Some Good News For Fort Drum
Workers at Fort Drum are facing a tough reality - a 20 percent reduction in services. It's all because of the big budget cuts known as sequestration. Although Child, Youth, and School Services are now exempt, the library and medical services, including the Behavioral Health Department, will likely be cut on Fridays starting April 21. "Although they're going to try their best to meet everybody's needs and expectations, there probably will be some hiccups in the system as a result. You just try to manage the best you can to that," said Loren Zeilnhofer, vice president of Local 400 of the American Federation of Government Employees. The cuts will likely alternate. For the programs affected, employees could be furloughed on Fridays or possibly Mondays. But some services will still be offered five days a week, just at a reduced capacity. "We're all here for a reason and that's to support the 10th Mountain Division. But when they take a cleaver to your work day, you have to make adjustments," said Zeilnhofer. The Army is also suspending tuition assistance for soldiers. That could have a profound effect on soldiers trying to pursue an education. But, they still have options. "We want soldiers to consider filing a free application for federal student aid. The purpose of which would be to secure any dollars under Pell Grants," said Joseph Agresti, education services officer. Now is the waiting game. We know there will be cuts and they'll be across the board. But until April 21 - the first day the cuts are expected to go into effect - the effect on Fort Drum overall is unclear.