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Local employees feel effects of furlough, worry about future

Updated: Tuesday, October 1 2013, 06:48 PM CDT
Reported by: Chris Papst

HARRISBURG -- Nearly 1,000,000 federal workers around the country woke up this morning to learn that they had been furloughed as a result of the government shutdown -- and that includes many right here in the mid-state.

On a normal day, the Capital City Airport employs 10 FAA workers, but today, it’s empty.

"I’m hoping for the best and trying to prepare for the worst,” Tonya Dengler.
For the past eight years, Dengler has worked for the Federal Aviation Administration at the Capital City Airport in New Cumberland.

As an aviation safety assistant, it’s her job to ensure the planes we ride are built safely. But as of today, she’s being forced to stay home.  

“The bills keep coming on a monthly basis. You have savings and you can always dip into that but ultimately you want to go and do the job you were hired to do and serve your country as a civil servant,” said Dengler. 

This wife and mother of three, has no way of knowing when she’ll get her next paycheck. All she can do is wait, budget her money, and make the best of it.  
“I’m enjoying my children today,” she said with a smile. 

But not everyone at the FAA is affected. Air traffic controllers and TSA agents, for example, are still on the job, but Dengler is considered “non-essential," a term she and her co-workers may dispute.

"I understand it,” admitted Dengler. “I understand that what I do is not going to protect us from a national security standpoint. But I’m pretty essential to my family.”

The last time there was a government shutdown in 1995 the furloughed federal employees did get back pay, but there’s no guarantee that will happen this time. 
Local employees feel effects of furlough, worry about future


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