Dobbins ARB planing furloughs, citing budget cuts
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@cherokeetribune.com
May 31, 2013 11:55 PM | 266 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Officials at Dobbins Air Reserve Base began issuing furlough notices to more than 500 civil service employees this week as a result of Congressionally mandated sequestration cuts.

Select members of the Air Force Reserve will be furloughed one day a week for a total of 88 work hours, or 11 work days, beginning July 8 and lasting until Sep. 30.

“This is a very difficult position for us, but we’re going to continue doing what we can to carry out our mission safely and provide C-130 airlift whenever and wherever it’s needed,” said Col. Tim Tarchick, 94th Airlift Wing commander. “Although these cuts will be very difficult on our civilian employees, we’ve planned for this and tried to minimize the effects the furloughs will have on the readiness of our force.”

Affected employees include those serving as C-130 aircrew and maintainers, financial management specialists, legal clerks and civil engineers among others.

In addition, the Dobbins ARB airfield will open 30 minutes later each day beginning June 30 in order to reduce operating costs for the base’s flying mission.

Dobbins spokesman Lt. Col. James Wilson said there are more than 580 civil service employees that support the mission at Dobbins.

“Once the furlough begins the cut, as it stands today, represents approximately a 20 percent reduction to their pay for the remainder of the fiscal year (Sept. 30),” Wilson said.

Wilson, who lives in Acworth, said he hasn’t even told his wife the bad news.

“The reason for that is there is still a chance,” Wilson said. “These are planned furlough days. There is still a chance that Congress can find a solution, but I’m not overly optimistic, so I have to figure this out on behalf of my family, and I think that’s true for a lot of the employees here. It’s not good news. It’s not. So if it comes down to it and we have to take the 20 percent cut to our pay, and it looks very much like we will, then I’ll have to move things around financially and with my schedule to try and deal with that.”

Wilson remains confident that he and his fellow airmen will make it through the financial hit.

“I think anybody who wears the uniform understands that that requires a commitment to something bigger than yourself, requires a significant amount of sacrifice and commitment to a cause that’s very important to our nation,” he said. “Hopefully people have a nest egg that they can fall back on, but 20 percent of your salary for a 90-day time frame is significant no matter what you do.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) said the capability and professionalism of Col. Tarchick, the 94th Airlift Wing, and all who work at Dobbins Air Reserve Base will shine through at all times.

“The president and administration have all the flexibility needed to prevent any of these changes by gaining appropriate savings from areas of the federal government with incredible waste and abuse,” Price said. “These reductions are occurring at this time because the president wants them to occur. We will continue to work positively to get Washington spending under control and get our nation back on a path to fiscal sanity.”

State Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell), the former chairman of the Cobb Democratic Party, said he hates to see the pain the pay cuts will cause the families who make their living at Dobbins. The cuts will also hurt the Cobb County economy, Wilkerson said.

“The other piece is it’s really the tea party members of the Republican Party that refuse to work with the president,” Wilkerson said. “Their desire to see the president fail seems to be greater than their desire to see the United States succeed, so I would place the blame primarily at the feet of the tea party conservative members of the Republican Party who refuse to consider any type of revenue enhancements in addition to spending cuts.”

Sequestration, signed into law as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, is a package of mandated cuts to the federal budget, totaling some $1.2 trillion over 10 years of which some $85 billion takes effect in fiscal 2013.
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