CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.—With a little more than a month before Letterkenny employees are faced with a furlough that could shorten their work week to four days, the depot is helping workers manage the financial fallout.
Individual, personal financial counseling sessions began Monday and will continue through March 22, according to Letterkenny spokeswoman Lindsay Bryant.
Letterkenny’s 4,000 workers could lose 20 percent of their pay as a result of federal budget cuts commonly known as sequestration, according to a statement released by Letterkenny earlier this month.
Bryant said employees can schedule an appointment to develop a financial plan to deal with the possible furloughs.
Lunch and Learn workshops focusing on personal finance and credit management were held last week and are scheduled for next week.
The workshops, provided by Army Community Service, Carlisle Barracks (Pa.), are free to Letterkenny employees.
“There has been a good turnout for the individual counseling sessions,” Bryant said.
Letterkenny Army Depot Commander Col. Victor S. Hagan Sr. said earlier this month that a work furlough of up to 22 nonconsecutive days would begin the week of April 22 and could continue through September if an agreement is not reached.
“We now find ourselves in the midst of a perfect storm created by a continuing resolution that puts funding in the wrong places, a shortfall in funds for overseas contingency operations due to higher than anticipated costs in theater, and sequestration,” Hagan said earlier in March.
Bryant said so far, two temporary and 49 term employees have been identified as losses, which means 51 employees will lose their jobs.
“We have begun production schedule adjustment planning with our customers,” she said on Thursday.
Other than that, no implementation plan has been activated, Bryant said.
L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., said so far there has been no tangible effects from sequestration, which went into effect on March 1.
“I think we have been kind of lulled into this kind of false sense that sequestration isn’t going to have the impact that we thought,” he said. “It’s going to have that impact.”
Right now the focus has shifted to the Continuing Resolution that needs to be passed on March 27 to keep the government operating, Ross said.
On March 27, the Continuing Resolution that funds the overall discretionary operations of the federal government runs out —that means a government shutdown.
“There’s still some expectation that that is going to be dealt with in conjunction with sequestration,” he said.
But, if sequestration rolls into the third week of April and results in job losses, Ross said the effects will be very real for the community.
“I think there is going to be increasing pressure on our elected officials to have to deal with the situation, because that’s when it’s going to become real and the ripple effect is going to extend throughout communities across the country in a very significant way,” he said.
Ross said he is hopeful that legislators will deal with the issue sooner rather than later.
“I’m hopeful that they deal with it before we reach that critical third week of April, but again I think you’re going to see mounting pressure across the country,” Ross said.
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, whose Congressional district includes the depot, did not respond to a request for comment.
State Sen. Richard Alloway, who led a closed tour of the depot last week, did not return messages Thursday.