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FURLOUGHS START: Iowa National Guard Feeling Cuts

Monday marked the first of many furlough days to come for more than 600,000 Department of Defense workers.

The National Guard is also feeling the pinch.  1,100 employees started their furloughs Monday as well.

Capt. Brandon Cochran says talk of furloughs started months ago, but it flip-flopped between how many days and when it would start.

“It`s the unknown I think has been the biggest headache for a lot of us,” says Capt. Brandon Cochran.

As a husband and a father to a rambunctious two-year old, Capt. Cochran says he wishes the furloughs would have been spread out the entire year instead of squeezing it in at the end.

“We have three months to take 11 days that`s roughly 20 percent of that pay period if you had 52 weeks to take 11 days it`s a little less of a heartache and hardship on your pocketbook,” says Capt. Cochran.

Col. Greg Hapgood with The National Guard says the National Guard receives 370 million dollars of federal funding-that will be cut by 10 percent.

He says every employee affected will take one day off for the next 11 weeks, which leaves the workforce a little stretched until the fiscal year is over.

“Essentially what it means is the person is not there to do their job, they can’t do anything via email, they can’t answer their cell phone, they have to be no contact with the workplace, and they can’t do anything on behalf of the government during that furloughed day,” says Col. Hapgood.

The Iowa National Guard is also doing its part to cut costs.

For about six months, maintenance, renovations and electric have been slashed to save money.

For families it’s a little different.

A twenty-percent pay cut for the Cochran’s means the family will start cutting costs where they can even if it means rescheduling a family vacation.

“Less eating out, less big expenditures, we were actually supposed to go on vacation to Boston when the furlough hit instead of Boston we had to look at locations like the Omaha Zoo,” says Capt. Cochran.

Regardless of the furlough’s the Iowa National Guard will continue to be mission ready.

Col. Hapgood says if the Iowa National Guard is called to respond to a state disaster, all employees will be back to work.

That’s because an emergency disaster is funded out of a different area.

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