know what will happen.

Check out the Army Program Analysis and Evaluation report here: Army Report

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