SCRANTON – Workers at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton showed up to work Tuesday morning only to shut the place down. The nearly 70 federal employees signed furlough papers and will be temporarily laid off as long as the government shutdown continues.
About 70 federal parks employees at Steamtown and about 21,000 across the nation were furloughed thanks to the federal government shutdown.
“The uncertainty is not a welcome feeling. I do feel that I’m pretty well poised. We did get paid today so I was able to pay my mortgage and my car payment,” said information technology specialist Patti Stiner.
Stiner is a single mother of three, just recently losing her husband to cancer. She says she’ll anxiously be waiting to return to work.
“Probably watch some C-SPAN and also get some chores done around the house, wash some windows, tend to some yard work,” said Stiner.
Some other workers took the morning to enjoy a breakfast together, but now many of these federal employees say they won’t be doing much now that their next paycheck isn’t a guarantee.
“Now I’m living on my own, I’ve got a house, I’ve got actual responsibilities so I’m just going to lay low I guess,” said National Park Ranger Tim O’Malley.
Employees at Steamtown say they aren’t sure how long these park closed signs will stay up and government will remain shut down. But they say it’s one job they can’t wait to get back to.
Facility management specialist Bill Farrell and his wife both work there at Steamtown and are looking forward to taking these signs down soon.
“A lot of people that work here have a lot of passion for what they do and provide a great service for the taxpayers of this country, and it’s a shame that we’re just being just held up right now with it all,” said Farrell.
The government could take a day, a week, or even longer to get back on track and the best anyone can do right now is wait.
“Finish the paperwork and watch the news and see what happens,” said Steamtown National Historic Site Superintendent Kip Hagen.
All excursions at the national historic site have been canceled through this weekend. Workers and visitors wondering when operations may start up again can call the general information number for the park at 570-340-5200.