Volunteers sift through the remains of homes damaged by a tornado in Moore, Okla, Sunday. Civilian employees at Tinker Air Force Base whose homes were destroyed or left uninhabitable by the May 20 and 31 tornadoes will be excepted from Defense Department furloughs, the Air Force said. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
The Air Force said June 3 it will cancel furloughs for its civilian employees who were affected by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.
Civilian employees at Tinker Air Force Base whose homes were destroyed or left uninhabitable by the May 20 and 31 tornadoes will be excepted from Defense Department furloughs, the Air Force said. DoD will furlough some 680,000 employees — most of its civilian workforce — beginning July 8 to help it absorb steep budget cuts known as the sequester.
“This is the right thing to do,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said. “Despite some facing devastating personal circumstances, our Oklahoma-based civilian employees have shown their resilience time and time again. The least we can do is remove this additional burden.”
The Air Force is still trying to figure out how many Air Force civilians at Tinker were affected by the tornadoes and will be exempted. Tinker public affairs director Ralph Monson said that a total of 350 military service members and civilian employees from all branches lost their homes or were displaced due to damage.
The Air Force said it decided to use Alternate Safe Haven Authorities, which prohibit employees from being furloughed, to exempt tornado victims. Employees will be exempt from furloughs as long as they qualify for relief under those authorities.