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Military employees bracing for impacts of sequestration

As the midnight deadline approached Friday to avoid the across-the-board federal spending cuts known as sequestration, military leaders in Central Pennsylvania were formulating plans to help employees cope with the effects.

At the Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County’s biggest employer, commander Col. Victor S. Hagan Sr. told employees depot leaders would host a workshop in the next few weeks to help them manage a possible 20 percent cut in pay.

Should nothing change, employees will have to take one unpaid day off every week starting the week of April 22 and continuing through September.

“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 in a news release.

Leaders of the Pennsylvania National Guard said most of the 1,700 employees statewide also would be impacted by furloughs.

Maj. Angela King-Sweigart said one of the main concerns is being ready for emergencies, including things like natural disasters and major weather events.

“One of the largest impacts on us with potential sequestration is on our maintenance community. If we receive cuts to that, it’s not possible for us to keep our vehicles and our aircraft running as they should,” said King-Sweigart.

The guard employs about 650 people at Fort Indiantown Gap, with an additional 400 at Harrisburg International Airport.