28 June 2013
Budget Cuts, Furloughs, Reduced Staffing Affect Post Services
By Ellen Crown, MRMC Public Affairs

More than 1,000 federal civilians on post are slated to start their administrative furloughs beginning the week of July 8. Most staff members will take one day of unpaid leave per week through the end of September.

The civilian administrative furloughs are Department of Defense wide, triggered from budget cuts that took effect March 1 with sequestration. Combined with higher than expected wartime operating costs, the DoD is short billions in operation and maintenance funds, which are used to pay most civilian employees, maintain military readiness, and respond to global contingencies.

“Army civilians are a critical part of our team,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph Caravalho, commanding general of USAMRMC and Fort Detrick. “We need to support each other, now more than ever.”

“As a leader, one of the most difficult decisions is to furlough a public servant. We all should have compassion and empathy for the difficult period ahead for one of our team members,” U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick Commander Col. Steven P. Middlecamp added. “Reduced staffing is going to impact some of our installation services affecting military, retirees, family members, contractors and our partners.”

Several services and facilities will have reduced hours or adjusted services. For example, the post commissary has already announced reduced hours. The commissary will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays through the end of September. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays the commissary will be open from 10 a.m. ? 6 p.m. On Thursdays, the commissary will be open 10 a.m. ? 7 p.m. On Sundays, the commissary will open at 10 a.m. but close early at 5 p.m.

Due to the recent cuts in defense spending, the Army Surgeon General has also mandated that as much specialty care as possible be directed to Military Treatment Facilities, such as the Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. This change will affect non-active duty beneficiaries who may have previously received specialty care such as physical therapy at Barquist Army Health Clinic located on Fort Detrick. To ease transportation costs, Barquist leadership is offering daily shuttle service going to some nearby medical centers. Beneficiaries can call 301?619?8496 for shuttle reservations and to make arrangements regarding medical records.

Support is available during the sequestration and furlough through the Employee Assistance Program and Army Community Services. Trainings, such as “Financial Assistance, Saving, and Budgeting, Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques” are free and offered at the Community Support Center, Bldg. 1520 on July 2 and 10 from 11:30 a.m. ? 1 p.m., and at the Advanced Technology Center, 1st Floor, classroom 3, on July 25 from 11:30 a.m. ? 1 p.m. For more information, call 301?619?4657 or 301?619?3456.  

Posted by PAO

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