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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: News - Top Stories - UPDATE:WPAFB Furlough Notices Going Out in May
Friday, April 5 2013, 01:32 PM EDT
UPDATE:WPAFB Furlough Notices Going Out in May
UPDATE -- We just spoke with Daryl Mayer, Chief, Current Operations of the 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs. He tells us the furloughed employees will not be notified April 5th as originally reported. When U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reduced the number of furlough days from 22 to 14 he also pushed back the start date of those furloughs to June.

By law, furloughed employees have to receive a 30 day notice before the furloughs can take place. Mayer says those notices will go out in early May.


WPAFB -- Connie Finton runs a hair shop across from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. When she first heard the base's civilian workers could lose 20 percent of their income for 22 weeks she thought it could put her out of business.

"I thought we were going to go under," Finton said. "We depend on the base. It's the heartbeat of Fairborn."

After a recent decision to delay the furlough notices until April 5, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave Finton a little breathing room.

"We are going to be able to reduce and delay these furloughs but not eliminate them," Hagel said during a White House press conference today.

Hagel has made the decision to reduce the number of furlough days from 22 to 14. Under the new plan, the 14 unpaid days would start in June, not late April, as originally planned. Some civilians, such as those serving in war zones and in critical public safety jobs, will be exempt, although defense officials have not said how many.

The furloughs will affect more than 700,000 civilian defense workers, including thousands at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

"I voted against this mess," said Representative of Ohio's 10th District Mike Turner. "I think Congress needs to take decisive action with the President to set this off. I'm certainly very pleased that we're down to a fewer amount of days which means that the gap is closing, but this gap needs to be closed completely. This should not be happening to the great men and women who serve our nation."

Rep. Turner says Congress passed a funding bill last week that shifted $10 billion to operations and maintenance accounts. That allowed the Department of Defense to apply the salaries to the civilian workforce. But it's not enough.

"As this gets delayed time and time again it gives Congress and the president time to go back and try to fix this. This was initially supposed to happen January 1, then March 1, then April 1. Now it's the middle of June."

Going from 22 to 14 furlough days decreases the lost wages from $167 million down to $106.3 million. And as news spread through local businesses fears of going under slowly subside.

"I'm very relieved," said Finton. "That's going to be a lot better, a lot better for the base and a lot better for the whole community."

Relief for now, but they would still like to go from 14 days down to zero.

Connect with ABC 22/FOX 45 Reporter Wale Aliyu on Facebook and Twitter.UPDATE:WPAFB Furlough Notices Going Out in May

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