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Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 10:08pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — On Monday, 1700 civilian workers returned to work at Fort Bliss.
Nancy Thomas Mainor, with Army Community Services, is one of them. In her office, 42 employees were sent home without pay for three days.
"Being furloughed was a challenge for me because I knew I had staff still back here and I wanted to be here with them as well. So it was very challenging for me not to have to come to work," said Mainor. These are not just my employees, these are people that I work with. These are coworkers. These are friends."
It was the same situation with Jean Offutt, who works in public affairs.
"We are catching up on work that probably did not get done while we were off, but we're all delighted to be back at work," said Offutt.
Over the weekend, the Pentagon decided the Pay the Military Now Act", signed by the President, exempts most civilian workers from the furlough because their responsibilities contribute to the morale, well being, and readiness of soldiers.
Mainor's staff helps soldiers and their families adapt to El Paso and life away from home, with educational and financial services. She says she and her staff were anxious to get back to normal at the office.
"We just had a really good ten to fifteen minutes of time, greeting each other and welcoming each other back and then we got to work," said Mainor.
According to Fort Bliss, it is unclear when these workers will get paid. It could be next week, or later, when the government reaches an agreement.
"That took a lot of comforting and reassuring that you know tough times, but we are gonna be able to get through the tough times," said Mainor.