State and local officials say Letterkenny jobs are safe

August 02, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER |

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Reports that government funding cuts could lead to massive layoffs at Letterkenny Army Depot are premature, said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp.

“We really did not need to create a public fervor over this,” Ross said. “It makes a lot of people uneasy.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., last week announced concerns about a defense bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would cut more than $2 billion from various depot accounts.

Casey said in the news release that the bill would “effectively zero out funding for maintenance and repair activities performed by Tobyhanna and Letterkenny depots.”

While it was factual, Ross said Casey’s release was premature.

“I don’t want to use the word panic, but it essentially starts to move in that direction. Because now you have all the employees at the installation concerned about their future,” Ross said.


Letterkenny Army Depot is the largest employer in Franklin County with about 4,000 employees, and Ross said cuts would be devastating.

But everyone is absolutely confident that the situation is going to be corrected this fall when they go to conference committee, he said.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who voted for the measure, said the congressman is confident the issue will be resolved.

“Ultimately, we believe this legislation as it currently stands will cripple the ability of depots and arsenals to support our soldiers during a time of war,” Shuster said while reading a letter in the floor speech, according to the Congressional Record.

Letterkenny’s Public Affairs Office released a statement to The Herald-Mail, saying, “this is a cyclical, normal, mark-up process of pending legislation.

“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any pending legislation, the outcome of which we cannot predict.”

Emails also were sent to all depot employees, but Letterkenny officials declined to share those emails with The Herald-Mail.

The news comes on the heels of a change of command at the depot.

Col. Cheri Provancha will leave her post as depot commander on Aug. 10 after serving in the role for three years.

Col. Victor Hagan will take command of the depot.

“We do not expect to miss a beat,” Ross said. “While she will be missed, it will not affect the operations of the depot.”

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