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Cuts imperil Ohio Guard civilian staff

– Mandated budget cuts at the Pentagon may soon affect the Ohio National Guard civilian ranks.

About 1,800 civilian employees of the Ohio Guard may be required to take 11 unpaid days off under the Department of Defense budget-cutting plan.

The furloughs would run July 8 through Sept. 30, the end of the federal budget year.

The Ohio Guard’s vice chief of the joint staff, Mark Wayda, told the Columbus Dispatch in a story published Saturday that it will be a priority to make sure core missions are accomplished amid any furloughs.

The furloughs would affect mainly administrative employees and maintenance workers who service ground and air fleets. The furloughs do not apply to the military duties of soldiers and airmen.

Wayda said the lost days will amount to about one per week for each employee and will be staggered so crucial functions are not compromised.

He said there are concerns about how the cuts could affect the morale and welfare of employees. He said the Ohio Guard’s family-readiness program has started work to address possible needs.

The furlough notices are expected to begin going out cross-country May 28, and workers will have several days to respond or seek appeals.

The unpaid days off would begin no sooner than July 8, according to a Pentagon memo. Officials said the furloughs will save the Defense Department about $1.8 billion.