A face to the furloughs: Sequestration affecting Lowcountry work

By Stacy

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Joe Flowers always thought sequestration was a threat.

"I'm surprised it actually got to this point," he said.

Flowers works in finance at SPAWAR under the U.S. Navy. He faces 11 weeks of furloughed Fridays and he's losing about 20 percent of his paycheck each week.

Flowers said he was lucky he could absorb the loss; his wife also works full time and he has retirement pay from active duty in the military. But, he knew the pay cut still hit his colleagues.

"There are other people who may not have a spouse that can work because they have the kids to take care of, they aren't able to work outside the home," he said.

He said productivity also took a hit.

"There is work that's not being done because we've been strictly told not to take laptop home on a Friday or anything like that," Flowers said.

But he said there was also a positive side to the furloughs; he gets to spend more time at home with his boys.

"My sons are going to be seniors this year so it's given me more time over the summer to do stuff with them," he said.

He said 11 weeks of furloughs would be generally tolerable, especially in the summer. But, if the furloughs were to continue in to next year that could cause chaos, and even possible job cuts.

Sen. Tim Scott said that wouldn't happen. If the government has to keep cutting back, others would take the hit, he said.

"Hopefully good news is coming. It's on the horizon. We're going to have to make some difficult decisions," Scott said.

Scott said he was ready to make those decisions.