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October 24, 2013

Furloughed civilians are back on the job

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Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook)
Luigi Fritz, base commissary cashier, rings up Maj. Bradley Cogswell, 12th Air Force Air Forces Southern, at the base commissary Oct. 11. The base commissary is one of the many facilities that re-opened their doors after the civilian furlough recall Oct. 7.

More than 1,300 civilian employees returned to work here Oct. 17.

All furloughed civilian employees were recalled after Congress passed legislation that ended the more than two-week government shutdown.

An initial wave of civilian recalls happened Oct. 7 as a result of President Barack Obama signing the Pay Our Military Act into law.

The act allowed the reinstatement of civilians Air Force-wide whose duties contribute to the morale, readiness and well-being of military members.

“Positions in fields such as health care, transition assistance and safety all qualified for the recall,” said Vyna Lindsay, 355th Force Support Squadron civilian personnel officer.

Facilities that were closed, such as the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the commissary, returned to normal business hours. However, those returning could only perform duties necessary to the protection of life and property.

Now that a budget has been passed and normal operations resumed, suspended duties, such as community relations and some financial payouts, are now able to be performed.

“Civilian employees perform work that is critical to the long-term strength of our armed forces, and our nation,” Lindsay said. “Furloughed employees returning to work allow military members to resume their primary responsibilities, thereby ensuring the readiness of our total force.”

Contractors, such as the 355th FSS DEERS Pass and I.D. staff, also returned to work.

“Team D-M is blessed to have all of our valued civilian employees back at work after a very trying period due to the budget challenges in Washington D.C.,” said Col. Kevin Blanchard, 355th Fighter Wing commander. “Our civilians are critical to mission accomplishment, and having them back at work gets all of Team D-M back to full scale operations producing combat aviation for our nation.”




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