National Guard facility in Kansas to close
The Salina (Kansas) Journal
Cuts in funding at the Department of Defense will result in the elimination of the Readiness Sustainment Maintenance Site facility in Salina and a loss of jobs at Fort Riley and Salina.
Sharon Watson, director of public affairs for the Kansas Adjutant General's office, said between 97 and 112 of the 182 jobs at the RSMS sites at Fort Riley and Salina will be eliminated.
There currently are 45 employees at the maintenance site in Salina. Watson wouldn't say how many of those jobs would be eliminated, but said some will be moved to Fort Riley.
"It is certainly a disappointing situation for us, the city of Salina and Fort Riley," Watson said. "This is something we didn't want to see, but with the federal budget discussions, thought it could happen. We didn't know what part of the adjutant general's department would be affected."
Watson said the RSMS budget is being cut from $22 million to between $5.7 million and $7 million in 2014.
"We will know the exact amount of the cuts by the end of the fiscal year," Watson said. "The exact numbers may vary, as well as the positions affected. We have an approximate amount. It will change in how (the RSMS) remain operational."
Employees will learn about the cuts today during simultaneous meetings in Salina and at Fort Riley.
"We were notified recently of the cuts and made (known to) employees there could be cuts," Watson said. "We will be working with employees to get them support from other state agencies and help them with benefits. The Department of Labor and Commerce will be available."
The RSMS in Salina opened in 2005. It operates out of a 65,000-square-foot building at the Salina Airport Authority. Employees repair vehicles for the Department of Defense.
Watson said there are five RSMS sites across the country, and all are being affected. The sites are in Kansas, Texas, Maine, Oregon and Mississippi.
Watson said most of the employees are mechanics, welders and support personnel. She said the employees work for the state but funding for the sites comes from the federal Department of Defense.
"With the reduction in staffing, fewer (pieces of) military equipment are being refurbished and rebuilt in Kansas and other parts of the country," Watson said. "How the Department of Defense will handle that, we don't have the answer to that question. They are the ones who made the decision to cut the budget. They would determine that at the national level."