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Furlough to hit civilian employees at Fort Polk hard

Last Modified: Friday, May 31, 2013 6:20 PM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

Civilian employees at Fort Polk are expecting a 20 percent pay reduction as they move to a four-day work week.

Fort Polk announced the shortened work week on Friday as part of an across-the-board effort by the Department of Defense to slash spending in response to budget cuts.

The move, which will last July 8 to Sept. 30, will require employees to take either Mondays or Fridays off unpaid as their designated furlough day, which will amount to a 20 percent reduction in pay.

According to a news release issued by Fort Polk, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a defense memo to senior department heads saying that he had “very reluctantly concluded that major budgetary shortfalls triggered by a $37 billion cut in defense spending for fiscal year 2013 forced a decision.”

Scott Stearns, Fort Polk public affairs officer told the American Press on Friday that approximately 2,000 employees, including himself, will be affected by the move to four-day work weeks.

“The civilian workforce is getting 11 furlough days — 88 hours, in response to the sequester,” he said. “Truthfully, it is what it is. It’s a situation that is in the hands of our political leaders and as a government employee we will just adhere to what we are told to adhere to.”

Stearns said although the employees will move to four-day work weeks, operations on the post will continue to run a normal.

“Everyone won’t be taking their furlough days at the same time,” he said. “For instance half of the public affairs office will be off Monday and the other half on Friday.”

Brig. Gen. William Hickman said “every effort” at Fort Polk will be made to lessen the severity of effects the furlough may have on civilian employees.

The weekly leave of absence affects all Army appropriated fund employees, Garrison Commander Col. Roger Shuck said in a news release, with the exception of employees working at child development centers and in sexual assault response and victim advocate programs.

Shuck said Fort Polk is prohibited from using compensatory time or overtime to offset the furlough.

The 11 non-consecutive furlough days will not affect employee retirement.

Posted By: PQW On: 6/5/2013

Title: It is simple...

If those getting the extra days off don't like it or don't want to do it, then they can just go get them another job. It is that simple. That will fix any morale issues they have. Furlows would work well in the postal service as well.

Posted By: L. Jackson On: 6/4/2013

Title:

Taking money from the employes to pay for a free event open to the public. They could cancel the 4th celebration and pay employees . What about all the work on the golf course another source of money they keep dumping money in the golf course .

Posted By: Dan Nance On: 6/3/2013

Title: Worried about how this will impact employee morale

As a former civilian employee in Public Affairs at Fort Polk, this furlough worries me about the morale of the civilian workforce at the post and throughout DoD. Civilian employees are an integral part of the Army team, or so they say. From my experience, these days that they are off without pay will only increase their workload that they will have to accomplish in the four remaining paid days. Congressional leadership is required to get this straight, but we've seen very little of that. It's a real shame on our national leaders.

Posted By: L. Jackson On: 6/3/2013

Title:

yet the 4th of july fest is still going on. Even Ft Bragg cancled thiers.

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