Notifications of planned furloughs are expected to be sent out in the next couple of weeks to federal employees who work on Kentucky military installations as unions negotiate details of the impact of automatic budget cuts.
Thousands of federal employees who work at Fort Knox in central Kentucky and Fort Campbell on the Tennessee state line could face up to 22 unpaid days off work between April and September as part of cuts triggered on March 1. Union officials say they expect notifications to start being sent to employees in mid to late March.
Vicki Loyall is the president of local 2302 of the American Federation of Government Employees based at Fort Knox. She said employees there worry about paying bills and are considering cancelling their health insurance.
On the eve of automatic military budget cuts, Fort Campbell's garrison commander said the installation's 8,000 civilian employees could face up to 22 unpaid days off this year.
Col. David L. "Buck" Dellinger told reporters Thursday that Fort Campbell's leaders are making budget decisions sometimes on an hourly basis to prepare for $55 million in budget cuts scheduled to take effect on Friday.
The installation in southern Kentucky is hosting town hall meetings in the coming days with staff and soldiers.
Dellinger said they have to balance providing training for thousands of soldiers who are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan this year, while finding savings in areas like civilian employee salaries, maintenance and other operating costs.
With military budget cuts set to take effect Friday, Fort Campbell's leaders are preparing to give more details on furloughs facing thousands of civilian employees and local impact of those cuts on soldiers and their families.
Fort Campbell's commander Maj. Gen. James McConville has said more information will be provided in the coming days through town hall meetings. The installation's garrison commander, Col. David L. "Buck" Dellinger, is providing details on the local impact during a media briefing on Thursday.
The Pentagon faces a $46 billion budget reduction through the end of September and has warned that some 800,000 civilians stand to be furloughed without pay for up to 22 days.
More than 30,000 troops are based at Fort Campbell, and many are currently deployed to Afghanistan.