Civilians in Pacific watch, wait on progress of spending bill
Civilian employees around the Pacific are taking a wait-and-see stance toward the lack of a war-spending bill.
Wayne A. Newnam, library manager at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, doesn’t know if his job will be affected, but he thinks the debate could be settled before any layoffs occur.
“I think cooler heads will prevail on this,” Newnam said.
Ken Morgan, skills and development supervisor at Yokosuka Naval Base’s Auto Hobby Shop, said he’s following the news of the possible layoffs but doesn’t think his shop would be affected.
“We are DOD civilians, but we’re nonappropriated-fund employees,” Morgan said. “It may have more impact on the GS employees on other parts of the base.”
In South Korea, 8th Army officials require Stripes reporters to have military escorts for on-base interviews of personnel but said they were too busy Thursday to provide one for this story.
Off base, civilian Fred Newman said civilian workers have never been laid off for financial reasons during his 32 years with U.S. Forces Korea, and he’s not worried about it happening now.
“They don’t lay off (overseas) employees because we’re considered on the front lines of freedom, and essential to the national defense,” said Newman, a budget officer for the 1st Signal Brigade.
If anything, he added, civilians working for the military in the United States will be the first to lose their jobs, but Congress will probably pass a spending bill that gives them their jobs back within a few days.
A civilian government service employee on Okinawa, contacted by telephone, said he wasn’t worried about getting laid off because he may retire next year.
“In the past, some might have been furloughed for a day or two before the budget was passed and all was forgiven,” he joked.
He paused when asked if he could be quoted by name.
“No, if I’m quoted, they might just decide to retire me tomorrow,” he said.