Maxwell AFB Feels Impact of Furloughs

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By Josh Ninke

People in our area are feeling the first big hit of sequestration, as it impacts nearly two thousand people at Maxwell Air Force Base.

As part of federal spending cuts, the Department of Defense has had to furlough 650,00 civilians. 

Today marks the first day for all of them, including Maxwell Air Force Base employees.  

Civilian employees at Maxwell and National Guardsmen across the state now see just how challenging the furloughs are going to be. 

"Well they're impacting us in a couple different ways. They're impacting the mission of the installation because we're losing 20% of our personnel. For example half of our folks are off today, half are off friday which means you can only get 80 percent of the mission accomplished," said Lorna Fermanis, one of Maxwell's furloughed civilians. 

For the next 11 weeks, workers will have to take one day off a week, losing 20 percent of their paychecks. The department of defense estimates that this will save about $2 billion. But that's only a portion of the $40 billion they'll need to save. Fermanis has known for a few months that these changes were coming, but they originally looked even worse. 

"Well word has it since probably about april march timeframe of this year so we've known for a while. Now how it was going to be effective originally it was 22 days, 14 days, now it's down to 11 days," said Fermanis.

She's  worried this will impact not just the workplace, but also the local economy. 

"It's a challenge for a lot of people. It's going to impact the local community and people are going to have less money to spend. It's going to impact our whole base and whole businesses. For one our commissary is closing an extra day a week and that impacts our retiree population," she said. 

 

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