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Guardsman Fired From Full-time Job Before Deployment - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Guardsman Fired From Full-time Job Before Deployment

Colchester, Vermont - October 29, 2009

Families have a lot to do and prepare for when it comes to the upcoming big guard deployment. But for one Vermont family this time has been even more stressful after learning their soldier was being laid off from his state job.

"It is an emotional situation, we all have lost sleep over it," said Sandra Barbieri whose husband is being

Sandra Barbieri's husband is leaving Friday for training before his mission to Afghanistan. A stressful time, but what really has the family upset is news that Lincoln Barbieri was laid off from his state job. Lincoln is busy getting ready to leave so his wife talked to us.

"He has been stressed out and not focused and this is the last thing he needed before he went and did his ultimate action," his wife said.

His position was one of several in Corrections eliminated by the Douglas Administration to save state money. Barbieri worked for the state for 20 years and should have so called senior bumping rights to take the position of a more junior employee but the state reclassified his job, so that is not an option.

"I find it to be unfair," said Barbieri.

Federal law protects guard members once they are on a mission, requiring an employer to have a job for them when they return. But there are no legal protections for a guard member laid off before or during a deployment.

"He has enough to worry about and this complicates it," said Vermont Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito

Pallito says when it comes to layoffs, the state looks at the position not the person, but he is trying to find another job within Corrections for Barbieri.

"So we are going to work with him and identify a job for him now so when he goes to Afghanistan at the end of December he as least knows he has something to come back to," said Pallito.

"We are a very close family," said Barbieri.

With everything still unsettled Barbieri worries her husband won't be able to focus 100% on the mission, something he needs to do to stay safe in Afghanistan.

"I try to be strong for everybody," his wife said.

The Barbieri's are worried time is running out to resolve this. Lincoln Barbieri will be gone for training through the end of November, then he leaves in early December for Afghanistan. And as a member of the infantry, he could be on patrols for several days and out of communication.

Kristin Carlson - WCAX News

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