Half of Fort Bragg's civilian employees furloughed due to shutdo - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Half of Fort Bragg's civilian employees furloughed due to shutdown

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

More than 7,000 of Fort Bragg's civilian employees are furloughed as a result of the government shutdown.

Congress figuratively hung "Closed" signs on a big swath of the government Tuesday and sent home 800,000 workers in what President Barack Obama labeled an "ideological crusade" by the GOP. On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans traded blame for the first partial government shutdown in nearly two decades.

A statement released by Fort Bragg Public Affairs on Tuesday stated approximately 50 percent of the more than 14,500 civilian employees on the post will be furloughed.

The president of the Local 1770 branch of the AFGE, the union that represents civilian employees, said if teachers and other employees who are basically exempt from furloughs are not counted, it is more like 75 percent of the civilian workforce that is not working at Fort Bragg now.

After reporting to work Tuesday, the furloughed workers quickly got word that they wouldn't be allowed to work past noon because of the government shutdown. So they used the hours they had to cancel appointments, send out emails, and tie up any loose ends.

While the soldiers at Fort Bragg will get paid as they continue their work, all sorts of jobs that support them will now go undone. Everything from street sweeping and building maintenance, to dental clinics and preventive counseling services are eliminated or cut back with less staff. Even the post's grocery stores, called commissaries, closed Tuesday.

Civilian employee Tiffany Lawson who helps soldiers prepare for work when they're leaving the military says there's a lot of worry because no one knows how long this will last, and she's frustrated because she feels like a political pawn.

"When we're not there, we're not doing our job. So not only do we not get paid, the military folks suffer to because their services that they would normally get are not there," Lawson said. "I feel like I can't even get over the last days we had off from the [sequestration] furlough. I feel like we're just political pawns in Washington's game."

The Army is not permitted to incur further financial obligations except as required for the orderly shutdown of operations or the performance of activities for life, health, safety, functions needed to perform Fort Bragg's mission to deploy, redeploy, equip and training units and functions required under federal laws, regulations and policy.

"There is no way around this, everyone will be effected by this furlough," said Col. Jeffery Sanborn, Fort Bragg's garrison commander. "We will do everything we can to ensure our units, Soldiers, their Families, our civilian workforce and retirees are supported to the best of our abilities."

Fort Bragg's Directorate of Emergency Services, which manages the installation's law enforcement, emergency medical and firefighting services, will continue to operate as will Fort Bragg's schools for dependent students and all Exchanges stores.

Member of the National Guard who report for drills and training at Fort Bragg were initially told the government shutdown would not affect their units. However, an email sent Wednesday instructed these members to "not report to Fort Bragg or your unit for duty this weekend."

The email continued by apologizing for any inconvenience or lost wages the cancellation may have caused.

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Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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