Corrections Officers Forced To Work Without Pay During Government Shutdown

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – The bills keep coming but not the paycheck for Joe Gaucher. He’s what the federal government calls an “excepted” employee, a corrections officer at the Devens Federal Medical Center overseeing mob bosses, sex offenders, and a young accused terrorist named Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“We can’t leave them alone. We can’t put up a closed sign at 5:00 and say we’ll be back.  We’re there 24 hours a day,” said Gaucher. But he has medical bills, credit card bills, a mortgage payment all coming up and he’s not sure how long he can withstand a government shutdown.

Heather Wilson is in the same boat.  Her husband Mike works the night shift at Devens and her part-time nursing job, she says, will only go so far with three young children and those bills. “We still have to pay for daycare, gas to get to work. Politicians don’t care and are not putting themselves in our shoes,” she said.

If there’s anger and frustration it’s because Joe Gaucher says he’s doing his job as a government employee in the name of public safety and wants Congress and the President to do the same.  “There’s no reason we can’t have a budget and fund the government, and all this other stuff like Obamacare shouldn’t have anything to do with the budget,” said Gaucher.

He’s not even sure once the shutdown is over he’ll receive back pay.

“It’s a fluid situation with a lot of uncertainty,” he says.

At times living paycheck to paycheck, Heather Wilson says she is well aware of budget constraints and worries she’ll start falling behind if the next paycheck doesn’t come.  “I didn’t think it would come to this,” she says. “I hoped they would figure it out and put the good of the country ahead of their own selfish needs.”

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