Government shutdown grounds Youngstown Air Reserve Station

The commander of the air station in Vienna said "stability is critical to readiness" and temporary deals don't provide that

Lawmakers discuss funding to support the future of the Air Reserve Station in Vienna.


VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The three-day government shutdown was shortlived, but still had an impact in the Valley. Hundreds of workers at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna had a day off without pay on Monday.

The partial shutdown went into effect on Saturday after Democrats and Republicans failed to come to an agreement. Congress is taking a vote on a temporary deal to reopen the government, which is expected to pass.

The 910th Airlift Wing (AW) and Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS) announced Monday that they were in a non-operating status until further notice. Installation employees were asked to report for duty Monday morning in order to sign their furlough notice, then they went home.

YARS is the fourth-largest employer in the Mahoning Valley with nearly 2,000 employees, according to the Airlift’s Office of Public Affairs.

The base said it would be unable to provide some services to Department of Defense ID cardholders, including ID card issuance services, during the shutdown.

Senator Sherrod Brown said the shutdown put the country in danger.

“This limping along month by month by month — you can’t run the military that way, you can’t run a government that way.”

The commander of the air station agreed with the senator, saying, more than anything, Congress needed to hammer out a full budget.

“Stability is critical to readiness,” Col. Dan Sarachene said in a statement. “Continuing Resolutions do not provide the stability we need. The Air Force needs an enacted appropriation for the entirety of Fiscal Year 2018 as soon as possible.”

Congressman Tim Ryan was also frustrated by the shutdown, saying Congress’ number one function is to put out a budget. He said it’s about members doing their jobs.

In the meantime, federal projects also came to a halt. Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said he couldn’t even get answers to questions about the 5 Points roundabout project on Western Reserve Road or the Boardman wastewater plant. Both are being built with federal money.

“Depending on the length of the shutdown, it may or may not affect the progress of those two projects,” Ginnetti said.

Monday’s deal funds the government through February. Brown said he hopes Congress has laid the groundwork for a long-term deal.

“The last four months, we’ve had four short budget agreements and you can’t run the government that way. McConnell was going to keep doing that through the rest of the year and this stopped that. This means now there will be a long-term budget and we’ll be serious about it.”

If not, there could be another shutdown in just a few weeks.

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