BOSTON (CBS) – News of a deal to end the government shutdown came to Joe Gaucher through his oldest child. “I was out working and helping out a friend and my son who is off in college texted me and he said dad, I think Congress made a deal,” he said.
Gaucher, a father of four, is a corrections officer at Devens Federal Medical Center. “I never thought I’d see the day I wouldn’t get paid working for the federal government,” he said. “I was in the Army for nine years and didn’t miss any paychecks there and I never thought I’d see it.”
But that changed when the partial shutdown began October 1st. He is what’s considered an “excepted” employee, required to report to work, even though he isn’t getting paid. And even though he hasn’t had to borrow any money yet, many of the people he works with have. “People are calling their creditors seeing if they’ll work with them,” he said. “People are borrowing from parents, co-workers… family, friends anybody they can just to make ends meet.”
The entire process has been frustrating, especially as he watched the back and forth in Washington. “It shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but we already work in a stressful environment in the prison system and people count on their paycheck every two weeks and it is stressful… just more stress to an already stressful environment,” he said.
Gaucher isn’t sure how long it’ll take to get the money flowing again. But at least there’s a reason now to be optimistic. He’s continued doing his duty and wants lawmakers to know who they’re impacting when they don’t do theirs. “I would say put the republican democrat stuff aside and just get the job done for the people. You’re there to represent the people,” he said.
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