Federal shutdown prompts Extension Service to suspend use of 96 temporary employees


LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is asking its 75 county offices to suspend use of 96 temporary clerical employees starting Wednesday as a cost-savings measure while Congress debates ending the federal shutdown. A memo to county offices was issued on Monday.

“We are asking our counties to suspend using our ‘work only when needed’ employees,” said Tony Windham, who, as associate vice president-agriculture-extension, is head of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. “Unless an agreement happens in Washington today or Tuesday, this request will go into effect on Wednesday, Oct. 16.”

These are not furloughs, and because the employees work only when needed in situations such as answering phones if an administrative assistant is absent, there is no effect on leave time or other benefits.

Like other agencies, the Cooperative Extension Service is obtaining certification from the state Department of Finance & Administration, “to determine whether we can use previously authorized federal funds to prevent furloughs,” he said.