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Furloughs may hit Arnold Center civilian employees

Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 9:17 am

By Marian Galbraith, staff writer

Barring a last-minute deal between Congress and the White House, furloughs are on the way for nearly 300 civilian employees at AEDC, according to Col. Raymond G. Toth, commander.

And more lost work days are likely on the way for other people at the base, once Steve Pearson, general manager of Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA), announces how the AEDC contractor will address its funding reduction.

Toth’s latest message was posted on the base’s sequester website address, on Wednesday afternoon.

Col. Raymond G. Toth

Col. Raymond G. Toth

The furloughs were initially anticipated to go into effect on April 25, and AEDC’s civilian employees were expected to receive official notices from their supervisors in the coming days.

However, in a statement released late yesterday afternoon, the Pentagon announced the distribution of furlough notices would be delayed until the impact pending legislation to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year would have on the Department of Defense can be determined.

Officials now estimate that furlough notices will go out on or about April 5, Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said. The government is required by law to provide federal employees with 30 days’ notice of furloughs, which, if the April 5 notification date holds, would mean furloughs would begin the second week of May.

Affected federal employees have been told to expect to be furloughed 22 nonconsecutive days, an amount of time which, although delayed by the Pentagon’s recent announcement, is not being reduced at this point.

“The legislation could have some impact on the overall number of furlough days, but no decisions have been reached, especially since the legislation hasn’t been signed into law,” Hull-Ryde said. “The number of furlough days at this point remains at 22.”

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Pentagon press secretary George Little said the delay makes sense.

“We believe the delay is a responsible step to take in order to assure our civilian employees that we do not take lightly the prospect of furloughs and the resulting decrease in employee pay,” he said.

The specifics of how the furloughs will be performed at Arnold are “still in flux,” Toth said, however some details are being shared with the workforce.

“Among those specifics is the expectation that most employees will take one furlough day per week through September contingent upon employee desires, mission requirements and supervisor approval,” the commander said.

“We do know that if implemented, furlough will equate to a 20 percent reduction in pay for our 282 appropriated fund government civilian employees through the end of fiscal 2013. I expect there will be some hardships as a result.” ..

Read the complete story in next week’s (March 27) print edition of the Manchester Times. Click here to subscribe to the print and / or the full online digital version of the paper.