Federal employees sent home on first day of government shutdown

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 2:48pm

Thousands of federal employees went to work Tuesday and were quickly sent home.  The impact is rippling across the country, including in El Paso.

Lori Kuczmanski is a public affairs officer at the Armed Services Blood Program at William Beaumont Army Medical Center.  First thing Tuesday morning she received notice that she would be furloughed.

"My supervisor called me and said yes, you're being furloughed. He sent me paperwork, I had to sign it. It said it could last up to October 31st," she said.

Lori said she is one of a dozen civilian employees at the center, and was the first to receive furlough notification.  She is one of nearly 800,000 civilian federal employees in the United States to be furloughed because of the government shutdown.

"I do not have a job. I am walking out of here with no pay and no certainty to my job," she said.

Most federal agencies were prepared for the worst case scenario.  The Office of Management and Budget sent a memo to the heads of executive departments and government agencies Monday night.  It said, in part, "agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations."

Some federal employees are exempt from the shutdown including air traffic controllers, prison guards and border patrol agents.  They are all required to report for duty without pay.

The shutdown in the mid 1990's lasted three weeks.  It is still unclear how long this shutdown is expected to last. 

In the meantime, Lori will try to figure out a way to make ends meet.

"I've considered looking for a part-time job until the furlough is over," she said.






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