Furloughs start Aug. 2 for National Guard employees

2013-07-22T05:00:00Z Furloughs start Aug. 2 for National Guard employeesJackson Bolstad Journal staff Rapid City Journal
July 22, 2013 5:00 am  • 

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.

Contact Jackson Bolstad at 394-8419 or jackson.bolstad@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. Native Thoughts101
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    Native Thoughts101 - July 22, 2013 4:51 pm
    Also where was the national guard when south dakota was out of electricity for about a week...i did not see no help there...Oh yeah I forgot It's because most of the outage was on our native american reservation...My Bad! LMAO!!!!
  2. Dogwoman
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    Dogwoman - July 22, 2013 1:52 pm
    We should be promoting jobs and spending right now. This is insanity in these economic conditions.
  3. Elizabeth
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    Elizabeth - July 22, 2013 9:57 am
    I think it equates to a 20% cut of their income during the time they are sequestered. Take any job anywhere and reduce their hours by 8 to 10 hours a week times four weeks, and it is around 20%. For instance, if you earn $10.00 an hour X 40 hours X 4 weeks, it would be around $1,600 a month. Reduce their hours by one day each week ... and that would mean $10.00 an hour X 32 hours X 4 weeks or $1,280 a month. That DOES amount to a 20% decrease in the pay they receive.
  4. Elizabeth
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    Elizabeth - July 22, 2013 9:52 am
    To Native Thoughts101 . . . why do you think that these people do NOT have a real job? I have a relative who works on the BlackHawk helicopters in the unit here in Rapid City. He works hard for his money. He puts in 40 hours a week just like anyone else who has a "real" job. When we have a very large forest fire here in western SD (and we do have them every year), this unit is called on to help put out the fire . . . and sometimes they work more than 40 hours a week in doing this. When there is some other emergency here in SD, and elsewhere, they are put into action to assist. They have served oversees in several deployments . . . fighting for the freedom you enjoy from day to day. I have a "real" job, and I do NOT have to work has hard as these people work. You DO understand, don't you . . . that they are not just the Guardsmembers who just work a weekend a month and a week or two during the year? You DO understand that they work full time every week,every month?
  5. ttpilot
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    ttpilot - July 22, 2013 9:33 am
    Cut spending, raise taxes, or both. No matter what, people will be unhappy. And this hardly makes a dent in the budget deficit
  6. Jason
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    Jason - July 22, 2013 9:31 am
    It comes out to 1 day a week. They are working 1/5 less time, or 20%. This is the same that the civilian employees out at EAFB are doing right now.
  7. Native Thoughts101
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    Native Thoughts101 - July 22, 2013 8:24 am
    Well it looks like these people in the National Guard will have to get a real job...
  8. Elviss
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    Elviss - July 22, 2013 7:00 am
    I suppose I'm missing something, but how does 11 unpaid days off in August , equate to 20% of their income? I realize its hard to make it on less money, because the cost of living never goes lower.
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