For 911th, Sequestration Brings Hundreds of Furloughs
A spokesman for the Moon Township airlift wing said the base is mired in uncertainty from gridlock in Washington D.C and the continued threat of a base closure.
More than 280 civilian employees at the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township face furloughs in April as a result of the federal government's budget sequestration.
Capt. Shawn Walleck, a spokesman for the base, said civilian employees and personnel with dual military and civilian status at the base will take a 20 percent reduction in wages as a result of a federal government budget impasse.
Days ago, the chief of civilian personnel at the 911th met with the base's civilian staff members to discuss the upcoming furloughs.
The cuts impact each member of the 911th's civilian staff. Civilian personnel have been warned of upcoming schedule changes and advised to "make the necessary changes to their personal finances," said Walleck.
"One of the things people don't realize is this base during the week is primarily run by civilians," he said. "No one is exempt from these cuts."
He said officials at the air wing are working with its civilian union to determine how the furloughs will take effect. Active-duty military are not expected to undergo pay reductions in the sequester.
"It wreaks havoc on planning and readiness," Walleck said. "There's an awful lot of uncertainty right now."
That uncertainty includes the March 31 expiration of a federal law put in place to delay the planned closure of the base.
Walleck said reservists await lawmakers' action on the planned closure—the Pentagon is now reviewing data on the airlift wing. The Air Force has indicated it plans to close the 911th Airlift Wing in the upcoming months as a cost-savings measure, though federal lawmakers have worked to stave off such a closure in the past.
All of the 911th's civilian and military positions would be eliminated under the proposed closure.
"We're sitting in this perfect financial storm," he said. "And it really makes it difficult for us to do any long-term planning."
The sequestration will likely limit the number of daily missions flown at the wing, a factor Walleck said could impact overall the overall performance of the base.
"We launch aircraft everyday," he said. "If there's no money, you're not flying as much, the planes don't need maintenance, and you start to see a decline in your proficiency."
Moral at the base has dwindled amid uncertainty of the base's future, he said.
Walleck, a reservist with dual civilian employee status, will himself face a furlough as a result of the sequestration.
"I can speak for myself," he said. "That's a 20 percent hit to my paycheck—that's a lot to loose. I'm honestly worried. You work hard everyday, and then something like this hits you."
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