National Guard will close Salina site
By JOHN MILBURN
By JOHN MILBURN
TOPEKA - Kansas National Guard leaders briefed employees
Friday about upcoming cuts in military spending that will result in
layoffs and the closing of a maintenance site in Salina.
The Department of Defense cuts will affect the
National Guard's Readiness Sustainment Maintenance sites in Kansas and
in other states. In Kansas, the cuts will be letting go 45 workers in
Salina and another 58 at Fort Riley.
"Our staff will be working closely with the
individuals affected to ensure they have access to the help they need to
seek out new employment or to seek out benefits to assist them," said
Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the state adjutant general. "This is an
extremely difficult time for our staff and for the Salina and Fort Riley
communities, where the RSMS sites have resided for a number of years."
The reductions will begin in October, with another
round scheduled to take effect Jan. 14, 2014. Tafanelli said the Kansas
National Guard is expected to see its budget cut from the current $22
million by an estimated $15 million to about $7 million in 2014.
The Salina site was opened in 2006 and is expected to close in January.
The Fort Riley site, where 137 people are employed,
opened in 1993. All of the employees are unclassified, temporary,
full-time state-of-Kansas positions with benefits which have been fully
funded by the Department of Defense. Positions include mechanics and
welders. The Fort Riley site will remain open with between 70 and 85
employees, with some Salina employees given an opportunity to transfer,
the Guard said.
The maintenance sites rebuild and refurbish military
equipment for the military that is returned to use by units all across
It is the second budget-related decision to affect
the National Guard in 2013. The automatic federal budget cuts that took
effect in March resulted in more than 48,000 National Guard technicians
being furloughed through the end of September.
The spending reductions affected 54 percent of the
full-time employees of the Kansas National Guard, including some 1,100
technician positions that were idled one day a week.