By RON PRESTON
TOPEKA – Kansas National Guard furloughs will bypass Abilene and Dickinson County.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday (May14) his decision to proceed with federal furloughs to manage the budgetary shortfalls facing the military and the nation.
According to Sharon Watson, director of public affairs, of the Kansas Adjutant General’s office this furlough will not affect anyone at the National Guard Armory in Abilene or in Dickinson County.
“The Department of Defense has directed that we institute furloughs of up to 11 days for some of our federally-funded work force,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafaneli, adjutant general. “These cuts will affect the readiness of our overall force and will cause difficulty and hardship for our Kansas National Guardsmen and federal civilians.”
The furlough will affect approximately 1,100 Kansas National Guard full-time employees or 54 percent of the total full-time work force, resulting in a 20 percent pay cut starting no sooner than July 8. The majority of the individuals affected are federal technicians and a small number are federal civilians. Active Duty Guard and Reserve positions will not be affected.
Watson told the Reflector-Chronicle that most of the people affected would come from the Salina, Topkea and Wichita areas. She stated that the guardsmen in Abilene are classified as active duty guardsmen and therefore are not affected by this action.
“The individuals affected provide administration, operational and logistical support to the Kansas National Guard and Adjutant General’s Department,” Tafaneli noted. “We cannot cut those kinds of resources without having a significant impact on our services and capabilities.”
The furloughs are scheduled to continue through Sept. 30 unless Department of Defense officials further reduce the number of weeks.
“We will do whatever we can to assist our Guardsmen and staff during this timed including connecting them with appropriate resources, conducting town hall meetings to answer questions, and keeping them informed throughout the entire process,” Tafanelli said.