Guard leader in Charleston, WV struggles with impact of shutdown - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Guard leader in Charleston, WV struggles with local impact of government shutdown

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Major General James Hoyer, state adjutant general, at news conference Tuesday. Major General James Hoyer, state adjutant general, at news conference Tuesday.
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Midnight came and went without a deal in Congress.

So Tuesday parts of the federal government shut down.     

About 800,000 federal workers are being forced off the job because Congress failed to agree on a temporary spending bill before Monday night's midnight deadline.

The move is having an impact in West Virginia as well. Hundreds of West Virginia National Guard members learned they wouldn't be working Tuesday.

"Nobody I'm sure ever envisioned that they wouldn't get paid," said Major General James Hoyer, state adjutant general, during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. He said it is a frustrating time in the West Virginia National Guard as people who joined with the hopes of helping others are forced to face a financial set back.

"I mean we've got folks that aren't going to get paid. They are going home. And some of them have just come back from war," Hoyer said, while pounding the conference room table.

Hoyer said 1,150 West Virginia National Guard personnel from across West Virginia were sent home Tuesday.

"Some of those are mechanics. They are not working on our equipment. So if we have a state disaster response we may not initially have the number of vehicles we need because they haven't been maintained properly," Hoyer explained. "I am not going to send men and women out in unsafe equipment."

He said the impact of shut down won't just be felt when it comes to the jobs that aren't getting done. It will especially hurt the men and women who were expecting a paycheck. It is a situation he is taking to heart.

"It is eating me up. I'm not sleeping.I can't do anything other than explain what is going on. That is all I can do to protect these people like I should be able to protect them," Hoyer said.

For now the guard's fire station at Yeager Airport will continue to be staffed. Hoyer said if the shutdown stretches out for a long period of time it could eventually impact commercial air traffic at Yeager. There will be a special Kanawha County Commission meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the County Commission Courtroom. The commission plans to have an emergency discussion regarding allocating funding to Yeager Airport in order to provide fire department personnel for the airport, if needed.

So far there is no word on how long the employees will be staying home.