Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 9:06 pm | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Furloughs to End for Vandenberg Civilian Employees

Sequestration-forced furlough days will end next week for civilian employees at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The welcome news was relayed this week by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who said furlough days would be reduced from 11 to six, according to Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello, a 30th Space Wing spokeswoman.

Furloughs, which refer to mandatory time off without pay, began in July and have affected 1,137 civil service employees at Vandenberg.

Hagel said efforts by defense officials and Congress helped to identify savings that lessened furloughs.

Instead of enduring unpaid days off for the original 11 consecutive weeks, employees will experience their last furlough day for this fiscal year by the end of next week.

Vandenberg officials are especially grateful to see the end of a cost-cutting measure that has affected all aspects of the base’s general mission.

U.S. military and defense operations in particular took the brunt of hits from sequestration, a series of federal spending cuts that took effect in March 1 in accordance with a 2011 budget agreement between President Barack Obama and Congress.

"The sequestration-induced FY13 budget has created a very trying time for all of us, but more so for our dedicated civilian workforce," 30th Space Wing Vice commander Col. Brent McArthur said in a statement. “Needless to say, the sacrifices made by our dedicated employees are a testament to their great character and commitment to our mission.”

A recent survey of how furloughs have affected units across Vandenberg presented troubling results.

"What the units reported back to us varied from employees expressing frustration and attempting to cope with a drop in efficiency, contracts worth millions of dollars being de-scoped, to reduced range launch availability,” said Ron Cortopassi, 30th Space Wing executive director.

Whether mandatory furloughs will return in the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, remains to be seen.

The secretary of defense’s announcement this week also included a cautionary tone and warning that deeper cuts could be coming next year if Congress doesn’t change the Budget Control Act — which would force an additional $52 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >