News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Fort Gordon's main gate. (May 2, 2011 / WRDW-TV)
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Department of Defense is talking about cutting three to five of the intended 11 furlough days, which would be a huge boost in money and morale.
"It will have a tremendous impact," said Thom Tuckey, executive director of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon. "Civilians faced with this furlough have basically taken a 20 percent cut in their pay for three months."
That's a tough hit for any family, but with some of those work days potentially coming back, that means thousands back in people's pockets.
News 12 crunched the numbers. Based on an average civilian worker salary of $66,386 a year, the 20 percent that would have been cut through the 11 furlough days comes out to $2,808.63.
If the DOD adds back five work days, that adds $1,140.30 to the next paycheck. Even if they only add three work days in, that comes out to $684.18 workers will get back.
"This is not only beneficial to the civilians because they're going to get more money, but it's going to improve morale, which I'm sure has taken a hit throughout this whole process, and it's going to restore some faith in the whole system," Tuckey said.
Perhaps even bigger than the announcement of reduced furlough days is the possibility that the Cyber Center of Excellence will make Fort Gordon its home, which would mean a few hundred military and civilian families would, too.
"If this is going to become the Cyber Center of Excellence for the military, then all the defense contractors that are in the cyber business are going to want to be here," Tuckey reasoned.
With Grovetown just minutes away from Gate 2, Columbia County is preparing for the surge. Already, 80 percent of their single family home permits in the last year have been in the area.
"We've put significant investments into that area for some time, and with the TSPLOST passage, there are some TSPLOST projects that will be put into place that will help some of the traffic in that area," said County Administrator Scott Johnson.
"Right now we're focused on getting the community ready to absorb tremendous growth," Tuckey said.
Tuckey says it's between Fort Gordon and Maryland's Fort Meade for the Army Cyber Command, but he says every economic benefit points to Augusta as the best choice. He thinks the official announcement should come within the next couple of days.
For every military job created at Fort Gordon, the local economy gets one and a half to two jobs. Tuckey says having the Cyber Center of Excellence and potentially the Army Cyber Command in Augusta would bring no less than 4,000 military jobs. Multiply that by the 1.25 multiplier the Army uses, and the area could be getting thousands of local jobs.