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.