Federal workers in Topeka feel the pinch of the budget stalemate

TOPEKA, Kan, (WIBW) -- When callers dial the U.S. Coast Guard’s Pay and Personnel Center inside the Carlson Federal Building they hear the following message.

“Due to a lapse in government funding the call center is operating with limited staffing to try and provide live contact to all of our customers,” the recording says.

Several of its employees are furloughed due to the partial government shutdown. The exact number is unknown.

Also inside the Federal Building, the U.S. District Court continues to operate using existing funds.

“Court fees we’ve collected, filing fees, and other funds that don’t go through the normal appropriation period,” Clerk of the Court Timothy O’Brien explained.

O’Brien said that money may not last much longer. According the United States Courts paid operations will continue through January 18th. They are unsure if it will be sustained afterwards.

If the shutdown continues after that the court will still decide cases, which is considered essential work.

However, employees and jurors would not be paid.

“I causes frustration and stress for those employees especially who are living on a limited budget,” O’Brien said.

They would receive back pay for working during the shutdown when the government reopens.

The ongoing shut down could also affect the work done by the many workers.

“The Civil U.S. Attorneys who prosecute the civil cases are not considered essential, and so any cases that they have may have to be continued,” O’Brien explained. “And there aren’t funds for some of the federal public defenders to go travel and meet with their clients. And there aren’t funds for the Marshalls to bring them in.”