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Kirtland furlough notices going out

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More than 2,000 civilian employees working at Kirtland Air Force Base are likely to begin receiving furlough notices on Friday, base officials said Wednesday.

The furloughs, expected to affect more than 800,000 civilian employees overall, are a result of the automatic, across-the-board “sequestration” cuts triggered by Congress’ inability to reach agreement on a deficit-cutting plan.

Base spokeswoman Marie Vanover said all of the approximately 2,116 Defense Department-funded civilian jobs at Kirtland are subject to furlough. Those jobs range from engineers and scientists to firefighters and support personnel across the base.

That number does not include other civilian government workers employed by various agencies housed on the base.

The furloughs will save the Department of Defense about $5 billion this fiscal year, according to the Pentagon. That’s just over 10 percent of the department’s $46 billion in sequestration budget cuts.

Furloughed employees will likely see their work week shortened between April 26 and Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2013, according to the Pentagon.

Besides smaller paychecks, affected workers will accrue leave more slowly and see contributions to their retirement accounts shrink.

Although the furlough notices will inform employees that they have a week to appeal the furlough, Vanover said exemptions are unlikely. Once the week is past, final notices of furlough will be sent.

Military personnel are exempt from the sequester cuts by order of President Obama.

White Sands Missile Range employs about 2,450 civilian personnel, said public affairs chief Monte Marlin, but not all of them work for the Defense Department. A breakout of DoD civilian workers was not readily available.

Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo has 840 civilian workers facing potential furloughs, said Stephanie Schonberger with the 49th Wing’s public affairs office.

A spokesman for Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis said the base employs about 630 civilians.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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