The Washington Military Department said Tuesday it had sent furlough notices "to more than 850 federally funded employees" as a result of the federal government shutdown that began at midnight. Federal employees were sent home immediately today but about 90 state employees in the agency will remain working while the clock ticks on a seven-day contractual notice.
Most workers are in the Puget Sound area. The announcement, made in a news release, appeared to be the largest impact on state services from the federal shutdown. The agency quoted Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, who is commander of the Washington National Guard, as saying:
“These employees do everything from maintaining our vehicles and aircraft – to fighting cyber attackers ... The Washington Military Department will suffer a significant reduction in resources due to a shutdown. With that said, we will do our best with what we are authorized to maintain the highest level of readiness possible.”
The agency's announcement went on to say:
In the event of a domestic emergency, Gov. Jay Inslee will still be authorized to place Washington National Guard soldiers and airmen on State Active Duty to assist in a response.
Employees impacted include 765 fulltime federal technicians – including approximately 250 in the Washington Air National Guard located at Fairchild Air Force Base – who work in everything from maintenance, information technology, purchasing and human resources. The Military Department also informed approximately 90 federally-funded state employees that they will be subject to furloughs beginning next week if Congress can’t reach a compromise.
Based on Department of Defense guidelines, more than 60 federal technicians were excepted from furloughs to ensure minimum resources are available to protect lives, property and national security.
Karina Shagren, spokeswoman for the Military Department, said it is not clear yet who would pick up the tab for the state employees who continue reporting to work and whose salaries are ordinarily reimbursed by the federal government. In the meantime, employees that suffer a "significant hardship" as a result of the furlough should call the agency's Veterans and Families Directorate at 1-877-585-5655.