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Hello Daily Kos,  It's been many years since I've been here.  But I'd like to ask you to give me a few minutes to talk about arbitraty politically driven furloughs.

Bottom line up front;  There is no business reason for these furloughs.  Secretary Hagel is pushing these, although they are illegal, for political reasons only.  

Sequestration cut defense budgets.  Yes, that is a fact, but those budget cuts have already happened, and the agencies that many civilians work for, have more than enough funding and work to avoid furloughs.

Simply put, this is a politically driven attack on career civil servants.  

Several hundred federal employees where I work have filed responses to the furlough notices which were sent out three weeks ago.  The employees, including trade workers, professionals, and management officials, contend that the proposed furlough is both unnecessary and illegal.

The Navy Program Offices in Washington DC that fund us have already faced budget cuts due to sequestration.  Despite these cuts, my command has enough funding on hand to avoid furloughs.   Since no business reason exists to support a furlough, employees have argued that the action is unnecessary and will not result in any cost savings to the government.  In fact, because personnel resources have been limited due to a hiring freeze, many employees are currently working overtime in order to keep up with workload.  

Under federal law (10 USC 129), “indirectly funded Government employees of the Department of Defense”, such as those where I work, are protected from arbitrary action from the Secretary of Defense.   As the Secretary has stated his desire to “spread the pain” across the Department of Defense, employees feel that this furlough is politically motivated and lacks any legal foundation.  

To be clear, this furlough is the result of action being taken by the Secretary of Defense and is not due to budget cuts resulting from sequestration.

In addition to the immediate economic impacts to employees and their families, this furlough will result in a loss of more than $5 million to the local economy.  My colleagues and I are committed to exhausting every potential remedy, including appealing to the Merit System Protection Board, should this furlough be implemented.    

This is a truely bizarre scenario unfolding.   For the first time in my career, I'm witnessing the Executive Branch, via Secretary Hagel, use the federal workforce as political pawns, to create a disaster where none exists.  The only problem is, we don't evoke much sympathy from the public, so it's easy to beat up on a group of people who can't really stick up for themselves.  

Hagel has broken the law by ordering an arbitrary furlough, and commited several prohibted personnel practices, including depriving employees of statutory rights of due process.  

Yes, there is a political reality, and that is complicated, but facts are facts, and without a business reason, such as lack of funds, furloughs cannot be authorized under federal law.

Please be aware of this distinction as furloughs come to fruition and the media at large begins talking about it.



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