Guam – As the budget impasse continues in Washington, a number of civilian employees have been returning to their Department of Defense jobs following a directive from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel over the weekend.
Joint Region Marianas couldn’t provide the number of employees being recalled by Joint Region, the Navy and the Air Force on Guam but Deputy Public Affairs Officer Coleen San Nicolas Perez says most of the them will be returning to work, with some workers already reporting for duty today.
“Most of the furloughed Navy civilians assigned to Joint Region Marianas, Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base are currently being recalled to return to work.,” Perez announced in a statement to PNC. “The Navy’s priority has been getting our civilian workforce back as quickly as possible, and we are grateful that a majority of our civilians will resume duty.”
About 270 civilian employees of Joint Region, Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base were furloughed as we entered the new fiscal year last week without a budget being passed by Congress. At the Guam National Guard Public Affairs Officer Captain Ken Ola about 57 of the 140 furloughed personnel are being recalled.
“Some of them have already reported in today the decision was made this morning to recall them,” Ola told PNC.
According to Secretary Hagel’s weekend announcement, the Pay Our Military Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama just before the shutdown began, allows DOD to eliminate furloughs “…for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.”
In addition to those furloughed, the Guam Guard also lost the help of about 40 personnel who were on temporary active duty orders that expired on September 30th. Without continuing resolution, Captain Ola says the Guard doesn’t have provisions to activate supports. The lack of personnel has already forced the guard to cancel a weekend training event.
“Of course that impacts readiness one way or another,” Ola said. “This is the time for training for a majority of our soldiers and airmen so again it impacts the readiness and our training opportunities.”
Guard leadership coordinated a presentation for laid off and furloughed workers last Friday to provide information on services available to them from the Agency for Human Resources Development and the Guam Department Of Labor. About 50 people attended the program according to Ola.