The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 3, 2013

Many Vance employees unaffected by federal shutdown — ‘for now’

By Jeff Mullin, Senior Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The nearly 900 contract employees at Vance Air Force Base will continue to work for the foreseeable future, despite the government shutdown that began Tuesday.

“They are all at work,” said Staff Sgt. James Bolinger of the Vance Public Affairs office. “They are not affected by the shutdown, for now.”

The prime contractor on base is PAE, a Virginia-based company. PAE took over the contract when it purchased Computer Science Corporation’s Applied Technologies Division in May. The sale was completed in July.

Last month, the Pentagon issued a contract modification to PAE worth $71.1 million to provide base operating support, and aircraft maintenance at Vance until Sept. 30, 2014.

No more furloughs have been enacted at Vance, Bolinger said. Of the 246 government civilians employed at Vance, 100 considered non-essential have been furloughed. They were eligible to work four hours on Tuesday, then were sent home until the shutdown is resolved.

Those government civilians remaining on the job will be paid at the conclusion of the shutdown, once a new budget or continuing funding resolution is passed by Congress.

As far as furloughed employees are concerned, at the conclusion of the shutdown, it will be up to Congress to decide whether they will receive back pay.

The flying training mission is continuing at Vance, and, in fact, the latest crop of new pilots, in Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 13-15, will receive their wings in a ceremony this morning in the base auditorium.

The first monthly public tour of Vance, scheduled for Tuesday, will be held despite the shutdown, said Bolinger. The next scheduled tour is Nov. 12. Tours are open to anyone 18 and over. RSVP by Nov. 5 by calling 213-7136 or 213-7478.

All military personnel will be paid throughout the shutdown, thanks to the Pay Our Military Act passed by Congress Sunday.

Military men and women are being impacted by the shutdown, however. All domestic commissaries closed Wednesday as a result of the shutdown. Military personnel and retirees shopping at commissaries save an average of 30 percent on their grocery bill when compared to civilian grocery stores, according to the Defense Commissary Agency.

In addition, college tuition assistance for military personnel has been suspended until further notice.