Fort Meade workers getting furlough notices

More than 500 civilian workers at Fort Meade will receive furlough notices over the next week, base officials said Wednesday.

Supervisors and managers plan to hand deliver notices to more than 425 garrison employees by June 4. The notices describe plans for one furlough day per week from July 8 through Sept. 30. The Office of Personnel Management requires 30 days' notice before placing employees on temporary non-duty, non-pay status.

"We thought it important that supervisors and managers hand deliver the notices to ensure every employee received them and had a chance to ask questions," said John Moeller, deputy garrison commander at the Army base in Anne Arundel County. "The most important part about implementing the furloughs is to have open communication to ensure employees are fully informed of the policies, the regulations and the implementation."

An additional 113 workers at the Fort Meade commissary are to receive notices by June 5. Base officials said the commissary, like similar operations on other installations, will close on Mondays from July 8 through Sept. 30.

"We know that any disruption in commissary operations will impact our patrons," said Joseph H. Jeu, director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency. "Also, we understand the tremendous burden this places on our employees, who, when furloughed, will lose 20 percent of their pay.

"We determined that Monday closures would present the least pain for our patrons, employees and industry partners."

The furlough days are intended to help the Defense Department meet the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester. Uniformed military personnel are exempted from furloughs.

Some Fort Meade offices and services might close or have reduced hours, base officials said.

The cuts come as the base prepares to host the court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has acknowledged giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

After months of preliminary hearings, the court-martial is scheduled to begin Monday in the base's courtroom. It is expected to draw demonstrators and news reporters.

Fort Meade, with more than 52,000 workers, is the state's largest employer. The workforce includes 39,654 civilians and 12,737 service members.

Officials said the base's more than 100 tenant organizations, which include the National Security Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Media Activity and many others, will issue their own furlough notices as necessary.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad