Air base furloughs of 400 end today

Staff and wire report


Approximately 400 employees at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna should return to work beginning with the first shift today, Maj. Brent Davis, public affairs officer for the air base, announced Sunday.

The workers had been furloughed since the shutdown of the federal government began last Tuesday.

The Pentagon will recall almost all of its 350,000 furloughed civilian workers in the coming days, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced over the weekend, in a move that could substantially ease the impact of the government shutdown on the federal workforce.

The recalls will reduce by about 50 percent the 800,000 federal workers who had been furloughed initially.

Hagel’s decision is based on a liberal interpretation of a bill passed by Congress last week and signed by President Obama that ensures uniformed members of the military will not have their paychecks delayed by the shutdown. The law, titled the Pay Our Military Act, includes broad language exempting Defense Department civilians from furlough if they provide direct support to the military.

Robert F. Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, estimated that more than 90 percent of about 350,000 furloughed Defense Department employees would return to work, many of them as soon as Monday. “We hope to move very quickly,” Hale told reporters.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, teamed up with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in sending a letter to Hagel expressing their concerns over the impact of the government shutdown on the civilian workforce at the Department of Defense and urging him to implement the authority given to him in the Pay Our Military Act to provide pay and allowances to Guardsmen, reservists and civilian personnel who are providing support to active duty troops.

“I am pleased Secretary Hagel is using the authority Congress has given him to get Department of Defense civilians back to work,” ù Portman said.

“From logistics, finance and accounting services to managing the acquisition and maintenance of much-needed capabilities for today and the future, our service members greatly depend upon these men and women to do their jobs and keep us safe.”

In Ohio, 8,700 civilian employees have been furloughed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio and 5,000 civilian employees at Defense Supply Center in Columbus were furloughed due to the shutdown.

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