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The hammerhead crane at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, photographed on Friday, January 25, 2013.
The hammerhead crane at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, photographed on Friday, January 25, 2013. (Steve Earley, The Virginian-Pilot/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — There’s been no decision on civilian job cuts at Navy facilities, the command in charge of them said.

Last week, the Navy region responsible for bases from Hampton Roads to Maine and west to Illinois said it would cut 500 positions beginning in October. But the memos detailing the move were planning documents, preparing for a worst-case scenario while awaiting congressional action on the Navy’s fiscal year 2022 budget, according to the Navy Installations Command.

“No decision has been made on cost reduction measures across our shore installations at this time ... until an appropriations bill is enacted by Congress,” said Capt. Josh Frey, the command spokesman.

Earlier this month, the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic region, which comes under the installation’s command, imposed a hiring freeze and advised commanders across the region that it would cut 500 positions of its 10,000 civilian posts at 16 facilities. Most would come by not filling vacant slots and not replacing employees who retire or leave, the region’s spokeswoman, Beth Baker, has said.

The region has some 457 vacant positions, including 331 in Hampton Roads.

Baker said many of the cuts would come in the Navy’s morale, welfare and recreation service, since 300 of the 500 positions affected are “nonappropriated fund” slots — paid for by funds generated from such programs as behavioral health, education services, fitness, food, hospitality, recreation and retail stores.

The region’s $754 million budget allocation for fiscal year 2022 is $66 million short of what it needed to continue operating at current levels, Baker said. That shortfall reflects the Navy’s effort to focus limited funding on training and readiness, she said.

In addition, to reduce overtime expenses, the region will begin enforcing a longstanding policy that costs incurred by ship movements outside of core port operations hours of 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays must be reimbursed to facilities.

dress@dailypress.com

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