Fort Sill CG addresses furloughs
March 7, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, hosted three town hall meetings last week to inform civilian employees about the impending mandatory federal spending cuts (sequestration), possible furloughs and to address their concerns.
With the deadline for sequestration approaching, McDonald chose to be proactive as he and leaders spoke candidly about what to expect if administrative furloughs are implemented, as well as regulations and procedures governing them.
Joining McDonald at the three sessions held at Sheridan Theater were: Joe Gallagher, FCoE and Fort Sill deputy to the CG; and Debra Cheek-Livingston, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center director.
The general explained that the Army has about an $18 billion shortfall in funding for the remainder of this fiscal year.
"That's just the Army, the Department of Defense is much bigger." That is why furloughs are being considered as a way to save money, he said.
The decision to furlough Army employees will be made by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, and not individual civilian personnel advisory centers, he said.
"If furloughs are to begin, they will start on April 23, giving each employee formal and sufficient notice by law," McDonald said.
"Congress will vote on a continuing resolution March 27," Gallagher added. Depending on that vote, things could change.
McDonald was emphatic that employees would not work from home on their furlough days. He said that workers would neither be taking Blackberries (work related cell phones) and laptops home, nor would they be answering their phones for worked-related matters.
Cheek-Livingston added that leave cannot be taken on an employee's assigned furlough days.
The deputy to the CG said the only potential exemptions to the furlough at Fort Sill are air traffic controllers, and that pending request must still be approved at the DA-level.
McDonald said the Fort Sill workforce is incredibly talented and dedicated, and the impact of a furlough on employees is not lost on Army leadership.
On March 1, President Barack Obama formally enacted the spending cuts.
For more information about sequestration and frequently asked questions about furloughs, visit the FCoE and Fort Sill Intranet's furlough link, or the Training and Doctrine Command website at www.tradoc.army.mil/CivInfo.asp.