Government employees return work, but concerns linger

Photo: KOMO News

Monday morning 800,000 federal employees will return to work for the first time in 35 days after the longest government shutdown in history.

It all stems from the ongoing political dispute over a border wall.

On Friday a deal was struck to temporarily open the government for three weeks. Federal workers are uneasy about the future after already missing two paychecks.

For more than a month Anna Kagley has been ready to return to her job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She’s worked at the agency for three decades.

“I’m a little nervous after missing 30 plus days,” said Kagley.

The fishery biologist who lives in Everett works with Chinook salmon and is concerned the shutdown has harmed the agencies long term work.

“I’m concerned we’ll be missing the beginning of the pulse of the fish migrating for some of our monitoring projects,” said Kagley.

The mother of five and primary bread winner for her family says she still doesn’t know when she’s get her next paycheck.

“It’s been almost a month since we’ve gotten paid,” she said.

Kagley had to take out a loan and sign-up for un-employment to get through January.

She’s worried about working for just three weeks, then possibly facing another furlough.

“I worry about these shutdowns becoming longer and longer and I really do feel as federal employees we are held hostage,” she said.

The February 15th deadline is looming if there’s no compromise on border security. President Donald Trump says the fight for the boarder wall is not over.

“We’re going to work with the democrats, we’re going to see. And if we can’t do that, then we’ll do – obviously we’re going to the emergency, because that’s what it is. It’s a national emergency,” said Trump.

But for Kagley, who is one of 11, 000 federal workers in Washington impacted by the shutdown, she says it’s hindering her important work at NOAA and hurting her family.

“It’s put a great deal of stress on my family and it’s de-humanizing,” she said.

Kagley says NOAA has asked employees to submit their timesheets, now they are just waiting to see what day they receive their checks.

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