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Sequester hurts gov’t workers

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I am a member of the American Federation of Government Employees and a hardworking federal employee at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in New York City. I work on a daily basis as a compliance specialist protecting the public from violations of environmental law.

I received a notice in April that I would be furloughed — i.e., sent home without pay for seven days this year, a personal financial loss of more than $2,100 I cannot afford, due to the sequester.

I am concerned about the impact on my family, our troops and small businesses in my community. The president and Republicans agreed to the sequester in order to force them to work out a debt deal in 2012.

Congress remains gridlocked and the sequester is in effect. These sequester cuts are indiscriminate and will end up hurting the public. How does the government expect us to keep our water supplies and air clean if we are not present to deal with violations and emergencies? How can we serve our troops properly when the U.S. Department of Defense furloughs its employees? What about housing assistance?

There is no help in sight because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is furloughing its employees. While political chess reduces my pay, my expenses remain the same or worse. My job is now at risk. I still have to pay the mortgage and bills and put food on the table. If I am unable to pay my bills due to this new financial hardship, I could lose my security clearance and get fired.

How does this keep our nation safe and secure? Have lawmakers thought about how these furloughs will affect the local economy?

Congress needs to do its job instead of stopping us from doing ours.

Paul Sacker

Little Neck

Posted 2:33 am, June 14, 2013
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Reader feedback

GetCreative from Glen Oaks says:
The sequester reduced budgets...it did not mandate furloughs. The management of these public entities are the ones at fault for you being furloughed. They were given less money to run their organization. There are many places that they could have reduced spending to make up the difference. Instead of taking a hard look at their budgets, the easy answer was to furlough everyone. Its very similar to a union going on strike. Management figures if their employees complain enough and write enough editorials and get media attention (For Example: See FAA Workers), then the government will give them back their full budget. You are being used as a pawn.
Would you prefer they raised taxes on everyone, and instead of losing $2,100 you spent $2,100 extra on taxes.

The private sector has been fighting this battle for the last 5 years and many lost their jobs. Companies with bad management laid off too many employees, stayed stagnant, and eventually closed up shop. Good management however got creative. They diversified, found new revenue, sought new customers, cut spending, maybe they implemented some temporary wage freezes or reductions, but they made it through, and now are stronger and leaner, and realize how fat they were before.

The public sector needs to learn from some of these good managers instead of taking the easy way out and blaming partisan politics and harming their employees in the process.
June 17, 2013, 11:49 am
Good ideas from Queens says:
If the govt stopped putting projects that no one reallyneeds in neighborhoods of long standing members of the house, we would not need the sequester. These members are elected for mulitple terms because they deliver these unnecessary projects. Enough pork, enough waste, let's pretend that the purse has limits.
June 17, 2013, 12:43 pm

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