Scott AFB says it could restore operations quickly

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by Diana Zoga / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 4 at 12:18 PM

(KMOV) -- Once an agreement to end the shutdown and fund the government is reached and Scott Air Force Base learns its appropriation, the base can move fast to restore operations that were put on hold during the partial government shutdown, said a base official on Wednesday afternoon.

“Depending on what our particular slice of the appropriation is, we’ll lay that against our budget plan that we already have in place and make sure we have the numbers all lined up correctly.  After that, it will have to happen really quickly.  Within 24 hours, we can get things rolling back again exactly like we always were without missing a beat,” said Major Mathew Waggoner, Commander of the 375th Comptroller Squadron.

While staffing levels were nearly normal during much of the shutdown, SAFB said it was still affected by a lack of a budget and focused on “mission essential” items.  Travel and training, for example, were eliminated during the shutdown.

“What people probably don’t realize is Scott Air Force Base is more like a little city than just flying the airplanes.  We still have roads, infrastructure, payroll; utilities just like any other city would have to operate.  With lack of appropriations, that forces us to pick and choose and ramp down and assume a little risk in certain areas just to try and hold things off until the appropriations are finally approved,” said Major Waggoner.

Approximately 13,000 people are employed at Scott Air Force Base.  Five thousand of them are civilian workers and around 3,500 were furloughed between October 1 and 5 until the Department of Defense called most of them back.

Still, the workers who were called back received lighter paychecks last Friday - reflecting the furlough days.

The U.S. House approved a measure to provide back pay to those workers on October 5th.  On Wednesday, U.S. Senate’s bill to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling included a measure that also authorizes back pay for federal furloughed employees. 

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