Hundreds Of Federal Workers Furloughed On Guam

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Programs partially stopped after US government shutdown

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 2, 2013) – Hundreds of federal employees on Guam have been furloughed after the federal government partially shut down yesterday, affecting not only the employees, but also some services provided to the public.

The first shutdown in close to two decades came yesterday after the president and congressional Democrats refused to yield to Republican demands to change the nation's health care law, according to reports by The Associated Press.

With no money to pay them, federal employees deemed non-essential will be placed on furlough until a budget bill or extension of federal funding is passed.

While many federal services, such as mail delivery, will continue, several federal agencies in Guam won't be open for business.

Also, several programs have funding for several weeks to months.

The Women Infants and Children food coupons has enough funding for three weeks.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can be sustained for six months, according to James Gillan, Department of Public Health and Social Services director. He said Medicare and Medicaid won't be affected.

Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo responded to the furlough, saying the shutdown was the result of "partisan politics."

Approximately 140 military technicians, airmen and soldiers on temporary orders and civilian workers will be furloughed as a result of the shutdown, according to Guam national Guard Adjutant General Benny M. Paulino.

However, active military personnel will stay on duty.

"Our federal technician staff as well as civilian personnel play significant roles in our daily operations," said Paulino. "Losing them even for a short period places more stress on our full-time soldiers and airmen as they have to take over some of these responsibilities."

National Park Service

Officials at the National Park Service still were awaiting word yesterday afternoon about how they will be affected by the shutdown.

Acting Superintendent Ron Borne said 21 employees at the Park Service could be furloughed as a result of the shutdown.

He said, unless some action is taken to resolve the shutdown, all of the park's units will be closed to the public today.

Borne added that the plan would be to close the gates at the units that can be closed and post signs at areas such as Agat to notify the public that the parks have been closed as a result of the shutdown.

Joint Region Marianas

Lt. Matt Knight, public affairs officer for Joint Region Marianas, said local military officials still were awaiting official guidance prior to the shutdown, but said only positions considered to be "essential to safety, protection of human life and property as well as the protection of our national security" are exempt from the furlough.

Military members and civilian workers who are exempt from the furlough will continue their normal duties, but won't be paid until Congress passes funding.

Coleen San Nicolas-Perez, deputy public affairs officer, confirmed later that about 170 Air Force civilian workers and 100 Navy civilian workers will be placed on furlough.

About 300 Navy civilian workers and 200 Air Force civilian workers will not be furloughed.

Several services will continue despite the shutdown.

Knight said Department of Defense Education Activity schools will continue, as will services that aren't funded by congressional appropriations like the bowling alley and movie theater.

San Nicolas-Perez added that the Visitor Control Center also will continue to operate.

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