BEVERLY (CBS) – Your favorite national park is open, but unstaffed. Some federal employees are stuck at home. Others are stuck at work with no paychecks. This is the reality of the partial federal government shutdown at the local level.
Minute Man National Park in Lexington is typically open this time of year with limited winter staffing. Instead, a sign reads any entry is “at the visitor’s sole risk,” with no staff to protect them, guide them, or clean the park. “It’s really sad,” said Gabriella Rickard, who was visiting the park from Andover.
Other federal employees are forced to work without pay. An estimated 42,000 Coast Guard employees are still at work, providing necessary law enforcement, safety, and search and rescue duties. “However with a government shutdown, they will likely not have the full support that they need in order to maintain mission readiness,” wrote Boston Coast Guard Spokesperson Andrew Barresi in a statement to WBZ.
If the federal government does not pass a budget plan by Friday, those Coast Guard members won’t see their paychecks on December 31st. Given the fact that no budget plan votes are scheduled, that reality is looking likely. Coast Guard members don’t yet know if they will get back pay.
While some are forced to work for no pay, others are stuck at home without a paycheck. John Martyn is a Federal Aviation Agency engineering technician – a position considered “non-essential.” Because of this, he’s stuck at home, furloughed.
“It’s a little frustrating,” Martyn said. “Because as a federal worker you sometimes feel like you’re hostage to this [shutdown].”
He and his wife Amy say they’re lucky to have a financial cushion – and extra help with the $1100 he won unexpectedly in his fantasy football league. Amy tweeted a picture of the win with the trending hastag #ShutdownStories.
While they poke fun with the fantasy football winnings, the Martyns say they’re starting to worry about the lack of paychecks. “[John] would normally get paid this coming Tuesday,” Amy said. “So I’m already thinking, ‘Okay, we’re not going to get that paycheck.’ So we have bills that get taken out, how are we going to pay them?”
They’re asking the government to get moving – for themselves, and the estimated 800,000 workers nationwide. “When [the government] can’t come to a conclusion, we are penalized for that. And it’s frustrating and it hurts.”
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management provided sample letters for federal workers to use as a guide when working with creditors during the shutdown.