Nearly half of Iowa National Guard furloughed in govt. shutdown
Written by Ally Crutcher, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DES MOINES (KWWL) -
Roughly 50 percent of Iowa National Guard employees are without incomes due to the government shutdown.
The Guard has 2,200 employees total, and a little over 1,000 full-time employees have been furloughed.
The program for which an employee works dictates whether or not he or she is still getting paid during the shutdown. Col. Hapgood with the Iowa National Guard said the former phrases "essential" and "non-essential" are no longer used when referring to military employees. THe said the government now uses the terms excepted versus non-excepted employees. Non-excepted employees are furloughed, meaning their programs do not fall under an exception by the federal government.
According to Col. Hapgood, there are four categories within the Iowa National Guard:
AGR (Active Guard/Reserve)
All of the employees that have been furloughed come from the technical program. This aspect is the largest of the Guard - leaving only about half of the entire work force with jobs.
"Our people are just like anyone else. They have families, they have mortgages, they have car payments, they have bills just like anyone else. This is a very difficult situation," Col. Hapgood said.
He also said when looking at federal entities across the state, the Iowa National Guard is one that has had to furlough the highest number of employees.
All training exercises for the first weekend in October have been canceled. The Guard has suspended all current and future travel, as it cannot incur any expenses during the shutdown.
Col. Hapgood is confident, though, that it could handle a state emergency if one were to occur. Nevertheless, until the government reopens - much of the Iowa National Guard is at a standstill.
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