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Sequester Sinks In at National Guard Base

Civilian workers get 20 percent pay cuts at Camp Smith.

Camp Smith. Patch file photo
Camp Smith. Patch file photo

By Kevin Zawacki

As sequestration kicks in up and down the Hudson Valley, "furlough" is becoming a familiar word to many public employees—at Camp Smith  on the Putnam-Westchester border, 48 civilian workers will take off a mandatory unpaid 11 days, beginning Monday, July 8.

The furloughs will stretch into late September, and the pay for each affected worker will be cut by about 20 percent, or more than $2,700 per employee.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D)—who represents a broad swath of land along either side of the Hudson River—decried the furloughs July 8 at the Camp Smith gates.

“On July 4, Americans celebrated our independence," Lowey said. "Four days later, we are cutting the pay and time on the job of the people who support the men and women who defend our freedom." 

"This is the sad reality of the reckless sequester: a less prepared military and a slower economy," she added, urging Congress to replace the policy.

Lowey was flanked by a furloughed worker and other spokespeople at the New York Army National Guard facility.

Lowey said the cuts will damage the base's "operations and productivity." 

Sequestration took hold March 1 on the heels of hindrance in Congress; the austere budget cuts require defense spending to be slashed by approximately 7.9 percent across the country.

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