The Department of Defense-directed civilian furloughs began in earnest July 8 and the effects of which are now being felt with the passing of the first pay period where employees saw a reduction in pay. At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, 66 employees are feeling the pinch, some more than others.
“The majority of our civilians are losing two days of pay every pay period because of furlough. Those in the higher pay grades can absorb that loss a little easier than those in the lower pay grades,” Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, commandant of the Academy said. “A great quality of being assigned to the Sergeants Major Academy is that we are like family. Just like any family, we pull together during tough times and help one another.”
That help, Malloy said, has come in the form of a food drive headed up by some of the staff to provide those employees affected the hardest with a little something to get by on and on July 25 the first boxes of food were handed out.
“We have 12 employees at the Academy who are in the base grades (GS-8 and below) that we felt could benefit from some assistance during furlough. We were able to get donations of food from two local businesses and put together several boxes of food to hand out,” said Jesse McKinney, director of Human Relations. “It’s not a lot, but each box contains about 15 individual meals. The hope is it will help to offset some of the loss of pay.”
For one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, the box of food was a welcome surprise.
“This will help a lot,” the employee said. “My loss of pay is about the same as my mortgage payment so this is much appreciated.”
Inside of each box was a letter from the commandant thanking the employees for their service to USASMA which read: “On behalf of the entire organization, we offer you this small token of assistance during this time of increased financial difficulties being placed on you by the DA directed furlough. We hope to provide you this assistance on a bi-weekly basis in order to assist you and your family during this time of hardship.”
Malloy said he was pleased with the efforts of the first food drive and the efforts of those who worked the program.
“I am honored and humbled by the support for members of the USASMA team during these trying times,” he said. “Faith, prayer and the help from others will pull you through any situation.”