Government shutdown forces hundreds of Fort Gordon furloughs - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Government shutdown forces hundreds of Fort Gordon furloughs

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FORT GORDON, GA (WFXG) -

The government shutdown continues because the House and Senate are still locked in a stalemate over a spending bill.

They can't come to an agreement over the Affordable Care Act.

As a result, hundreds of civilian employees at Fort Gordon are going into their second day of furloughs.  

"It's a slap in the face in terms of morale. These are the people who are working to protect this nation but they're bearing the brunt of the battle that's now ongoing," said Thom Tuckey, the Executive Director of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon.

Seven hundred fifty three civilian employees at Fort Gordon are feeling the pain of furloughs.

Four hundred ninety employees for the fort were furloughed Tuesday. Two hundred sixty three Eisenhower Army Medical Center employees were also furloughed.

The government shutdown also forced 8 of the fort's agencies to close, 2 of their services now have extremely limited capabilities and 11 are functioning with reduced capabilities.

Congressman John Barrow voted to keep the government funded. He blames fallout from the shutdown on hyper-partisanship.

"Congressman, if the shutdown drags into days or weeks, at what point will the local economy will take a serious hit?" asked Fox54's Mark Barber.

Barrow said, "I don't know. I understand from reports I've heard that if it's a very short shutdown it could affect growth over the course of the next year. If it's a prolonged shutdown, it could be a significant impact."

The last shutdown, which was in the 1990s, lasted for 21 days.

"The uncertainty is what's causing concern right now. They don't know if they're going to be furloughed for more than a day, two days or a week and they don't know if they're going to get paid for that time," said Tuckey.

Tuckey says if this shutdown lasts past Friday, the community needs to act.

"We as a community will start taking steps to see what we can do to assist those civilians who are going to have utility bills, mortgage payments, rent payments coming up," he said. 

Furloughed employees aren't the only ones taking a hit.

Eighty-five percent of the staff at Eisenhower is still working but they aren't going to see a paycheck for their work until the government shutdown ends.

Veteran medical facilities will stay open. But claims and payments for the education, compensation, pension and vocational rehabilitation programs will only continue through the end of the October.

For a list of closures at Fort Gordon, visit: http://www.gordon.army.mil/NEWS/government_shutdown/Fort_Gordon_Shutdown_Support_and_Services_Chart.pdf

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Organizations and functions at Fort Gordon are making their transition to the government shutdown this morning.

"This is a difficult day for us," said Colonel Samuel Anderson, Fort Gordon garrison commander. "We're concerned for our employees who are being furloughed for the second time this year, and we're concerned about our ability to provide the programs and services that our service members and their families deserve. Nonetheless, many Fort Gordon programs and services will continue to operate almost normally during the shutdown, and we will do our best to keep the community informed about changes at the installation."

Because of the variety of agencies and commands on post, Fort Gordon officials cannot provide a single figure for the number of employees who have been furloughed as a result of the government shutdown. However, in the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Gordon, 490 of 842 appropriated fund civilian employees are being furloughed.

Military personnel are not affected by the shutdown or the furloughs; they continue to report for work as usual.

During planning for the shutdown, Fort Gordon officials identified "excepted" and "non-excepted" functions on the installation. Excepted functions, such as those in support of national security or public safety on the installation, will continue to be performed on the installation, and employees who perform or support those functions will remain on the job.

For example, installation security guards who man the gates at Fort Gordon are excepted from the shutdown furlough, so officials do not expect traffic problems at the post's access points.

Functions that are not excepted will not be performed during the shutdown, unless they are performed under the terms of a contract that extends beyond the first of the fiscal year. Government employees who perform the function that are not-excepted will be furloughed during the shutdown.

Activities and services that are funded using non-appropriated fund – that is, funds generated by user fees – will continue to operate during the furlough. Examples of these are child care centers and most recreational facilities. Employees whose salaries are paid using non-appropriated funds are exempt from the furlough.

Exchange retail facilities will remain open during the shutdown. The Commissary will be open today, but may close once it reduces the amount perishable goods on hand.

Anderson advised Fort Gordon military personnel, their families, employees and retirees to keep track of developments during the shutdown by checking the installation Web site (www.gordon.army.mil), Fort Gordon Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ftgordonga) and local news media.

"If you're planning to visit a Fort Gordon office or service agency, I'd recommend calling in advance," he said. "However, most service organizations on post continue to operate almost normally, and we'll do our best to continue providing the services, support and quality of life programs our service members and families have come to expect."

For a full list on closures:

http://www.gordon.army.mil/NEWS/government_shutdown/Fort_Gordon_Shutdown_Support_and_Services_Chart.pdf

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