marks the end of Furlough Fridays here on Fort Bragg, or as I like to call it, “F-cubed” — Final Furlough Friday.
Personally I am glad to see it go away, for now, but hints are being dropped that with further budget cuts, the likelihood of further furloughs are looming in 2014 and beyond.
For the dedicated civilian workforce, especially those here at Fort Bragg, I just hope effective plans are in place to handle
the cuts instead of quick fixes. As with most quick fixes, the short-term effects are dramatic, but the long-term effects are damaging.
Many said quick cuts were needed to meet the reduction in funding brought about by sequestration, and the easiest area to cut to quickly save money was the civilian payroll. That makes sense. But sequestration was announced in the summer of 2011, almost a year and a half before it was enacted.
As expected, local and national media, focused their attention on the dramatic, short-term effects with most of their attention fixed on the
financial impact the furlough has had on civilian employees on Fort Bragg and the delay in services for our 250,000 customers; Soldiers, their Families, the civilian workforce and North Carolina’s military retirees. Little attention has been paid to the long-term effects.
As for the long-term effects of the furlough, a big one that seems to have been ignored by the media is its effect on the morale of the civilian workforce. After years of dedicated service, establishing high standards and self-imposed deadlines, plus the desire to provide the best service possible, we were told we were expendable. We
were to be the first items cut to meet a reduced budget. We were the short-term solution.
Based on what I see and hear from my fellow civilian employees, many are reconsidering future plans. Should they take early retirements or separations? Are there better paying jobs offered by others? Should they continue staying, without seeking overtime, beyond their eight-hour work day in order to meet their own high standards? These are just some of the long-term effects the quick fix has created.
I am sure some people are looking at the old stereotype of the lazy, overpaid government worker
and saying ‘so what?’ As in most stereotypes, this one too is based on ignorance. Fort Bragg’s civilian work force has the institutional and historical knowledge of how to keep this post running as effectively as it does. We take a lot of pride in providing highquality services as well as in the more than 30, top Department of Defense and Department of the Army-level awards our workforce has received since 2011.
I have no doubt Fort Bragg’s civilian work force will continue their dedicated service, but at the same time I can’t help but wonder when we will become the short-term solution again.