(Belleville News-Democrat) Public safety could "suffer a setback" if the U.S. Justice Department follows through on plans to force its employees -- including thousands of FBI special agents, deputy U.S. marshals and assistant U.S. attorneys -- to take up to 16 unpaid furlough days in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, according to Steve Wigginton, the U.S. attorney for Southern Illinois.
Reserve funds and the repurposing of some federal dollars enabled the Justice Department to avert furloughs when the budget sequester for the last seven months of 2013 took effect on March 1.
But the Justice Department reserves have since been spent down. That means almost everyone in Wigginton's office will be forced to take more than three weeks of unpaid furloughs when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, said Wigginton, the only person in his office who won't be forced to take unpaid leave.
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