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Shutdown Over, Federal Employees in the County Still Not Relieved

| October 17, 2013

SHUTDOWNOVER from WAGM-TV on Vimeo.

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Sixteen days later and federal employees are back to work. President Obama signed the bill into law just after midnight that ended the government shutdown and raised the nation’s debt limit to avoid default.

“There’s a lot of work ahead of us,” says President Barack Obama…”including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that’s been lost over the last few weeks.”

As national parks and monuments reopen across the US, federal workers right here in the county tell me this fix is just temporary.

Holli Landry, Local 294 President of DFAS Limestone says, “It’s a band-aid. They’re just covering and just prolonging the process..so employees..all federal employees will be walking on eggshells until we have a budget signed.”

Holli Landry is one of over 500 employees at the Defense Finance and Accounting Services office in Limestone. She says though no one there lost work during the shutdown, they easily could have. And she’s not excited to face this situation again in a few months — as this bill only reopens the government until January 15th.

“So much anxiety,” she says. “The morale and the employees..we feel we’re under attack. As federal employees we are under attack.”

During the shutdown the social security office right here in Presque Isle could only offer very limited services. I spoke with the manager on the phone who couldn’t go on camera but told me that they had to turn a ton of people away during that time and now that they’re fully up and running again she says she expects things to be busy.

Landry has friends who work for the US border patrol here in the county — who had to come to work, but for 16 days..they weren’t paid.

Landry says, “They will receive that back pay but right now it doesn’t help them they have to drive to work, what do they do for gas money, ya know?”

The heads of the budget committees in the House and Senate began negotiations on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to work towards a long term budget deal.

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