Government shutdown looms and there's little preparation

Government shutdown looms and there's little preparation
Solid Grindz Hawaiian restaurant co-owner Tap Gaoteote with KOLD News 13's Bud Foster. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The secretary at the civilian personnel office at Davis Monthan AFB picked up the phone, announced her pleasantries and asked if she could help.

"This is Bud Foster from Channel 13", I was wondering if you can tell me what the plans are for civilian workers if in fact there is a government shutdown," I asked.

"I don't know Mr. Foster," she said. "We have not heard a word from Washington."

"Are there plans in the works?, I asked.

"May I take your number and have someone get back to you," she said.

But no one did.

There are an estimated 3,400 civilian support workers at DM whose immediate futures are up in the air and as with most government agencies right now, are ill prepared for a shutdown.

For updates on the shutdown, go HERE.

When the government shut down for 16 days in 2013, the White House tried to make the impact as painless as possible, signing legislature which paid the defense department's civilian workers.

The disruption for most of them was minimal, most continued to work although some got paid a bit late.

Workers at many other departments were furloughed through the 16 days, but the defense support personnel were determined to be essential personnel so most stayed on the job.

But just because that was the case in 2013 does not mean it will in 2018 so there is a great deal of uncertainty as to what will happen if no agreement is reached to avert a shutdown.

The lines were long, as they usually are on a Friday after payday at the Solid Grindz Hawaiian restaurant on Craycroft a block North of the DM Main Gate.

The DM airmen and women are loyal to the co-owner, Tap Gaoteote, a 20-year veteran of the Air Force.

As for the shutdown, there's been little talk and little preparation.

"It's day to day," Gaoteote said. "We can make the necessary adjustment if we have to."

He says 75 percent of his business comes from the base but can't say how much is split between the uniformed and civilian personnel.

But he said he can cut back on dinner time and since the workers are family, cut back some hours here and there.

But he said he'll take it as it comes.

"I don't know if it's going to affect us tremendously," he said. "But I have faith everything is going to work out."

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