A nearly $1.1 trillion federal budget cut — known as sequestration — will force 209 National Guard employees in the Black Hills to go on furlough starting in August.
The furlough will require certain National Guard employees to take 11 unpaid days off from Aug. 2 to Sept. 30. Employees impacted are those with dual military technician status.
“They work in our maintenance facilities," said Terry Ommen, a spokesman for the South Dakota National Guard. "They’re also budget analysts. They hold key staff positions. They could be an administrator.”
Ommen said employees impacted by the furlough would lose nearly $4,200 in earnings, or 20 percent of their annual paycheck.
The furlough is a part of government sequestration that was invoked to reduce the federal budget deficit, Ommen said. The federal government plans to cut the budget by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years.
The 370 soldiers and airmen in the South Dakota National Guard force will not be impacted by the furlough, Ommen said. Traditional Guard service members who drill one weekend a month and two weeks a year also won’t be affected, he said.
In total, 540 full-time employees out of 958 in the South Dakota National Guard will be affected by the furloughs, according to the National Guard.
In a news release, Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG, said those 540 employees play an important role, organizing and training soldiers and airmen and maintaining equipment across the state.
“I am very concerned about the impact to our troops and to the readiness of our units,” Reisch said. “This amounts to a 20 percent cut in pay for much of our full-time force, which has and will continue to ensure the Guard is ready to respond to the needs of our state and nation.”
Ommen said that in the event of an emergency, the Guard is able to call employees back to work. He said the Guard would do everything it can during the furlough to make sure everything runs smoothly.
“We’ll work with the supervisors and employees so we can try and maintain a level of readiness,” Ommen said.
Most employees will take their furlough days on Fridays during the furlough, Ommen said.
“It will allow employees to pick up a part-time job and work Friday, Saturday, Sunday and maybe even a Monday,” Omen said.