South Dakota National Guard could get hit hard by federal spending cuts
South Dakota's National Guard says sequestration of the federal budget could force them to furlough more than half of its personnel.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that 800,000 civilian employees might be furloughed in the event of sequestration – the government's term for $1.2 trillion in federal spending reductions over 10 years that was ordered by Congress in 2011.
To comply with the budget cuts, National Guard leaders nationwide are making plans to implement potential unpaid furloughs for their civilian personnel if sequestration is triggered.
The South Dakota National Guard issued a news release Friday stating the sequestration would force it to furlough 548 full-time personnel. However, Maj. General Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota National Guard, said making plans to implement potential unpaid furloughs is just precautionary.
"While every attempt will be made to minimize the impact of sequestration on the workforce, the sad reality is that we may be forced to place all federal technicians on a 22 day (176 hour) administrative furlough if sequestration cannot be avoided," said Reisch.
The proposed cutbacks for the Guard involve a wide range of jobs filled by full-time personnel who are classified as military technicians. They include 304 members of the Army Guard and 244 members of the Air Guard.
Those positions would lose one day's work- and pay- each week for 22 weeks starting in late April, and the sequestration would give up more than $4.2 million wages.
"My intent is to work with our human resources office, members of management and union representatives to develop a plan that provides equity and consistency when and if implemented," said Reisch.
Unless Congress postpones the reductions – as it did Jan. 1 – or comes up with another plan, the Pentagon will give affected personnel 30 days' notice of their furloughs. Congress requires 45 days' notice before furloughs can occur.
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