The Richmond Register

Local News

July 10, 2013

BGAD firefighters get furlough exemption

RICHMOND — Blue Grass Army Depot firefighters have been granted an exemption from the sequestration furloughs that started this week at the base.

Although the firefighters initially were subject to the reduction in hours, a further analysis of their work schedules showed they should be exempted, according to a letter sent to U.S. Rep. Andy Barr from the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command.

“Based on additional information provided by BGAD, it was determined that the current staffing levels for BGAD firefighters were insufficient to meet the 24-hour shift requirements for firefighters and dispatchers,” Patricia A. Huber, deputy to the JMC commander, wrote. “BGAD’s multiple missions of protecting the chemical weapons and its associated demilitarization activity, along with conventional ammunition storage, would be at an unacceptable risk level if all firefighters were furloughed.”

Huber also wrote that reduced staffing levels because of furloughs would put firefighters’ lives “at too great a risk.”

“I am extremely pleased that the local leadership at the Blue Grass Army Depot and I were able to work together and demonstrate to Army leadership the critical role of the emergency personnel at BGAD,” Barr said in a news release. “This exemption will ensure the safety of the local community as well as the surrounding counties that would have been jeopardized by a reduced force.”

Barr said he has been working with the depot leadership since March to make the Army aware of the critical role the firefighters play at the base and in the community.

In an article in Sunday’s Richmond Register, local leaders and depot workers voiced their concerns that reducing manpower at the depot’s fire station, already at minimal staffing, could endanger the community because the depot houses chemical weapons in addition to detonating and disposing of conventional weapons.

The BGAD firefighters also have mutual aid agreements with the Richmond and Madison County fire departments. Madison County Fire Chief Jim Cox said his department relies on the depot firefighters for increased manpower during emergencies, especially in situations that involve hazardous materials.

BGAD Public Affairs Officer Mark Henry previously said the depot employs 19 to 20 firefighters. He confirmed Wednesday evening that the depot firefighters had been granted the exemption.

Henry also emphasized in an earlier interview that the decision on BGAD furlough exemptions was made by higher-ranking Army officials, not depot commander Col. Lee G. Hudson. He said Hudson and other depot leaders have supported the BGAD Fire Department’s push for a furlough exemption.

Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, are being required to cut their spending by 20 percent through employee furloughs because of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

The depot security staff, which numbers 153 employees, received a furlough exemption as well.

“This is another example of how we can reduce spending by prioritizing our most essential programs and advance fiscal responsibility as opposed to the indiscriminate, across-the-board sequester cuts that treat all government spending as equal,” Barr said in the news release.

Civilian employees at the depot who are not exempt will be cutting eight hours from their work weeks for the next 11 weeks.

The commander of Blue Grass Chemical Activity, a tenant at the depot responsible for the safe and secure storage of 500 tons of chemical weapons, announced Monday its emergency operations technicians were exempt from furloughs.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

CLARIFICATION (Published in the July 13 print edition): Blue Grass Army Depot Public Affairs Officer Mark Henry did return the Richmond Register's call after the story was filed and confirmed that the BGAD firefighters had been granted an exemption.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 8-1 Bees 2.jpg Bee-ing in the know

    Bee lovers were buzzing around Eastern Kentucky University this week for the Eastern Apicultural Society’s 2014 conference.
    Hobbyists, scientists and apiarists traveled from as far as Canada, France and New Zealand, as well as many states, to spend the week exploring numerous aspects of bees.

    July 31, 2014 8 Photos

  • 8-1 Tanya R. Horn.jpg Store employee charged with taking $10,000

    Tanya R. Horn, 33, of Darlene Court, pilfered $10,196 in cash from Posh Tots on Meridian Way over the course of two years, according to a Richmond Police report.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 Candids 1.jpg Madison County Fair paid admissions total 10,000 by Tuesday

    Approximately 10,000 people had purchased tickets to the Madison County Fair by Tuesday evening, Billy Tudor, fair board president said Wednesday morning.
    The count does not include Sunday’s Family Fun Day, which offered free admission, Tudor said.

    July 31, 2014 10 Photos

  • 7-31 Pageant Toddler Girl Winners.jpg Babies, toddlers crowned at Madison County Fair

      

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Airport getting $600,000 in federal funds

    On July 14, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the Madison Airport and the Eastern Kentucky University aviation program would be receiving $1.1 million for expanded and improved facilities.
    On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, announced the airport also would benefit from $600,000 in Federal Aviation Administration funds.

    July 31, 2014

  • Veggies going on the grill Saturday

    The Madison County Farmers Market will demonstrate Saturday that fresh garden vegetables can go on the grill as well as in a salad.
    The Madison County Extension Service staff, along with members of the extension homemakers clubs, will be on hand to show market customers how tasty grilled vegetables can be, said Gina Noe, extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

    July 31, 2014

  • Stumbo says McConnell ‘handpicked’ leader of coal association

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said Wednesday there’s an obvious reason the president of the Kentucky Coal Association has publicly defended Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s support of the coal industry.

    July 31, 2014

  • Berea utility doubles solar farm, again

    Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
    Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
    Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.

    July 30, 2014

  • Miss Madison Winners 2.jpg My fair ladies

      

    July 29, 2014 5 Photos

  • 10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday

    Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results