Civilian Employees Return to Minot Air Force Base - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Civilian Employees Return to Minot Air Force Base

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With the government shut down in effect, nearly all units and agencies at Minot Air Force Base have been impacted. About 350 military civilians on base were furloughed last week.  But, over the weekend, the Department of Defense authorized the selective return of civilians. 

It may look like a typical day at Minot Air Force Base with cars coming and going on and off base. But for some civilians, it was their first day back at work in four days.

"I felt a bit behind when I came into the office today," says Chief of Social Media Kiley Swopes.  "So much had changed. A lot of the desks had been moved around. A lot of things have been cleared off just in the four days that I had been gone. So, I'm trying to get back in the swing of things and get caught up on everything."

On Friday, September 27th, Swopes received notification about the impact of a possible government shut down.

"[The email] told us we would report in to work that day, the Tuesday of the shutdown, just to hand over our responsibilities and to pass on our work load.  But, from there we would have to go home and wait to be called in."

And, on October 1st, Swopes' worst nightmare became reality when she was among the 350 civilians furloughed on base.

"I was a bit concerned.  I knew I could hand off my work load to my co-workers and everything would be taken care of, but I didn't know if I was going to be able to financially be able to afford everything on my own and I didn't know how long I was going to be off work for," says Swopes.

But, on October 5th, the United States Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a statement announcing many DOD civilians would be placed on emergency furlough.

Minot Air Force Base was identified as one of the bases with employees, like Swopes, with responsibilities contributing to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.

After the decision was made, Swopes was notified by her commander to return back to work effective October 7th.

"When it hit the news, I know that I was going to be able to come back.  But, I'm still kind of unsure as to whether or not when my pay will hit or if I am still going to be able to get paid on time or not," says Swopes.

Right now, Swopes is happy to be back at work, at least for the time being.  But, she could be furloughed again at any time.

Eight hundred thousand military civilians nation-wide returned to work today.

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