WEST POINT – At a time when sequestration has resulted in furloughs of civilian employees at the US Military Academy, an official of the union representing the workers said millions in infrastructure money has gone unspent.
James McCabe, union treasurer, said $29 million was allocated to upgrade the steam plant, but nothing has been done there. The sewer system is also crumbling, he said.
“Where is this money and yet we are still furloughing employees and the ones left behind have to operate with band aids and duct tape,” McCabe asked. “When does this insanity stop?”
U.S. Department of Defense furloughs of civilian employees took effect Monday and are scheduled to run through the end of September. In New York, a few thousand of these employees are affected at West Point and elsewhere in the Hudson Valley. Two of the region’s congressional representatives slammed the furloughs as they headed back to Washington to try and balance the budget.
Cornell Cooperative Extension in Sullivan County is asking the public to donate money to stop the weekly furlough of employees that will begin in mid-April. Cornell Coop’s Executive Director says that as a result of the county legislature having cut funding by 20 percent, he would rather reduce staff hours across the board, including for his position, than cut any programs, at this point. He says the weekly furloughs will require staff to take one day a week without pay, and all programs and activities at the Coop’s center in Liberty would be suspended one day a week.