Fort Bragg continues to deal with furloughs

Fort Bragg (Wikimedia)
March 21, 2013 5:07:17 PM PDT
Duties of troops and their families at Fort Bragg may move beyond the battlefield. Budget cuts have officials there asking families to volunteer as service guards and potentially, as janitors.

Right now, school crossing guards are soldiers. Those positions may have to be filled by civilians due to furloughs.

There's a call to volunteer. Six-hundred-fourteen miles of post roads will go unmaintained, 48 million square feet of building maintenance will be put off for now, and this is just the start.

"Our budget was cut. I mean drastically," said retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Tony Glasgow, a government service worker.

Glasgow thought government service was the surefire, safest line of work after 26 years of service.

"Unbeknownst to me, thinking I'm back at work, GS employee, thinking 'Great, I'm back to work,'" said Glasgow. "However, the furlough came in."

Delores Ponder's son is a post contractor. He's also out of work for a month.

"His whole unit was laid off," said Ponder. "That was at least 100 people in a matter of two days."

Now, Glasgow and Ponder's son are among thousands of civilians thinking of how to cope with a pending 20 percent pay cut. Glasgow, however, has plans in real estate.

"Because had I not, I would've been in the same situation trying to figure out 'what can I do and what will I do," said Glasgow.

There's also now a better idea from post officials regarding sequestration.

"Right now, we're just seeing the trickle, but that gate in the dam is going to start lowering on down, and more things are going to start flooding down and the impact is going to be felt very hard in this local community," said Fort Bragg Deputy Public Affairs Officer Tom McCollum.

The commissary is set to close on Wednesdays. Building repairs to pre-World War II-era structures is also on hold, along with road repairs.

Because soldiers are set to fill the shoes of civilians on furlough, someone will have to fill their boots.

"We're looking at having to pull our crossing guards out from schools," said McCollum. "Right now, they are being maintained by soldiers. We are looking at pulling them out and asking volunteers to step in."

The post is still working with unions of the furloughs. Congress is trying to lessen the impact. The surefire impact will be known next month.

McCollum also said janitorial services will not be cut from high traffic areas, like the child development centers, or chapels. He says, even with their current planned cuts, they'll have $40 million to make up for somehow. That could ultimately result in more furlough days.

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