Shutdown will furlough more than 1,600 DM civilian workers

2013-10-01T00:00:00Z 2013-10-02T15:27:09Z Shutdown will furlough more than 1,600 DM civilian workersBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base will immediately furlough 1,604 civilian employees and scale back some base services as a result of the shutdown.

The remaining 1,782 civilian workers and all military personnel will continue to perform their normal duties. The civilians won’t be paid until after the federal impasse is resolved.

But all active-duty military will keep getting their paychecks on time, due to a last-minute bill signed late Monday by President Obama to ensure military pay continues during the shutdown.

D-M gate hours won’t change. However, services that relied on furloughed employees will have to be changed to reflect a smaller staff.

Details for exactly how each unit will manage the manpower shortage were still being developed and will largely be handled at that level, said Staff Sgt. Angela Ruiz, a D-M spokeswoman.

The commissary, dining facilities and the fitness center will likely have shorter hours. Also, some activities at the child-development center and other youth programs could be suspended while the government impasse continues.

While the commissary will see truncated hours, the base exchange will be unaffected.

Specific changes won’t be known until the shutdown takes effect, but they would be far-reaching.

“Anything that would be open could be affected because of limited manning,” Ruiz said. “Right now we’re waiting until we find out if they’re going to be or not.

“For instance, my office would be affected. We have two civilians that work here, and they would be furloughed.”

Other areas that will be affected:

Coronado National Forest

The road up the Catalinas to Summerhaven and other private properties on the mountain is maintained by Pima County and will remain open.

However, campgrounds and other facilities in the Catalinas controlled by the U.S. Forest Service will be closed, as will access to Sabino and Madera canyons.

Contingency plans for the Forest Service outline the immediate closure of all national forests in the event of a partial shutdown of the federal government.

A spokesperson for the Coronado National Forest did not return calls for comment on how quickly area Forest Service lands would be closed to the public.

Women, Infants and Children Program

Director Will Humble said the Department of Health Services has enough federal funding to keep WIC clinics open through Friday and provide vouchers to enable families to buy needed food items.

After that, he said, there will be no aid for the 162,000 women and children now enrolled

Unemployment claims

The Department of Economic Security reported it can keep processing applications for unemployment benefits as well as sending out the weekly checks “for a short period of time.”

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

DES spokeswoman Tasya Peterson said cash payments for about 16,300 families, averaging $207 a month, will cease Thursday.

Tucson

Landlords who participate in the city’s public-housing program can expect delayed rent payments during the shutdown. Around 1,800 landlords and 25,000 tenants could be affected.

Public-housing tenants contribute 40 percent of their income toward the rent, which they still will have to pay. The city pays the remaining 60 percent.

Landlords can’t evict tenants because the city is late paying, and they also can’t ask tenants to pay the city’s share. Also, landlords can’t charge the city late-payment penalties since the delays were caused by factors the city couldn’t control.

Pima County

Minimal impact is expected from a short-term shutdown. Deputy County Administrator Hank Atha said there could be delays in reimbursement for expenses incurred under existing federal contracts. Contracts tied to Community Development Block Grants could be postponed.

If the shutdown extends more than two weeks, the county may stop making any new commitments in its workforce-training program.

Oro Valley

Mayor Satish Hiremath said the federal shutdown will have little to no immediate impact on the town’s day-to-day operations but fears there will be “an impact on citizens’ confidence in government at all levels.”

Marana

Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said a shutdown would not affect the town’s services.

Tucson International Airport

Air-traffic controllers at both Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield will continue to report to work.

During a partial shutdown of the government, air-traffic controllers are part of an exempted class of federal employees deemed to be critical to protect lives and general safety.

Star reporters Joe Ferguson and Phil Villarreal and Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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