FAIRFIELD — More than 700 Travis Air Force Base civilian employees on Tuesday came to work and had to return home for the start of furloughs.
That was the immediate result at the base of the partial government shutdown that began the same day. These workers will remain on furlough until the Congress passes a federal funding agreement.
“They had a few hours to come in and tie up any loose ends and sign the official notification and transition out,” Travis spokesman Maj. Brandon Lingle said.
The base looked at 1,500 civilian positions using certain criteria to decide which would be furloughed, Lingle said. Those criteria are preserving life, protecting property and maintaining military operations, he said.
“It’s important that this is no judgment on that person’s importance to the mission,” Lingle said. “The Air Force’s position is every member of our team is important to accomplishing the mission.”
The base’s top brass were involved in efforts to get base workers ready Monday for potential furloughs Tuesday. Col. Corey Martin, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing, took part in town hall meetings to inform personnel of the situation.
Early Monday, the possibility remained that a partial federal government shutdown would affect the pay for some 10,000 active duty and reserve personnel. These personnel would work, but might not get paid on time.
That situation got resolved later Monday, when the president signed a law ensuring that active duty military members will receive their paychecks as scheduled.
The civilian workers, in contrast, have no guarantees that they will ever get back pay for the furlough time.
“Of course, we’re hopeful the elected officials can resolve the situation as soon as possible,” Lingle said. “These things are disruptive on many levels.”
Many of the base’s functions will continue as usual. Pilots will still fly the massive C-5s, KC-10s and C-17s. Travis Air Force Base will continue its air mobility mission for the United States military, delivering soldiers and cargo all over the world, if needed.
The effects of the partial government shutdown will be seen on a smaller scale.
Lingle said base services will see significant delays and cancellations. The base commissary, library and teen center will close. People going to the visitors center to enter the base could have longer waits. David Grant Medical Center could limit elective surgeries and procedures.
Any disruption to operations at Travis will likely produce ripple effects off base as well. That’s because the base is the largest single economic driver in Solano County. The latest estimate of the base’s economic impact on the region is $1.6 billion a year.
Lingle said Travis will do no new purchasing and sign no new contracts that don’t support activities essential to the base mission.
Travis Air Force Base will be posting information on the government shutdown situation at its website at www.travis.af.mil.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.