WYSO

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Federal Workers Still in Limbo as Shutdown Drags On

Oct 15, 2013
WYSO/Lewis Wallace

As the federal government shutdown drags into its third week, it has become a sort of background noise, present but not always noticeable. Unless you’re a federal worker, that is; Justine Kelly’s a case in point.

She works at the Social Security Administration, and has been working without pay for weeks.

“This is just so demoralizing,” she said at a Democratic party event in Dayton Monday. “I feel like nobody cares. I feel nobody’s listening, like this is all a game.”

WYSO/Lewis Wallace

The Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) has launched an initiative called the “Federal Retention Program” to protect and expand Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. But that effort is an uphill battle against federal fiscal instability.

Wright-Patt puts upwards of $4 billion a year into the Dayton region, and a major goal of the new initiative is to keep that money coming in. At the same time, DDC president Jeff Hoagland admits the outlook in Washington is a bit bleak.

Most civilian workers are back at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, although officials say normal operations will remain difficult during the partial government shutdown. But across the Dayton area, Wright-Patt isn’t alone in its woes since the partial federal government shutdown began Oct. 1.

Civilians Return to Work at Wright-Patt

Oct 7, 2013

 Nearly 9,000 civilian workers went back to work Monday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. That’s after the Department of Defense reinterpreted a new law in order to end furlough days.

Aviation-related classes have been canceled at Ohio's largest military base as a result of furloughs triggered by the federal government shutdown.

The Dayton Daily News reports the Air Force Institute of Technology suspended classes this week at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. About 8,700 civilian employees were sent home without pay when the partial federal government shutdown began Tuesday.

WYSO/Lewis Wallace

 Nearly 9,000 employees of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remain on emergency furlough following the federal government shutdown, and workers and businesses are worried about the financial impact, particularly if the partial shutdown is prolonged.

Wright-Patt officials estimate that for every day the government stays closed, the Dayton area loses $5 million in wages.

Colonel Cassie Barlow of the 88th Air Base Wing speaks to reporters about a possible emergency furlough.
WYSO/Lewis Wallace

As of midnight, October 1st, the U.S. House and Senate had not agreed on a  budget, and the federal government is now implementing a partial shut down for the first time since 1995-1996.

On Tuesday Forbes listed Dayton as one of the top ten cities at risk during a government shutdown. Civilian workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base bear the immediate brunt: approximately 8,700 non-military staff at Wright-Patt received furlough letters Tuesday morning.

The impacts of the partial federal government shutdown are beginning to ripple across Ohio.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton has closed, canceling all tours and other events. The museum has some 1 million visitors a year and is a popular place for military reunions.  A spokeswoman has said that all but three security staff members of 95 museum employees would be furloughed.

Wright-Patterson officials continue to review security in the wake of the shootings at the U.S. Naval Yard shooting earlier this week. Colonel Cassie Barlow told reporters at a press conference that there is support available, from mental health services, to substance abuse and education programs, and the sexual assault and victim advocates program. Barlow says employees are trained in identifying odd behavior, and she emphasized that working as a team, or what she calls "wingmen", will help combat tragedies like what happened this week.

Court Martial Begins Monday For AF Officer

Sep 19, 2013

A court martial begins Monday for an Air Force officer based at Wright-Patterson Force Base accused of sex related crimes. Lt. Col Reginald W. Kabban is accused of unlawful sex acts with a child over a six year period during his time in Centerville, Ohio and Virginia. The Air Force reports there is only one victim involved in the charges. 

Kabban is the deputy chief of a development and planning branch of the Life Cycle Management Center, which reports to Air Force Materiel Command. He joined the Air Force in 1995 and promoted to Lieutenant  in 2011.

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