CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hundreds of federal employees in West Virginia remain on the job during a partial federal government shutdown, but many will work without pay.
Those include workers at some of the largest employers in West Virginia, such as the FBI fingerprint lab in Clarksburg and the Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg.
“This partial government shutdown affects every American, including the 18,000 federal employees in West Virginia,” stated U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
“I am proud that many of these employees will continue to come to work without pay to make sure that our nation remains safe and secure, but I am very concerned that they will be missing critical paychecks – something that is always difficult, but particularly so during the holidays.”
The federal shutdown stretched into its 12th day with President Trump and congressional leaders seemingly no closer to resolving a government funding lapse.
Trump has insisted on $5 billion in funding for a border wall, while congressional Democrats have resisted the funding demand.
The shutdown affects only parts of the federal government because many federal agencies had already received funding.
But as the impasse stretches on, the effects are becoming more pronounced.
Agencies affected include the State Department, the Justice Department, the Transportation Department, the Agriculture Department and the Department of the Interior.
About 800,000 federal employees are being furloughed.
A news release distributed by Manchin on Wednesday noted that while many federal employees in West Virginia technically remain on the job, many will be unpaid until the budget conflict is resolved.
The major federal employers affected include:
The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division:
The FBI’s largest division is located in Clarksburg and employs more than 2,500 federal workers.
About two-thirds of the employees will have to work without pay, while the rest will be furloughed, or temporarily laid off, for the duration of the shutdown, according to Manchin.
A statement from the FBI to MetroNews from last week about the Clarksburg facility clarified that most workers would be considered exempt but did not describe going without pay.
“FBI operations are directed towards national security and violations of federal law, and must be able to continue during a lapse in appropriations,” the agency stated.
“As such, all FBI agents and support personnel in field offices are considered excepted from furlough.”
Bureau of Fiscal Service, Department of Treasury:
The Department of Treasury employs about 2,200 employees in Parkersburg, where most residents still refer to the office by its old name, the Bureau of Public Debt.
Because a large number of employees are paid through a revolving fund separate from annual appropriations, almost 80 percent of employees in the Bureau are exempt from the shutdown.
But Manchin’s statement says those who are deemed essential may have to work without pay until the shutdown ends.
Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice:
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has around 1,000 employees at 7 federal correctional institutions, penitentiaries, and prison camps around the state, making it one of the largest federal employers in West Virginia.
Nearly all of these staff, and particularly those working directly at federal prisons, are considered essential and will work without pay through the duration of the shutdown, Manchin states.
Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security:
The Coast Guard has more than 400 employees at three facilities located in West Virginia.
Those include the Vessel Documentation Center in Falling Waters and the Operations Systems Center and National Maritime Center in Martinsburg, making it a significant employer in the Eastern Panhandle.
Both the Vessel Documentation Center and the Operations Center have closed, and all civilian employees in the state are furloughed without pay for the duration of the shutdown.
Active duty personnel report for duty as usual, but are not be paid.
Customs & Border Patrol Advanced Training Center, Department of Homeland Security:
The agency operates its Advanced Training Center in Harpers Ferry, where hundreds of federal employees and contractors train more than 8,000 border agents each year.
Homeland Security does not deem training to be an essential activity during a shutdown, so the agency requires the Advanced Training Center to close when its students are able to be relocated.
Independent Verification & Validation Center (IV&V), NASA:
NASA employs about 200 full-time federal workers and contractors at the IV&V Center in Fairmont.
All but one of the federal workers will be furloughed during the shutdown.
Federal contractors may continue to work if they have already received contracts and their work does not require supervision from federal employees.
Green Bank Observatory, National Science Foundation:
The Green Bank Observatory in Pocahontas County is home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. It’s also a significant employer.
While it is operated by the National Science Foundation, which is closed during the shutdown, Green Bank’s funding is provided by both NSF and other sources, so it will remain open at this time.
Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation:
The FAA employs about 120 people throughout the state.
Of those, about 20 percent have been furloughed, while some others are paid through funds not affected by annual appropriations.
Air Traffic Controllers, who keep skies and airports safe from accidents and disasters, will work without pay.
Federal courts in West Virginia have enough funding through court fee balances and other funds to operate until next week before they will be affected by the shutdown.
While many staff will continue to work without pay to ensure the judiciary and law enforcement continues, some employees will likely be furloughed.
The federal court system issued an order the day after Christmas holding civil matters in which the United States is a party in abeyance.
National Parks and Forests:
West Virginia has a number of national parks and forests.
The national recreation areas will remain open for visitors, but services will not be available, and non-essential employees will be furloughed.
That means visitors centers will be shut down, park rangers won’t be on site, trash may not be collected and roads and trails may not be cleared during winter weather.
National Parks and Refuges such as the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the New River Gorge National River are operated by the National Parks Service within the Department of the Interior.
National forests such as the Monongahela National Forest and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are operated by the U.S. Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture
Finally, wildlife refuges such as the Canaan Valley and Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuges are operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which also operates its National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown.