The Furloughed Files: Points of view

July 25, 2013

Frustrations of a single dad

The most unexpected instance has been that my leadership was apparently given the latitude to exempt my department (emergency room pharmacy) and chose not to.

My expectations are bleak. I have realized that I am not an asset to the Department of the Army, or portions of the administration at all.

Those around us have diverse views regarding this situation. Many are veterans or spouses. They are finding things difficult but manageable. Morale is divided within the hospital because there are departments that have chosen not to furlough their employees (the emergency room doctors and nursing staff, for example).

Unfortunately, because I am not registered as a pharmacy technician in the state of Texas, I cannot work outside of the U.S. government as a technician, so my part-time job opportunities are limited to positions that would do very little to supplement the loss of income.

I am a single father paying child support, and it’s already challenging to manage my finances. But when the government adds two 30 percent pay decreases (tax increases and the furlough), it becomes overwhelming.

— Bertram Lewis

Department of the Army

San Antonio

A different perspective in Old Town

On July 5, on my way back from a long run on a miserably hot day, I noticed two groups of furloughed Environmental Protection Agency workers who were busy digging ditches at the base of Oronoco Bay in Old Town Alexandria. What a wonderful — and appropriate — response to the unfortunate news of being furloughed!

Thanks, EPA workers!

— Pamela Van Hine

P.S. They had signs noting they were furloughed EPA employees working on this project.

Looking for a fair shake

I have been a Department of Defense civilian employee for more than 26 years. I’m tired of being perceived as a “GSA” or “IRS” federal employee! I have never gone to a wasteful conference. I haven’t had a raise in three years. I haven’t had a performance cash award in more than 10 years, in spite of my outstanding performance evaluations. I’m a hard worker and have been very loyal and patriotic to the DoD and to my country. However, my morale has never been lower than it is currently. My disappointment in my representatives has never been higher. They are supposed to represent me.

The furlough will impact my family and our local economy. My family will not be taking any vacations this year. New school clothes for my 15-year-old twin daughters will have to be a minimum. No dinner outings. I won’t be able to help my 80-year-old mother as much financially as I have in the past.

I live in a small city in New Mexico where the majority of residents work at the local Air Force base. The city will definitely feel the furlough! There are three Air Force bases and a large Army installation in New Mexico that help the state’s economy. A
20 percent cut in pay means a
20 percent cut to the local economy as well.

The mission of the DoD also will be impacted. Many times, I would stay late (without receiving overtime or comp time) just to finish a project. Now, I’m prohibited by law from staying late. At 4 p.m., I must leave no matter what I’m in the middle of doing. It was difficult to finish everything in 40 hours a week. It’s going to be impossible in
32 hours.

Where does this all stop? I wouldn’t mind doing my “fair share” if I saw every federal employee, including our elected ones, doing the same.

— Elesha Gentry

Contracting Officer

Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

Want to tell us your story about being furloughed? Post your Furloughed File (250 words) on the Federal Eye at www.washingtonpost.com/
blogs/federal-eye
or e-mail us at federalworker@washpost.com.

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