Shutdown affects many
Published: Thursday, October 10th, 2013
At 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, the government partially shut down after Congress couldn’t agree on a spending bill. Later that day, many government employees received notices saying they would be placed on “furlough,” a non-pay or non-work status, until a signed budget or a continuing resolution could be finalized.
As many as 800,000 of the country’s 2.1 million federal workers were furloughed as a result of the shutdown. Employees considered “essential,” such as superintendents and supervisors and other staff members, are still working.
Locally, nearly 550 full-time employees of the South Dakota National Guard have been furloughed due to the shutdown, which also canceled drills over the weekend. About 370 employees will remain on duty during the shutdown. However, National Guard members can still be called to duty in the event of a state disaster or emergency.
More than 400 national parks, monuments and recreation areas — including Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave and Badlands National Park — have been closed. Other organizations, such as the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, were also forced to furlough employees and close down campgrounds and public access areas.
“We’re surrounded by federal land and parks, so this will have a potent impact on not only the people who work (for the government), but also how dollars are spent here in the area,” said Dave Ressler, executive director of the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce.
During the furlough, federal employees are prohibited from using government issued mobile devices, such as laptop computers, Blackberries and cellular phones and even government systems, such as email or any automated systems. They are also not permitted to serve as unpaid volunteers and must remain away from the work place until recalled to duty.
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