Ft. Knox workers brace for possible government shutdown - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ft. Knox workers brace for possible government shutdown

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The government shutdown would have a big impact locally, both directly and indirectly.

Consider just two of the largest federal agencies in the Louisville area -- Ft. Knox and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Together they employ some 12,000 civilians, and most of them could be sent home Tuesday.

If there is a government shutdown, Ft. Knox estimates that roughly half of its more than 10,000 civilian employees would be sent home.  Only those essential to the post's operation would remain.

"When it comes to life, health, safety matters on the installation, you will see those personnel who work those operations, in large part continuing to work. They would be what we call excepted employees," said Ryan Bruce of the Ft. Knox Office of Public Affairs. 

The roughly 9,500 troops stationed at Ft. Knox would also report for duty as usual, but their paychecks could be delayed.

"If appropriations aren't passed, those military personnel may not receive pay on the normal pay dates. In other words, they may have to be retroactively paid. But they can never, per their contract, be put in a non-pay status," said Bruce.

But even those not directly affected by the shutdown will be affected indirectly, as some services are reduced.

For example, it might be more difficult even to get onto the post.  "We would still have a baseline of services provided across the installation, but there could be some impacts. One could be closure of one of our three primary gates, simply because we won't have the personnel to manage one of those gates," said Bruce.

The Census Bureau Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana would also take a big hit. Nearly all of its nearly 1,500 would be sent home.

But regardless of the government agency, the key word right now is uncertainty.

"As of right now, it is more or less business as usual. But at the same time, we're making preparations in case we do have a government shut down that would occur tomorrow," said Bruce.

The shutdown could also mean recreation areas that the Corps of Engineers operates at lakes such as Taylorsville, Nolin and Rough River could be closed.

Mail delivery will not be affected. Nor would entitlement checks such as Social Security and Medicare.

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