By Robert Dozier, U.S. Army Installation Mangement CommandJuly 16, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO (July 15, 2013) - - "I've been planning and I'm fortunate that I've been able to pay off 90% of my debt a month before sequester," said Tamesha, from the G3 battle staff. "I've really curbed my spending so that during the furlough period, I will not be affected that much. I know a lot of other people are not in my situation."
Most U.S. Army Installation Management Command headquarters civilian employees took one unpaid day off last week, the first week of the 2013 furlough. They had been anticipating "furlough Fridays" for months since senior leaders at The Army's Home have been using email communication, town halls and training sessions to keep their employees informed of the timing and breadth of the sequestration furlough process.
"I have mixed feelings because I understand why furloughs are being given, but I don't understand why it only applies to DA civilians," said Valerie, from internal review. "It doesn't seem to be shared and equitable."
The 11 week payroll reduction plan is a result of Budge Control Act of 2011 as amended by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Many employees have been taking the last few months to prepare for the impact of furloughs, but there remain feelings of resentment.
"I feel that our Congress appears to be acting selfishly," said Tamesha. "They could have avoided the furlough by voting for laws and policies to avoid sequestration and furloughs all together."
"I'm as ready as I can be, but I'm not looking forward to this," said Esther. "I've been saving a little money on the side and cutting back a little. This furlough will hit our family times 2 because my husband is also a DA civilian. It won't faze me until I see the paycheck."
"We're working on wants vs. needs," said Rene, married to Esther. "We're frugal with our money but we won't be able to save as much as before. Life is all about choices. Now we are more cognitive about the choices in our daily lives."
"I've been trying to increase my savings and cut back on unnecessary spending like lawn service," said Valerie. "Being a widow, it will be hard to do some of the stuff myself. I might have to call church friends or family to help."
The Department of Defense has born a majority share of the effects of sequestration and the DA civilian has already endured a hiring freeze, an extended salary freeze and a heavy blow to the morale in the workplace.
"I know the seriousness of furloughs on yours and your family's lifestyle," said LTG Mike Ferriter, commander of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. "As a command, we are moving and continue to move toward a positive balance of mission and the spirit of our valued employees. We intend, with your help, to perform well and continue to earn the full support and backing of the Department of the Army. Our Soldiers and their Families are depending on us and what we do."
"IMCOM has done as well as they can to keep us up to date and well informed," said Valerie. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt."
"I think the command briefings have been extraordinary," said Rene. "The communication and positive attitude has really helped prepare us for what's to come."
IMCOM's furlough plan for most employees is for 11 days to be taken discontinuously from July 8 through September 30, and Friday will be the typical furlough day.
"I'm looking forward to the three day weekend -- until further notice," said Evelyn, former IMCOM employee and still DA civilian. "It will give me time to take trips and visit my granddaughter."
"Just don't be compulsive about things for the next few months," said Rene. "Remember your choices and you'll be fine."
"It's going to be about $200 per pay period for me, which will be a major impact to the household budget," said Mitchell, on the IMCOM integration and synchronization team. "It's going to really impact the lower grades that may be living day-to-day and paycheck-to-paycheck. I encourage you to stay strong and remember what we do is not for us, but for the Soldiers."
"San Antonio is a robust city and there are lots of opportunities for part-time employment to supplementary income," said Tamesha. "I got a part-time job to help pay for a house and it will go far to make a dent in the money missing from the furlough."
IMCOM does not anticipate the need for furloughs beyond September 30, knowing the agency's funding levels are changing.
"Furloughs are serious and they affect each employee differently," said Ferriter. "Whatever we do, we've got to maintain the important work you are doing, particularly in the area of substance abuse prevention, combating sexual harassment and assault and suicide prevention. We all have to do our part and carry this burden. I'm counting on you."
"This is the team-of-teams and you're on it," said CSM Earl Rice. "When you think about how far we've come in IMCOM ten years, you know we won't let this bump in the road knock us off our mission. We're going to keep on rolling because what you are doing makes a big difference."
For more information on how sequestration and furloughs affect the IMCOM workforce, go to http://www.imcom.army.mil/Organization/G1Personnel.aspx.
About the U.S. Army Installation Management Command:
IMCOM handles the day-to-day operations of U.S. Army installations around the globe -- We are the Army's Home. Army installations are communities that provide many of the same types of services expected from any small city. Fire, police, housing, and childcare are just some of the things IMCOM does in Army communities every day. Our professional workforce strives to deliver on the commitments of the Army Family Covenant, honor the sacrifices of military Families, and enable the Army Force Generation cycle.
Our vision: Ready & Resilient Army: Provide Soldiers, Families and Civilians with a quality of life commensurate with the quality of their service.
Our mission: IMCOM will synchronize, integrate, and deliver installation services and sustain facilities in support of Senior Commanders in order to enable a ready and resilient Army.
To learn more about IMCOM: