Furloughs send half of Idaho National Guard home from work
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Idaho National Guard is taking a major hit from the government shutdown. Even though active duty military members are still at work, 850 of the Guard's civilian workers are out until further notice. That's half of the state's entire National Guard.
"This is the third or fourth year that we've come close to one of these government shutdowns," said Captain Chris Borders, a furloughed serviceman, "Each year it seemed like it came a little bit closer, so I think to a certain extent we were prepared for this. I don't think it was a shock for really anybody, but nobody's real crazy about it because it is uncertainty."
Civilian workers like Borders take care of maintenance, technical and organizational support and many other duties on base. While they're gone, Colonel Tim Marsano says active duty members will have to take on extra hours and workload.
"The civilian personnel who are being furloughed today work hand in hand and side by side and wear the same uniforms that the active guard personnel wear," Marsano said, "These active guard personnel that are not being furloughed are going to have to pick up the slack in any way that they can."
Marsano says there will also be a lot of catching up to do when everyone who's been furloughed returns. So servicemen like Borders are trying to stay optimistic that they won't be out of work long.
"I hope this blows over soon," Borders said, "It's an impact on everybody, but hopefully things work out and that we're all back to work within a week or so."
Marsano says if there's a serious emergency like a wild land fire or bad flooding, the state will provide funding for National Guard members to come back to work and take care of it, even if the furloughs are still in effect.
For more information and updates on when furloughed workers may be able to return to their jobs, the National Guard has provided us with this link.