NM to pay National Guard employees

Posted at: 10/14/2013 5:46 PM
Updated at: 10/15/2013 2:35 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s New Mexico state government to the rescue, with the federal government shutdown threatening to snarl up and hogtie the New Mexico National Guard.

55 civilian Guard employees would be on furlough right now at the National Guard Armory on Wyoming Blvd. in Albuquerque, but the state is putting $53,500 on the line to keep them on the job. Why? The soldiers need those civilians.

“These are the folks that take care of our facilities,” said Adjutant Gen. Andrew Salas. “They are the support personnel that make it possible for our technicians and our active duty personnel to conduct the mission. They are a critical part of the team.”

“It’s extremely important that the National Guard and the support of the National Guard in the state of New Mexico be ready and prepared for any emergency that may take place,” said Gov. Susana Martinez, who ordered the payment.

Arizona’s governor is pumping in state money to keep the Grand Canyon national Park open during the shutdown, but Martinez said there are no plans to do that in New Mexico for Carlsbad Caverns, or other parks and monuments.

“National parks are certainly important, but we think the safety of our people and our state is number one,” Martinez said. “That’s why we’re putting our resources first with the national Guard.”

The governor says her action is good for one week’s worth of pay, and she plans to size up the situation for next week by this Friday. Maybe by then the federal shutdown will be over – but nobody’s counting on that!