Federal employees furloughed as government shutdown continues

Published: Jan. 20, 2018 at 9:55 PM AKST
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Many of Alaska’s federal employees will not be able to return to work Monday unless Congress reaches a budget agreement that reopens the government before then.

The shutdown means that non-essential employees will be placed on furlough without pay until a government spending plan is approved. Meanwhile, positions deemed essential will be required to continue working.

Every federal department is required to publish a contingency plan for the possibility of a government shutdown. Those plans are all posted online to the

In Alaska, all active duty service members will report for duty during the shutdown, but almost all of the military’s civilian employees will be furloughed. The exact number of civilian positions affected by the shutdown won’t be known until Monday, the Army says.

“If there is no agreement reached before Monday morning, US Army Alaska will continue to operate but will do so with a significantly reduced workforce as most civilian employees will be furloughed,” said USARAK spokesperson Lt. Col. Martyn Crighton.

“During the shutdown, military on active duty will report for duty. Unfortunately, the shutdown requires furlough of most of our civilian teammates. This is not a reflection on how important those individuals are to our combined headquarters, but is required by law,” said Alaskan Command spokesperson Capt. Bryant Davis.

Many other federal agencies and offices in Alaska will also have to furlough employees during the shutdown. For example, all but 41 National Park Service employees in the Alaska Region will continue working during the shutdown. For agencies like the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, only the regional director will continue working in order to respond to any emergency situations.

According to a contingency plan developed by the Department of Justice, all FBI, DEA and ATF agents working at field offices like the one in Anchorage will continue working, as will the state’s U.S. Attorney. Some federal operations, like the U.S. Postal Service, will be completely unaffected by the shutdown.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, subsistence activities in Alaska will also be allowed to continue as normal.

“Pursuant to the specific authorities for subsistence uses under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), FWS has determined that Alaskan subsistence access and activities will be allowed to continue during the shutdown period.”