ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Now that we know civilian defense workers only have one more furlough day left this year instead of six, we're hearing from the Florida National Guard in St. Augustine on how this not only improves their operations, it can affect your safety.
“With the furlough, we were losing a massive amount of man hours to repair equipment,” says Lt. Col. James Evans, a technician in the National Guard.
Evans says there are plenty of vehicles being returned from the overseas wars that need to be refurbished and put back into the inventory.
Some of the 6,000 vehicles include helicopters and high-water vehicles, both of which can be used to rescue people during a natural disaster.
He says the reduction in furlough days “enhances” their ability to get the equipment back into inventory to be used during the peak of hurricane season.
As for furloughs in the nest fiscal year which begins in October, Evans says they’ve learned “to expect the gridlock” in D.C.
“We expect that this is probably going to be a contentious budget and that it’s gonna be well into the next fiscal year before it all gets sorted out,” he says.
He hopes that if the sequester continues that technicians like himself will be spared from furlough days, unlike active-duty personnel.
“We too are uniformed military employees,” he says.
As for how the furloughs this year have personally affected him:
“I lost twenty percent of my take-home pay during the furlough period….the havoc that was caused by not being able to plan long-term for my budget was like the greatest disruption in my life.”