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Defense Furloughs Mean 20 Percent Pay Cut For Affected Employees

U.S. Air Force
Kathleen Salazar
More than 23,000 civilian employees of Joint Base San Antonio must take off one day a week for the next 11 weeks according to sequestration guidelines

  Furloughs began Monday for 23,000 Department of Defense employees at Joint Base San Antonio as part of the government’s sequestration measure to tighten the federal budget.

About 700,000 total Department of Defense employees will be taking one day a week off for the next 11 weeks -- the government reduced the furloughs from the original 22 days.

Joint Base San Antonio’s Brent Boller said the military could not avoid the cutbacks entirely, despite other efforts to reduce military expenses:

"And as you know, the air shows have been canceled, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are standing down for the season, as have the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels," Boller said.

Also eliminated were the fireworks celebrations that are traditional at military bases. Boller said the military also had to cut operational expenses like military travel, shortening exercises and training and they are also cutting back on support and maintenance at the bases.

The furloughs will result in a 20 percent savings for the government and a 20 percent pay cut for employees. The furloughs run through the end of September.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.