NORFOLK-Tens of thousands of civilian Department of Defense employees in Hampton Roads have begun receiving warning letters about impending furloughs.
The letters advise employees that up to eleven sequester-related forced days off could begin July 8 and last through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30.
For as many as 30,000 people, it will mean two unpaid days off per pay period.
Among them is Penny McDaniel, who works in the administrative office of Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk.
“It’s very disappointing,” she said. “We do our job, do it to the best of my ability, and then kind of get punished for it. I guess, I wish there was a different way they could go about it.”
McDaniel has already canceled cable TV at home, and says the furloughs will mean less eating out and no family vacation this year.
McDaniel is not alone. James Shirley is a Deputy Anti-terrorism Officer at the Navy’s Regional Public Safety Office, and like McDaniel, he just received his letter today.
“I think overall it’s just more of a disappointment than anything else, that our elected officials can’t get their act together,” Shirley said.
Shirley estimates the furloughs will mean a 20 percent loss of pay for him, and he says he’ll have to stop eating out and won’t be able to take his son to baseball games this summer.
ODU economics professor Vinod Agarwal tells 13News the furloughs, while not as bad as initially feared, will still have a big impact on the Hampton Roads economy.
Agarwal estimates that 30,000 furloughs for 11 days will translate into a loss of $135 million to the gross regional product and will cause 750 spin-off civilian jobs to be eliminated.
Earlier this year, the region did get one piece of good news related to furloughs, when Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel exempted 9,000 workers at Norfolk Naval Shipyard because of the mission-critical work they do on nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers.