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October 1, 2013

Fed shutdown's impact on NOAA tempered

The Department of Commerce released figures Monday showing that 45 percent of NOAA’s 12,001-person national workforce would continue working even if the federal government partially shuts down today.

The Commerce Department, the overseer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, could not supply a specific breakdown for how many of the approximately 200 employees at NOAA’s Gloucester-based Northeast Regional Office would be furloughed under a partial shutdown.

A spokeswoman at NOAA’s Gloucester offices in Blackburn Industrial Park referred all inquiries to NOAA headquarters in Washington D.C., which provided the department’s shutdown contingency plan.

That plan, known by the title “Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations,” stated that 5,368 NOAA employees — or 86.7 percent of the 6,186 Commerce Department employees eligible for exemption — would fall within four categories:

Employees engaged in military, law enforcement or direct provision of healthcare service;

Employees whose compensation is financed by a resource other than annual congressional appropriations;

Employees, not otherwise exempt, that are responsible for the protection of life and property; and ...

Employees otherwise authorized by law (including employees appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate).

Those employees not exempted under the Commerce Department plan would be furloughed without pay and legally prohibited from working until the shutdown is lifted.

Sean Horgan may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3464, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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