H-VANDENBERG AFB

Aug 15, 2013 12:22 AM by Victoria Johnson

End of furloughs for Vandenberg civilians

Civilians and military technicians working for the Department of Defense are back to full-time employment. Planned furloughs ended early, providing relief to many workers.

Sequestration has created tough times for the military and civilian workforce, but furlough days that began in July, were recently cut from 11 days to six.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, in the final months of the 2013 fiscal year budget, Pentagon officials found sufficient funds to put an end to the furloughs. Congress was able to move funds from acquisition accounts to day-to-day operating costs, transfer funds between services and agencies, and ended up spending less than expected.

Last week, it was announced that this would be the last short week for civilian workers. Those shorter work weeks essentially resulted in a pay cut. Being able to get back to work is a relief to many.

One civil servant said the decrease in pay ended up being more costly than expected.

"Our hours were cut by 20% but we ended up taking home less than 80% of our regular paycheck because we still had regular costs of our medical benefits and things like that," said Matthew Starbuck, Flight Safety Analyst for Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Col. Brent Mc Arthur is the 30th Space Wing Vice Commander. He said that the "sequestration induced fiscal year 2013 budget has created a very trying time for all of us, but more so for our dedicated workforce."

A representative from the California National Guard agrees, saying the reduction in furlough days will improve the readiness to respond to emergencies in California, combat tours overseas and the livelihood for their service members.

Secretary Hagel says, if Congress doesn't alter the Budget Control Act, the Department of Defense will be forced to cut an additional $52 billion in the 2014 fiscal year beginning on October 1. That would be a 40% increase over this year's mandated cut of $37 billion.

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