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Tobyhanna Army Depot will close on Fridays through September

Published On: Jul 02 2013 04:16:57 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 02 2013 06:34:54 PM CDT

Furloughs at army depot are a result of the sequester

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -

Furlough days are being imposed on the 3,500-plus civilian employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot in northern Monroe County.

The vast majority of Tobyhanna's workforce will be furloughed on 11 straight Fridays, beginning July 12 and continuing through Sept. 20.

Depot commander Col. Gerhard P.R. Schröter said the depot plans is to shut down industrial operations on those Fridays.

The work reduction is part of sequestration, mandatory federal spending cuts.

 In May, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that more than 600,000 Department of Defense civilians will be furloughed for 11 non-consecutive days, totaling 88 hours.`

Tobyhanna Army Depot is the largest electronics maintenance facility in the Department of Defense.

It designs, manufactures, repairs and overhauls of hundreds of electronic systems that include satellite terminals, radar systems, night vision and anti-intrusion devices, airborne surveillance equipment, electronic warfare, and guidance and control systems for tactical missiles.

With about 5,800 employees, the depot also is the largest employer in the Pocono Northeast region of Pennsylvania.

Work performed by personnel at the installation and its forward repair locations has already been impacted by sequestration resulting in reductions to the fiscal year 2013 third and fourth quarter depot maintenance programs.

Tobyhanna's original fiscal 2013 plan of $824 million in workload has been reduced to to $742.1 million, a $82 million decrease.

In response to that downward trend, depot officials already have implemented a number of initiatives to address the declining workload.

Among these actions are a freeze on hiring new employees, restricted purchases of supplies, limited travel, and modified plans to modernize and upgrade depot facilities and equipment.

In addition, 310 Tobyhanna employees accepted early retirement offers in March, May and June. Contractors released since Oct. 1 total 333.

“This has been difficult," said  Schröter. "The adverse impacts to our employees, contractors and the Northeastern Pennsylvania region are significant and real. But our workforce continues providing reliable communications and electronic systems required by our nation’s warfighters.”

Schröter added that the depot’s future remains bright due to modern facilities, an excellent reputation for producing quality products and, most importantly, because of an "outstanding" workforce that understands the critical nature of Tobyhanna’s mission.