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  • Evan Vucci / Associated Press

    Janette Dunder of Alexandria, Va., protests outside the Capitol building as Congress continues the budget battle Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Washington. President Barack Obama ramped up pressure on Republicans Monday to avoid a post-midnight government shutdown, saying that failure to pass a short-term spending measure to keep agencies operating would "throw a wrench into the gears" of a recovering economy.

  • hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Sacramento is not just a state worker town. It has 12,000 civilian federal workers, too.

Will the federal goverment’s shutdown affect services in Sacramento? We’re checking that out

Published: Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 - 2:52 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Mar. 7, 2014 - 9:35 am

Defense Commissaries

The region’s three defense commissaries, like others in the United States, are expected to stay open Tuesday “to reduce the amount of perishables on hand before beginning a systematic closure process,” according to the Defense Commissary Agency.

The commissaries provide heavily discounted groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families. Brian Aipperspach, manager of the commissary at the former McClellan Air Force Base in North Highlands, said the store serves about 1,100 customers a day.

The other two nearby commissaries are at Beale and Travis air force bases.

– Dale Kasler

Bureau of Reclamation

The Bureau of Reclamation, which employs 550 people in the Sacramento area excluding Folsom, is still calculating how many of its local employees will be affected by the shutdown, according to public affairs officer Pete Lucero.

The bureau specializes in water delivery and conservation. Its Sacramento regional office provides regional and management support to field offices from Fresno to Carson City, Nev., to Oregon.

Rather than outright furloughs, said Lucero, the bureau will likely place a number of employees on on-call status, meaning that if their services are needed during the shutdown, they’ll be called in to work.

The bureau’s facilities – dams, canals, delivery systems and water operations – will remain open and staffed with the personnel necessary to operate them, Lucero said. Recreation services, such as government-operated visitor centers, campgrounds and picnic areas, will be most greatly affected.

Recreation areas managed by others, like Folsom Reservoir, will remain open, he said.

Social Security

Social Security recipients will not experience a cut in payments, said spokesman Deogracias Santos.

“Their benefits will continue,” he said.

However, according to the Social Security website, field offices will offer limited services in the event of a shutdown and will not be able to issue new or replacement Social Security cards, Medicare cards or proof of income statements.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife offices

Should the federal shutdown take place, employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife offices – the Sacramento field office, as well as the regional office, which covers California and Nevada – will go on furlough, said spokesman Robert Moler.

“Personnel will come to the office for a few hours tomorrow morning to cancel appointments and do their out-of-office messages,” he said. “They understand they’ll be furloughed.”

The local field office, which specializes in ecological conservation efforts, includes more than 100 employees, he said.

If they’re furloughed, here’s the impact: Because federal environmental consultation is required to evaluate the risk to endangered species before development projects can move ahead, those development projects would have to be put on hold, Moler said.

Regional environmental refuges would close.

And the Sacramento public hearing on whether the agency should delist the gray wolf as an endangered species – scheduled for Wednesday morning – would be postponed, Moler said.

Veterans Affairs medical services

Medical services to veterans will continue, despite the potential federal government shutdown, said the Veterans Affairs’ Sacramento Valley Northern California Health Care System spokeswoman Beverley Pierce.

All 10 regional medical clinics will remain open, including the main hospital at Mather, she said. In-patient and out-patient services will be provided.

“It will be business as usual for us,” she said.

More than 2,000 federal employees work for the regional VA health care system, and none will be furloughed, she said.

“It’s not an issue for us,” she said.

U.S. Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Corps of Engineers, which directly employs hundreds of local workers and hundreds more contractors, likely has enough reserve funds to keep employees on the job “for a couple of days,” said local Corps spokesman Chris Gray-Garcia.

After that, the Corps may need to stop work on key locals projects and “cut back to a bare minimum,” Gray-Garcia said. The department would maintain enough employees in the event of a shutdown to ensure public safety.

The Corps is currently undertaking a massive project at the Folsom Dam and is working on several levee projects around the Sacramento region.

Sacramento’s federal courthouse

Federal courts in Sacramento will not close Tuesday in the event of a shutdown, a court official said, but the situation is fluid and notice will be given if funds run dry.

A nationwide memo from U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts estimates that the court system can operate for about 10 days in the event of a shutdown.

Sacramento Employment and Training Agency

The Sacramento Employment and Training Agency – which administers a host of local federally funded programs, including career centers, Head Start and youth and refugee services – will not be affected by the looming federal government shutdown, said spokeswoman Terri Carpenter.

“Nothing has been said to us at all,” she said. “We’re operating as usual. No impacts are projected for our organization at this point.”

The agency’s programs have already been funded through June 2014, she said.

“Our career centers are open as usual,” she said. “We’re fiscally sound for the next fiscal year. The shutdown will not affect our agency locally.”

Meals on Wheels

Locally, senior nutrition provider Meals on Wheels does not, at this point, plan to cut back on any of its meals for older adults, even if the federal government shuts down, said Donna Yee.

But operating without cutting back on the number of seniors receiving meals depends on both efficient money management and donations to the program, she said.

“We’re committed to being reliable and providing services to seniors,” said Yee, chief executive officer for Sacramento’s Asian Community Center. Since 2011, the center has run the county’s Meals on Wheels program as a nonprofit agency.

“It would be totally unfair to put seniors on that rollercoaster.”

In Sacramento County, Meals on Wheels feeds more than 470,000 meals to older adults each year, with 60 percent of those meals delivered to the home-bound elderly.

Like other aging programs that are funded at least partially by the federal Administration on Aging, Meals on Wheels’ funds are filtered through the state aging administration.

“All of these fits and starts in funding this year are driving us crazy,” said Yee.


Call The Bee’s Anita Creamer, (916) 321-1136. Follow her on Twitter @AnitaCreamer



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