FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW)-- Fort Riley Garrison Public Affairs officials confirm that government service employees on the installation could face 22 furlough days between April 26-Sept 30 of this year which equates to about a 20% cut in pay during that time period.
Due to sequestration, workers could lose two paid days out of every 10 work days over the course of five months.
There are 2,700 civilian employees at Fort Riley that could face furloughs.
"Not all employees are going to be eligible for the furloughs. I think at Fort Riley, the numbers we’ve heard would be around 2,700 employees may be furloughed and that would be $14 million in personal income among those employees that they would not receive so then that has an impact on the various local communities because they would have to reduce their spending," said John Armbrust, Executive Director of the Governor’s Military Council.
Officials say nothing is set in stone at this point but this measure is what is being looked at because of sequestration, the Continuing Resolution Authority and the debt ceiling.
"It’s going to be difficult for those people because they budget based on a certain amount of income. If someone came up and said you’re going to take a twenty percent cut in pay, where’s your twenty percent cut in expenses? People probably don’t have that flexibility so it’s going to be very difficult for everyone and I feel sorry for the people impacted by this," said Retired Colonel John Seitz, Military Affairs Director for the Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce.
"It’ll definitely have an impact on our economy and our sales tax around here. If the Congress and if the House of Representatives are smart, they can move certain items around in this sequestration and get it not quite as painful especially for the DOD employees because right now, they're the only ones getting hit hard by this. There's other ways to cut the budget besides on personnel costs," added Manhattan Mayor Loren Pepperd.
Junction City officials also weighed in on the issue. The city released the following statement to WIBW: "It is difficult to estimate the total economic impact of the sequestration on Junction City. We have immediate concerns about possible reductions and layoffs on Fort Riley and the impact of reduced spending at Junction City businesses. Lower sales tax collections resulting from lower sales within the City would result in an immediate impact on City finances."
A round table discussion is being scheduled for Friday at the 1st Infantry Division's Headquarters with the senior leadership at Fort Riley and members of the media. During the meeting, the officials are expected to address the fiscal situation and sequestration.
Besides possible furloughs, other impacts to the civilian workforce could include: a limited civilian hiring freeze and reduction of support contracts. Temporary and term employees have been or will released as well.
Fort Riley officials say as a result of fiscal challenges, there will be less discretionary funding but the readiness of soldiers and support of military families will not be compromised.
Fort Riley is planning for a continuation of services during the possible furlough periods, officials said.
"I think the impact on services and readiness is going to be fixed so that we try to minimize the impact, certainly on readiness for our soldiers who might have to deploy and also on the support that is given to families in the area of medical and childcare and things of that nature that everyone depends on. Those things are going to be protected as much as they possibly can. The readiness of the units that will have to be deployed and the care and support for families will be maintained. The Army takes care of its own," Seitz told WIBW.