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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Shutdown could halt weekend National Guard training

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  • Kansas Army National Guardsmen may or may not have their monthly training this weekend depending on Congress' progress on settling the partial government shutdown.
    "We may have to shut down weekend training," said Sharon Watson, director of public affairs for the office of the Adjutant General.
    A decision will have to be made no later than Thursday because it takes time to prepare for drills. Equipment and food has to be put in place so if no change has happened it would be too late to get things ready for a weekend drill.
    They are seeking guidance daily from the National Guard bureau.
    "It is currently being discussed by our leadership," Watson said.
    Congress' action or lack of action would impact the 7,500 National Guardsmen in Kansas that serve at the 38 armories across the state. The Adjutant General's office could postpone or cancel weekend training.
    The partial shutdown has also impacted the Adjutant General's department hard. Across the state, one third of the Adjutant General's 2,100 employees began furloughs when Congress was unable to solve the impasse that caused a partial government shutdown. Some 700 were informed they were not to come to work.
    Most of the furloughs are not at the local armories but in Topeka, Wichita, Salina, Kansas City and Fort Riley.
    The furloughs even took out one public affairs officer in Watson's office work force of 30. Whether a person is furloughed or not depends on their status and how the funding stream comes down for their particular job, Watson said.
    Furloughs hit a variety of areas in the National Guard including administrative, human resources and maintenance.
    "It's spread throughout a wide variety of resources," Watson said.
    Those areas tied to safety for life and property, such as security, firefighters and police, will not be furloughed and continue to work.
    Full time military and a few civilian positions in the Kansas Guard were not given furloughs. Those on active duty in the guard will not be affected, Watson said.
    To assure that military on active duty will get paid, President Obama signed the "Pay Our Military Act" to keep those paychecks coming.
    Paychecks through Adjutant General's office are two weeks behind so those on furlough will get paid up to the point the furloughs start.
    It is uncertain what financial assistance will be available to those on furlough.
    "We are working with Kansas Department of Labor to determine unemployment availability," Watson said.
    Watson said she didn't know if those who were furloughed would receive retroactive pay once the impasse is settled and government employees go back to work.
    Page 2 of 2 - Further human resource information is available from the Adjutant General's Department at kansastag.gov then select "human resource" and click on "Federal HRO."
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