Arkansas furloughs reach nearly 600, about 400 others working without pay

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- The number of Arkansans on furlough nears 600 as state surplus funds run out.

Monday marked the 14th day since the federal government declared A shutdown, and with each passing day more Arkansans are at home without work.

Channel 7 learned Monday afternoon that the number of furlough stands at nearly 590, but there are 400 others that remain working without pay. The combined add up to more than a thousand workers not receiving a check.

"The governor's memo that went out instructed agencies that if they did not have a certification letter from the chief fiscal officer of the state, that their programs would be discontinued come Monday," said Brandon Sharp, Arkansas' finance director.

Sharp said on a Friday that its department had been filtering through a number of documents to see how long certain programs can survive. It continued that work through the weekend and on Monday.

"Now there are thousands of grants, and so it's hard to wrap it up and say here's the drop dead deadline, but everyday it goes on it gets worse," he added.

Arkansas' Department of Health reported Monday it's experienced nearly a triple increase in furloughs from last week, with a total now at 32. It includes programs like water engineers, prescription drug monitoring and health facility services.

Sharp said the department with the largest amount of furloughs continues to be the military. Nearly 400 military workers remain at home without pay.

About the same number of people continue working at the state's disability office, although they are not being paid.

Employees that solely rely on federal funding will receive back pay, but politicians have not passed a bill to allow furloughed workers on the state level to get back pay once the shutdown is over.

"Some the programs that we are allowing to continue have federal funds for the time being, but over the next two weeks to a month, to couple of months those funds will run out," Sharp said.

One of those programs expected to be out of funding by the end of October is WIC Food and Nutrition Service. Along with no more funding for those in need of that program, about 300 employees are going to be furloughed as well.

Our government's shutdown is even reaching into the state university level where Arkansas State announced Monday it's informed 11 full-time staff members and 15 grad students that without a change they will be furloughed on Wednesday.

Additionally University of Arkansas in Fayetteville reported as many as 100 could be furloughed from its university this week.

The total number of furloughs does not include employees who are receiving reduced hours or no overtime pay.

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