Sequestration furloughs begins at Kirtland AFB

Posted at: 07/08/2013 5:35 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Starting Monday, more than 2,000 Defense Department civilian employees at Kirtland Air Force Base are being forced to take days off without pay. It’s all part of the nationwide sequestration furloughs.

The mandatory days off with pay could not have come at a worse time for Master Sergeant Jessey Baca. “That’s a car payment. That’s part of a house payment and times are kind of lean right now and it’s going to be rough,” said Master Sergeant Baca.

Baca’s with the National Guard but works with the Defense Department as a civilian. He never thought his pay would be cut like this. “We live on a 40 hour work week not a 32. Yet we’re still expected to do a full time job,” added Baca.

Starting Monday, nationwide more than 600,000 defense department civilian employees have to take one furlough day off a week for the next 11 weeks.

Colonel Jeff Lanning with Kirtland Air Force Base said it amounts to about a 20 percent reduction in pay during that time. “We have folks who are, who are very young, to folks who are very senior, all of whom who are being affected by this furlough,” said Colonel Jeff Lanning with Kirtland.

“A savings used to be something you could. It’s a luxury now. You can’t, you can’t get it now,” added Baca.

Local restaurants who said a big chunk of their businesses comes from Kirtland are worried the furloughs will hit them too. “They’re not wasting it on their food. I mean, it’s cheaper to just go and make your own then come somewhere, sit down and eat,” said Alejandra Munoz with Tortas Casas Grandes Mexican Restaurant.