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Some relief for military civilians
Furloughs reduced from 22 to 14 days
BARSTOW • Military families in the High Desert are breathing a small sigh of relief after furloughs imposed on civilian employees were reduced to a maximum of 14 days.
“Everything is still kind of the same, but 14 days is better than 22,” said Leah Laux Bailey, single mother of three and property disposal tech at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow.
The Department of Defense budget was reduced by a now-estimated $41 billion as a result of the across-the-board federal government spending cuts known as sequestration, which went into effect March 1.
Military employees will have the longest number of unpaid time off of all federal employees as a result of the cuts, according to a Washington Post article.
“Honestly, my family will be OK,” Bailey said. “If it’s much longer than that it will really affect us. But I’ve always watched every penny no matter what.”
In a short video clip posted to the Fort Irwin military website, National Training Center Commanding General Brig. Gen. Theodore Martin said he was pleased to inform the post of the furlough reduction and delay.
“I know the stress that this places on the entire workforce and appreciate the patience and perseverance and the continued support to the mission,” Martin said.
He said he would continue to work with commanders, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center and the union, “to ensure that if a furlough is implemented that we are operating as one community in an effort to minimize the impact on the workforce as well as the mission.”
Bailey said she still hadn’t received notice about when the furloughs would happen although the notices were scheduled to go out on April 5, according to several news reports.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a press conference on March 28 that although they were able to reduce and delay the furloughs, they could not eliminate them. He said the savings would be about $2.5 billion from the defense budget, instead of the originally planned $4 billion.
In order to meet the ongoing cuts, Hagel said the military would be “cutting back in sharply our base operating support” and “reducing training for non-deployed units.”
The National Training Center and Marine Corps Logistics Base together compose the two largest employers in the Barstow area and also employ many workers from the Victor Valley.
Combined the bases employ approximately 2,745 civil service employees and 4,872 military personnel, according to data from the city of Barstow website.
Contact the writer: BSelf@DesertDispatch.com or 760-256-4123.