UPDATED: July 8, 2013 11:23pm
At Fort Gordon, more than 3,000 civilian employees are taking off one day of work each week for 11-weeks because of Department of Defense furloughs. Those cuts are affecting the security gates at Fort Gordon.
Fort Gordon does not have enough guards to keep all of the gates open. Only two gates were open during rush hour monday morning. That caused major traffic delays for anyone wanting to get into the installation, but Fort Gordon leaders quickly came up with a solution.
“You know, I don't think we really knew what the outcome was going to be Monday morning,” says Fort Gordon Public Affairs Officer J.C. Mathews.
Fort Gordon personnel are starting to feel the effects of furloughs, but the 20% cut in hours isn't just hitting their wallets, it's testing their patience.
“Super frustrated. I'm going to have to get to work a lot earlier. I'm already late,” says Jason Buttram.
Traffic was backed up for miles outside of Fort Gordon's main security gate. All because the installation didn't have enough gate guards to maintain the influx of traffic during the morning commute.
“2 hours and 15 minutes to drive 7 minutes,” says Sedrick Jones.
For a place so strict about being on time, most of the people we spoke with told us they were late.
“I talked to my captain and she said, you know, get here as soon as possible, but you know it's kind of depressing because I've only been here two a half weeks, so it's kind of like I'm not setting a good example, you know,” says Jones.
Mathews says he doesn't expect soldiers who were late to get in trouble.
“We've got a lot of terrific leaders out there with the flexibility and the common sense to understand when a solider is doing what he is supposed to do and when a soldier is affected by external events,” says Mathews.
Fort Gordon leaders decided to open up another gate Monday afternoon, which proved to be a success as their were no major traffic delays outside of the installation. Mathews says safety and security are still going to be at the forefront during the 11-weeks of furloughs.
“This is not a situation that we would have chose for ourselves and it's not going to be an easy situation as we go through the next 11 weeks of the furlough. We're going to do it the best we can. We will try to minimize the impact and we appreciate the support that we get from our neighbors here in the CSRA,” says Mathews.
Gate 2, which is in Grovetown, will now be open from 5:30 to 9:30 am., Monday through Friday. It will also be open from 3 to 6:30 pm for outbound traffic only.
Gate 1 and 5 will operate on normal schedules.
Gate 3 will remain closed until further notice.
UPDATED: July 8, 2013 05:16pm
Furloughs for Department of Defense employees began today. 650,000 employees will be required to take time off work. Civilian Pentagon employees will be forced to take one unpaid day off each week through September 21st. That's about a 20% reduction in their income. The furlough period was originally 22 days, but that was dropped to 11 in May. The cuts are expected to save $1.8 billion in defense spending.
Fort Gordon is taking part in those cuts. More than 3,000 civilian employees will take off one day of work each week for that 11 week period. Because of furloughs, Fort Gordon does not have enough guards to keep all of the gates open. Fort Gordon leaders closed gates 2 and 3 because of the furloughs, which caused traffic delays outside of gates 1 and 5.
Some people tell us it took as long as three hours to get on post this morning. Post leaders have been working on a solution all day for the delays. Just a few hours ago, they announced gate 2 will reopen for morning and afternoon rush hours only. That means there will be three gates for people to get onto the military installation.
“We will re-evaluate how things do tomorrow and talk about if there is a way to do that better. We will continue to do that until we are convinced that we are doing it the best way that we can. Certainly we hope tomorrow will be better than today,” says Fort Gordon Public Affairs Officer J.C. Mathews
Gate 2 will be open from 5:30 to 9:30 am., Monday through Friday for both in and outbound traffic. On weekday afternoons, it will be open from 3 to 6:30pm for outbound traffic only. Gate 1 and 5 will operate on normal schedules. Gate 3 will remain closed until further notice.
If you're headed to fort Gordon Monday morning, plan on being late. Long Lines lines at are reported gates one and five. Those are the only two gates open this morning. As of eight am, traffic was backed up for miles. Cars are in a virtual stand still.
Gates 2 and 3 will be closed until further notice. The gate closures are being blamed on civilian furloughs which began at 4:30 Monday morning. More than 3-thousand employees must cut one day from their work week – including the Department of Army security guards who man those gates. That's why only two are open now. The furloughs will last for 11 weeks.
It is not certain who will be forced to take which days yet.