PMRF to begin furloughs

LIHUE — Overall sequestration efforts by the Department of Defense will affect up to 13 percent of employees at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kekaha, who will have an additional 11 days off from now until mid-September.

PMRF Public Affairs Matthew Diendorf said the facility employs about 1,000 people, including about 800 contractors, 70 military and 130 government employees.

“The furlough affects the roughly 130 government service employees,” said Diendorf.

He added that a handful of these employees, who are considered to be in “mission-critical duties,” may not be subject to the furlough based on the nature of their jobs, such as base security.

Though no local feedback has been received yet, he said the Navy values the critical role that civilian employees provide in keeping the Navy and Marine Corps team operating forward to protect the country’s interests around the world.

PMRF Commander Capt. Nicholas Mongillo said in a statement that civilians are an integral part of the Navy team. The Navy, he said, understands that furloughs place a tremendous financial burden on them and their families.

“We have many here in the local community that are affected and we will do all we can to support them and to provide resources and information to help during this time,” he said.

The furloughs were proposed as part of the DOD’s overall sequestration efforts, according to Diendorf. Defense fiscal challenges required administrative furloughs of 78 percent of the Navy’s roughly 22,000 civilian employees, he said.

An article published May 15 by the American Forces Press Services states the furloughs for the entire Department of Defense will save the department some $1.8 billion overall.

Diendorf wasn’t able to answer how much would the PMRF save with the furloughs. The sequestration will require up to 88 hours for PMRF, or 11 furlough days, by the end of the federal fiscal year, he said. The original estimate was 22 furlough days.

The furloughs are already happening across Department of Defense, but they do not create a security issue for PMRF, because none of the security there — provided by active duty military, DOD police and contracted service — are subject to the furlough, Diendorf said.

The furlough period encompasses 11 days between July 8 and Sept. 13. The projected furlough days at PMRF are: July 12, 15 and 26; Aug. 2, 9, 15 and 16; and Sept. 3, 6, 9 and 10.

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