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Spending Cuts Hard On SD National Guard



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The South Dakota National Guard says it may be forced to furlough 548 full time members if automatic federal spending cuts take effect Friday, March first. As of today Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C. do not appear to be close to an agreement.

Under the current plan, more than half of the South Dakota National Guard’s full time employees would lose one day's work for 22 weeks. When you break that down, Major Anthony Deiss says it’s about 20 percent of their salary.

“Thats a tough cut they're going to have to face, so we are doing everything we can to try to minimize that impact that that's going to have, but also minimize the impact it’s going to have on the readiness of the National Guard, said Deiss.

Deiss says leaders at the state headquarters in Rapid City are hoping congress will avoid the cuts, but if they don't they will be ready with a plan. South Dakota soldiers would lose more than 4 million dollars in wages.

According to Maj. General Tim Reisch, Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard  the proposed cutbacks involve a wide range of jobs filled by full-time personnel. They include 304 members of the Army Guard and 244 members of the Air Guard. The furlough schedules are yet to be determined, but will be internally managed so everyone is not off on the same day.

"My intent is to work with our human resources office, members of management and union representatives to develop a plan that provides equity and consistency when and if implemented," said Reisch.

Unless Congress postpones the reductions - as it did Jan. 1 - or comes up with another plan, the Pentagon will give affected personnel 30 days' notice of their furloughs. And Congress requires 45 days' notice before furloughs can occur.
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