430 Wyoming National Guard members get furloughed, lose 20 percent of pay

2013-07-16T22:00:00Z 2013-08-08T22:14:14Z 430 Wyoming National Guard members get furloughed, lose 20 percent of payBy JOAN BARRON Star-Tribune capital bureau Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE -- An estimated 430 Wyoming National Guard employees are dealing with mandated furloughs due to federal budget cuts. 

The federally paid technicians, who are civilian civil service employees, are feeling the loss of 20 percent of their salaries from the one-day-per-week furloughs caused by mandated budget cuts. The furloughs, which began the first week in July, do not affect active duty National Guard personnel.

As the military orders now stand, the furloughs will total 11 days or 88 hours until September.

Some technicians are questioning why the military isn't making the cuts in other areas instead of targeting their pay, said Lt. Christian Venhuizen of the Guard's public affairs office. Many federal technicians live paycheck-to-paycheck and the cuts will be a hardship.

The original furlough order was for 21 days, reduced to 14, and finally, to 11 days. The furlough started with the pay period on July 8.

"You definitely have to adjust," said Air Guard Capt. Rusty Ridley of the public affairs office. "It definitely affects how you operate. You have to take into account that loss."

The smaller paychecks affect retirement accounts and other savings, he added.

The people affected by the cuts make up a good portion of the people who work daily at the Air and National Guard facilities in Cheyenne.

Although the furloughs will affect the daily operations, they should not affect necessary missions, Guard spokesmen say.

The technicians maintain facilities in Cheyenne and seven Guard armories located around the state.

Some Guard members may be able to make up the lost pay or most of it by military orders that entail moving temporarily to a job with military pay rather than technician pay.

"You could go on an annual training day or a series of days --'on orders' -- essentially and get paid through a different funding source,'" Ridley said Tuesday.

Ridley said he has not used that option.

Other Guard members are not eligible to use it, he added.

He said there has been talk that the furloughs could be changed.

But the Guard is currently operating on the one-day-a-week furlough schedule until further notice, he said.

Meanwhile, the Air Force this week announced a new funding agreement that will temporarily restore combat aircraft flying hours and air shows by the Thunderbirds precision flying team.

The new order does not change the cancellation of the Thunderbirds air show at Cheyenne Frontier Days this year, according to published accounts.

Contact Joan Barron at 307-632-1244 or joan.barron@trib.com.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. Jackalope
    Report Abuse
    Jackalope - July 17, 2013 6:56 pm
    How else can the sky high GOP farm bill be financed other than lifting something from ordinary Americans?
  2. supercelifragilistic
    Report Abuse
    supercelifragilistic - July 17, 2013 8:18 am
    How else can Obama and his family remain in high class flights?
    There have to be sacrifices from others to meet their vacation needs. Furloughs are Obama's answer to maintaining that lifestyle. What did the media report, $100million just to fly to Africa? The President has his brother George there.
  3. KnowSomethingJonSnow
    Report Abuse
    KnowSomethingJonSnow - July 17, 2013 1:37 am
    Hey everyone, we're trying to collect any stories you'd like to share about how the furlough is affecting you. You can send them via the following webpage:

    http://beenfurloughed.com/stories.aspx

    As we receive stories we'll post them so they'll all exist in one big list.
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