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Monday, July 8, 2013 - 4:04am

Furloughs Begin At Ga. Military Bases

Furloughs starting for most civilian Defense Department employees at Robins Air Force Base will have a big impact on the area economy.

The leader of an advocacy group, retired Gen. Robert McMahon of the 21st Century Partnership, says the furloughs beginning this week will take $50 million out of the economy around the Air Force base. McMahon is the former head of the Logistics Center at Robins.

Most civilian employees will take one day off a week without pay for 11 consecutive weeks. Civilians are exempt only if they are needed to protect life or property.

The furlough days are the result of federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

Meanwhile, officials at Fort Gordon in Augusta say staff furloughs have led to the closure of two gates and are likely to create traffic jams.

Officials say the installation will not have enough guards to keep all of its gates open Monday and military personnel are not allowed to replace civilian workers who are on furlough.

In a statement, Col. Robert Baker said the installation regrets any disruption to local traffic the gate closures may cause, but reiterates that the installation has no alternative to closing the gates while civilian workers are on furlough.

Baker says the installation will return to normal gate operating policies as soon as possible.