2,400 civilians to be affected by Fort Riley furloughs

By Rose Schneider

Fort Riley officials are moving forward with the furloughs of 2,400 civilian employees on post. The furloughs are set to begin in July.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said recently that he would be proceeding with the federal furloughs to manage budget cuts facing all sectors of the military and the rest of the nation.

“On or about July 19 and lasting until the end of the fiscal year, civilian employees will be furloughed for 11 non-consecutive days,” said Col. William Clark, garrison commander of Fort Riley in a press release. “We saw this action coming and have spent a lot of time planning for this requirement.”

The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, so that equates to roughly one required day off per week for those affected by the new mandate — roughly one third of Fort Riley’s workforce.

“There are a variety of different commands on Fort Riley, and we’ve worked together to form an integrated plan to accomplish this in a holistic manner,” Clark said.

The furloughs will affect only those who are paid by Congress with appropriation funds; currently, there are no exceptions to this rule. Those who are not appropriated fund employees compensated by Congress will not be required to have furloughs.

But the effects of the furloughs will likely be felt by everyone in the Fort Riley community.

“Our patrons and our community can expect a reduction of services to some degree, but with those services linked to life, health and safety we have found a way to mitigate that to make sure we maintain our obligations to our patrons,” Clark said in the release. “For example, if you are coming to Fort Riley and wish to get a new ID card, you can expect a longer wait time.”

Other possible areas affected by furloughs may include air-traffic control at Marshall Army Airfield, in-processing and housing services. Overall, Fort Riley officials advise that visitors should “expect longer waits or responses from such services during furloughs” and that “special events will not take place on Fridays.”

“The main thing to remember is that Fort Riley and our Army remains committed to taking care of our soldiers, families, civilians and retirees throughout this time period,” Clark said.

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