Defense

May 6, 2013

Ohio air base to slash budget, start furloughs

Federal cuts will force a 40 percent reduction in the budget of Ohio’s largest military base, and furloughs will begin next month for its 13,000 civilian employees, base officials say.

But no more job cuts are expected.

Civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton can expect to receive 14-day furlough notices beginning early next week, the Dayton Daily News reported May 3.

Col. Cassie B. Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at the base, said the unpaid time off work will begin in June.

“We’re really having to dig deep to find the reductions,” Barlow said.

Base officials are still holding out hope that the Defense Department will find ways to reduce or eliminate the unpaid days off, they said.

The Air Force Materiel Command, the largest command at Wright-Patterson, reached an agreement on how to handle furloughs with the American Federation of Government Employees Council 214, union spokeswoman Sue Murphy said.

Base officials said they canceled most travel, training, and equipment and supply purchases, reduced hours at fitness centers, cut recreation programs and turned a library into a learning center with computer access for Air Force personnel studying military education courses. As a result, the center removed more than 36,000 library items that were set aside for donation and five employees were laid off.

The changes will save about $200,000 a year.

The base has a civilian hiring freeze and eliminated as many as 344 temporary or term employees. The eliminated positions were mostly administrative or clerical workers.

Air Force personnel and civilian employees are working in buildings with lights turned off in hallways and air conditioning shut down.

“Every day that we don’t have air conditioning on, we’re not spending $7,000 on the installation,” Barlow said.

The cuts have led the base to withdraw support for the popular summer Dayton Air Show for the first time in nearly four decades. AP

 




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