Minnesota National Guard staff faces sequester furloughs
May 29, 2013 — 1:45pm
More than 1,100 Minnesota National Guard technicians will be forced to take unpaid time off work because of Department of Defense sequestration budget cuts.
Of the 2,100 full-time military personnel who support the Minnesota National Guard, roughly 1,120 technicians will be notified today that they must take one unpaid day off each week for 11 weeks, said Lt. Col. Jon Lovald, the Minnesota National Guard's director of human resources.
The furloughs, scheduled to begin July 15 and stretch through the end of September, will amount to a 20 percent pay cut during the period.
The staff supports more than 10,000 soldiers in the Minnesota Army National Guard and airmen of the Minnesota Air National Guard that serve in communities around the state.
"While the Minnesota National Guard is required by law to follow this Department of Defense furlough policy it is important that the people of Minnesota know that Citizen Soldiers and Airmen remain ready to respond in the event of a state or federal emergency," Lovald said.
The news comes on the heels of planned furloughs for 323 civilian employees with the Minnesota Air Force Reserve Airlift Wing, the state's only Air Force reserve unit.
"The furlough notices that went out to personnel from the Minnesota National Guard and the 934th Airlift Wing -- some of the best-trained professionals we have -- are due to the sequester's extreme, across-the-board budget cuts," U.S. Sen. Al Franken said in a statement.
"This is painful news to Minnesotans and their families, and it's an example of why I've pressed to replace the entire sequester --- including the defense cuts -- with a mix of new revenues and smarter, targeted cuts."
Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.
The governor said that planned cuts to the Minnesota National Guard would gut a force strategically built to help with everything from avian flu response to Red River Valley flooding to missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.