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News Maryland Harford County Aberdeen Havre De Grace

APG civilian employees returning to work this week after DoD recall

About two thirds of the civilian workforce at Aberdeen Proving Ground has been on furlough for the past week because of the partial federal government shutdown, but the 30 to 40 percent of employees who remained on post will be seeing many of their colleagues this week as the Department of Defense recalls civilian employees, APG officials announced Monday.

The recall came in the wake of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's Saturday announcement that civilian defense employees who "contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members" could be recalled, in accordance with the Pay Our Military Act.

"Secretary of Defense Hagel's order recalling furloughed civilian employees enabled the U.S. Army Garrison commander to issue instructions across the command authorizing continued operations for 'excepted' employees whose missions are related to life, health and safety," APG spokesman Kelly Luster wrote in an e-mail Monday.

About 21,000 to 23,000 people work at the Proving Ground, which is Harford County's largest employer and one of the largest employers in Maryland.

Employees include uniformed service members, contractors and Department of the Army employees who support the Army garrison, which owns the installation, and the various "tenant organizations" that call it home.

The federal shutdown has also affected defense contractors, which have operations in the vicinity of APG.

Katy Delaney, a spokeswoman for Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to science and technology research, said Monday officials with the Columbus, Ohio-based organization have made plans to deal with the shutdown and are watching the situation "closely."

Battelle employs about 150 people at the HEAT Center in Aberdeen, and 36 on post at APG.

"We're just still waiting and hoping for a good resolution," Delaney said.

"This partial government shutdown placed additional hardships on our workforce given the recent fiscal constraints caused by administrative furlough earlier this year," Col. Gregory McClinton, the garrison commander, stated Monday. "We are pleased to see some of our workforce return to work and look forward to a complete resolution and the return of our remaining personnel."

Luster said about 800 to 1,000 people work in support of the garrison, and they had all been recalled.

He said information "regarding the status of tenant organizations [employees] is still coming in."

A number of on-post services, such as the commissary, were closed, or their hours were cut back during the shutdown.

The health and dental clinics, as well as the Post Exchange, remained open, however.

Officials issued a press release late Monday that indicated other services were scheduled to come back this week.

The Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, Department of Human Resources, Department of Public Works, Equal Opportunity Employment Office, Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic and Morale, Welfare and Recreation entities had "resumed normal operations" as of Monday, according to the press release.

The post's Commissary and Staff Judge Advocate were return to their "normal hours" Tuesday.

The Department of Logistics is "operational with increased service delays," according to the press release.

Officials also released hours for the gates of APG and APG South, or the Edgewood Area.

The APG gate at Route 715 will be open 24 hours a day; the gate at Route 22 will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the Aberdeen Gate is closed.

The Aberdeen Visitor Center is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, and the Aberdeen Badge Office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The gate at Route 24 for APG South will be open 24 hours a day, and the gate at Wise Road is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, while the Magnolia Gate is closed.

The Edgewood Visitor Center will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the Edgewood Badge Office will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Employees seeking more information should visit the post's website, http://www.apg.army.mil/breakingnews.cfm, its Facebook page or Twitter feeds, or call 410-278-7669.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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