Flags are raised on U.S. Coast Guard buoy tenders for reveille before the start of the Buoy Tender Olympics at Station Juneau on Aug. 22. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Flags are raised on U.S. Coast Guard buoy tenders for reveille before the start of the Buoy Tender Olympics at Station Juneau on Aug. 22. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Some Coast Guard employees furloughed, others working without pay during shutdown

Almost all civilian employees in Juneau sent home

Dozens of Coast Guard employees came to work the day after Christmas only to find that they’d been furloughed until the partial federal government shutdown is over. Even the ones who are working might not be getting paid anytime soon.

Fifty-three civilian employees in Juneau were furloughed, Coast Guard Public Affairs Officer Lt. Brian Dykens said in an interview Wednesday. That’s almost all of the civilian Coast Guard employees in Juneau, as Dykens said there are 59 civilian positions between Sector Juneau, the 17th District and Civil Engineering Unit (CEU) Juneau.

He said these furloughed employees come from “a vast array of departments and jobs,” including information technology, engineering, maintenance and others. The remaining six civilian employees are working, but Dykens said employees will miss their next paycheck if a solution isn’t reached by this Friday. The next payday for Coast Guard employees is Dec. 31.

The Coast Guard’s essential services — such as search and rescue and environmental response — are still funded, Dykens said. Higher-ranking Coast Guard officials were unavailable Wednesday to provide specifics about where that funding comes from. The bottom line, Dykens said, is that the Coast Guard will continue to be there if someone’s in danger.

“We don’t know how long the government shutdown will last,” Dykens said in a statement, “but we have a plan to maintain the essential safety, security, and environmental protection services the public expects from the Coast Guard. We will continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, adjust our operations to ensure national security and to protect life and property.”

[Coast Guard rescues injured hiker off Herbert Glacier]

The shutdown stems from an impasse between President Donald Trump and members of Congress about the nation’s budget. At the center of negotiations is the funding of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The partial shutdown has about 38,000 federal employees on furlough and 420,000 employees working without pay, ABC News reported this week.

Rear Admiral Matthew T. Bell, Jr., the commander of the 17th District, said it’s never a good time to lose funding, but it’s even more pronounced around the holiday season.

“I’m personally concerned for some of our more junior members and their families making ends meet during the lapse,” Bell said in a statement. “We’re ever watchful to ensure we have the necessary resources in place to help them if the need arises.”

There are a few options for Coast Guard employees who are struggling financially. The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance program has money set aside to help employees and their families with money. Dykens said there are also opportunities with banks and other organizations to help Coast Guard employees if need be.

NBC News reported Wednesday that 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members remain on duty, and that the Coast Guard is the only branch of the military whose employees will go without pay during the shutdown if there isn’t a solution by Friday. Dykens said it depends on what the details end up being when negotiators in Washington, D.C. finally come to an agreement, but he and his co-workers hope they will be given back pay for the work they’re doing now.

For now, he said, they’re remaining at their posts despite many of them expecting not to be paid next Monday.

“The public expects us to save lives and protect the environment,” Dykens said.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in News

FILE - Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. Sweeney's campaign manager said, Wednesday, June 22, 2022, that the campaign did not plan to sue over a finding released by Alaska elections officials stating that she cannot advance to the special election for U.S. House following the withdrawal of another candidate. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen, File)
Alaska Supreme Court ruling keeps Sweeney off House ballot

In a brief written order, the high court said it affirmed the decision of a Superior Court judge.

President Joe Biden signs into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Saturday, June 25, 2022. First lady Jill Biden looks on at right. (AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President signs landmark gun measure, says ‘lives will be saved’

The House gave final approval Friday, following Senate passage Thursday.

Three people were arrested over several days in a series of events stemming from a June 16 shoplifting incident, with a significant amount of methamphetamine seized. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Shoplifting investigation leads to arrests on drug charges

Significant amounts of drugs and loose cash, as well as stolen goods, were found.

Ben Gaglioti, an ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, stands next to a mountain hemlock tree damaged in winter on the outer coast of Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska. (Courtesy Photos / Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Bonsai trees tell of winters long past

By Ned Rozell A GREEN PLATEAU NORTH OF LITUYA BAY — “These… Continue reading

This photo shows a return envelope from the recent special primary election for Alaska's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. On Friday, a judge sided with the state elections office on a decision to omit fifth-place finisher Tara Sweeney from ballots in the special general election. Al Gross, who finished third in the special primary, dropped out of the race, creating confusing circumstances ahead of Alaska's first ranked choice vote. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Judge rules Sweeney wont advance to special election

Decision has Sweeney off the ballot for special election.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, June 25, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of June 19

Here’s what to expect this week.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Peter Froehlich, a retired Juneau district judge who is now a volunteer tour guide, explains the history of the history of the Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ in the State Office Building to a group of visitors Thursday. The organ has been idle since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now needs repairs before regular Friday lunchtime concerts and other performances on the 94-year-old instrument can resume.
Historic organ is in need of tuneup

How much it will cost and who will do it remain up in the air.

Candidate for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives Tara Sweeney, a Republican, was in Juneau on Monday, May 16, 2022, and sat down with the Empire for an interview. A lawsuit filed Thursday challenges a decision to omit Sweeney from ballots in the upcoming Aug. 16 special election. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in House race

The lawsuit says the Division of Elections misinterpreted state law.

Most Read