He's not facing furlough himself but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will dock his own pay to show solidarity with the Defense Department civilian personnel who will be hit with 14 unpaid days of furlough, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
The loss of 14 days of pay for Hagel, who makes $199,700 a year, would amount to about $7,680. Of course, Hagel should have some hefty savings to fall back on considering he became a multi-millionaire in private life in the mobile phone business and in investment banking.
Hagel will stay on the job during furlough days but "plans to subject his pay to furlough levels, even though he's not obliged" as a political appointee, said Pentagon chief spokesman George Little.
The money won't come out of Hagel's pay directly, Little said. Instead, Hagel will figure the exact amount he would rate for the 14 furlough days and then write a check to the government.
"He will voluntarily subject part of his salary to furlough," Little said.
In taking the cut, Hagel will be following the example of Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who announced last month that he also would be docking his own pay.
The Pentagon initially planned to subject more than 700,000 Defense Department to 22 furlough days through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30, but last week the number of furlough days was reduced to 14.
The Defense Department instituted furloughs in response to the cost-cutting mandates from the Congressional sequester process. The crunch was eased slightly last week when Congress allowed the Defense Department to shift more funding to the Operations and Maintenance budget following the passage of a Defense Department appropriations bill within the continuing resolution.
At a Pentagon briefing, Little said the Department was "still working through the analytics" to decide on exemptions from the furloughs that were expected to begin in mid-June.
Civilian personnel working in war zones and foreign nationals employed by the Defense Department overseas will rate exemptions, but no decisions have been made on other categories of workers, Little said.
"There are going to be exemptions, but we expect the vast majority will be subject to furloughs," Little said.
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