Ark. Nat. Guard hurt by furloughs: "The Guard is not back to business"
PULASKI COUNTY (KATV) - 733 Arkansas National Guard employees are back at work but hundreds of state employees are still furloughed as a result of the government shutdown.Those National Guard state employees provide things like transportation, maintenance and education services.And although 733 of 738 federal dual status military technicians in Arkansas are back on the job, the National Guard said it's not business is normal because it has a very limited ability to purchase fuel and supplies."I think one of the misnomers out there in the public is that the guard is back to business as normal, and that's just not the case," said Maj. Matt Snead. "We're not."Six Black Hawks in the Army Aviation Support Facility's North Hanger at Camp Robinson are all but alone Wednesday.Normally taking part in close to two dozen flights a day, because of limited fuel and supplies the helicopters are grounded, even though many of their pilots and support crews are working.Snead said the federal dual status military technicians are scheduled to be paid later this month."There's still a lot of uncertainty and as far as back pay if you were furloughed this week," Snead said. "At this point in time there is no reimbursement."However, for the 294 state employees whose pay is federally reimbursed, Snead said there is no mechanism for retroactive pay."We're hoping something is worked out in the future but we can't really speculate right now," Snead said. "We're really concerned about these folks and their families."The government shutdown also affects nearly 10,000 traditional part-time Army and Air National Guardsmen.All inactive duty training for October has been canceled and those part-time guardsmen are collectively losing $2.9 million in wages this month.