Hundreds of Ark. employees idled due to shutdown

    7:18 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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    Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock
     PDF Document: Furloughed Agency Report 10 14 13

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP/KTHV) - Arkansas finance officials say state employees are on furlough because of the federal government shutdown, but believe that number could change as they double check figures with individual agencies.

    Richard Weiss, director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, on Monday said that 590 state employees whose positions are paid for with federal funds were idled because of the shutdown that began Oct. 1. State agencies were warned last week that the number of furloughs would rise since Arkansas no longer had the resources to cover for the federal programs affected.

    Weiss says the number of idled workers could change as his department checks figures provided by agencies and as agencies review whether they can use leftover grant money to pay employees.

    Camp Robinson looks more like a ghost town than a National Guard base all because of the government shutdown.

    "Due to the furlough, drill weekends have ceased. Fire and police training also ceased due to the furlough," said Brady Whisenhunt.

    Whisenhunt works at Camp Robinson's Public Safety Department as part officer, part fireman. Over the weekend, the shutdown cut the department from 13 to 3. Now Whisenhunt hopes for a turnaround in Washington

    "I do have a family. It's one income; I'm the sole income. I'm the breadwinner of the family, so it's greatly impacting our household right now," said Whisenhunt.

    Whisenhunt said the bills don't stop because of the government shutdown and the safety of the Camp Robinson would pretty much come down to outside assistance.

    Governor Beebe told THV 11 out of the hundreds of furloughs, many federally funded state employees continue to work without pay.

    "That's actually the Social Security and Disability because those workers are working free. They believe that they ultimately will be paid by the federal government, so they continue to work, which is commendable for those people. It's not right. They shouldn't be in that structure," said Governor Beebe.

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    (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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