Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 2, 2013

Federal shutdown felt at local level

By Rob Cox
Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG — When he reported for work Monday morning Scott Sanders, natural resources specialist for the Decatur County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), was likely hoping that, by some miracle of miracles, he would be able to enter his offices at 1333 N. Liberty Circle E. Road and be able to go about his normal, day-to-day work routine.

His hopes were thwarted Monday morning (and his expectations fulfilled) when he found his building locked up. He and his co-workers were allowed in only to retrieve anything business-related with no connection to Federal funding.

Working from a makeshift office at the Decatur County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon, Sanders told the Daily News via a brief phone interview that the Federal Government shutdown is to blame.

Although Sanders is a county employee and the SWCD is a county-level agency, the Decatur County agency shares a building with both the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), both of which are Federal-level agencies. Unfortunately, the building is on a Federal lease. As a result, Sanders and his co-workers with the SWCD have been locked out with the FSA and NRCS.

Sanders did note, however, that even if the SWCD didn’t share a building with Federal agencies, he and his co-workers would still be extremely limited in the work they can undertake.

“We can’t access any of our computer software,” he said. “And we can’t work on anything that involves a Federal funding component.”

Unlike Federal employees furloughed by the shutdown, however, Sanders and his co-workers are, technically, still on the job, still working and still receiving full pay.

“We’re working on everything that we can,” Sanders said. “It’s all local. We’ve got a table, some laptops and a small office in the courthouse across from the auditor’s office.

“We’re just hoping it [the shutdown] doesn’t last very long.”

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011