How Will the Shutdown Affect State and Local Government?

Public-sector CIOs report being mostly unaffected by the shutdown thus far, but what if it continues?

by / October 4, 2013

If you’re reading this, then the government shutdown has likely affected you. The shutdown -- the first in 17 years -- has closed and crippled dozens of government websites, furloughed thousands of employees, and thousands more work without pay until the shutdown ends. Journalists trying to reach federal employees in agencies that have been shut down now hear messages like this one:

“You have reached Jessica Robertson with the USGS. Due to a lapse in appropriations, I am prohibited from conducting work as a federal employee, including returning phone calls and emails until further notice.”

It looks like that article about the earthquake early detection system will have to wait. New applications for small business loans have been stopped, and parks and national monuments have been closed. The following websites are now inaccessible, replaced with messages about the shutdown:

  • (National Park Service)
  • (Library of Congress)
  • (Federal Trade Commission)

Many more government websites are not being updated or have limited availability, and most federal agencies have stopped social media updates, like NASA’s “asteroid watch” Twitter account.

So if an asteroid heads toward Earth, threatening all life, NASA won’t be the one telling everyone about it. But don’t worry, Congress is still getting their paychecks.

In San Francisco, the Department of Emergency Management postponed a series of disaster response exercises scheduled for the week of Oct. 7, citing the lack of ability of military personnel to participate due to the shutdown.

CIOs around the country shared with Government Technology how the shutdown has (or hasn’t) affected their day-to-day work life, so far.

Bill Greeves, Chief Information Officer, Wake County, N.C.

“We have not identified any direct impacts on our technology systems. We do interact with some state systems so it is possible that if things continue as they are we may have issues there, but as of today, there is no impact on any of the technologies that we support.”

Paul Baltzell, Chief Information Officer, Indiana

“This has had no effect on our technology efforts as we work on a bill-back model so it would have to be a long-term shutdown for it to start having an effect on us.”

Jonathan Reichental, Chief Information Officer, Palo Alto, Calif.

“Not me personally or my team at work [have been affected]. I’m not aware of any impact yet to the function of the city of Palo Alto. I suspect if this drags on, there will be a clear trickle-down impact.”

Ted Smith, Chief of Economic Growth and Innovation, Louisville, Ky., Metro Government

“The first obvious effect was the immediate unavailability of the site, which we count on to determine eligibility for some economic development programs. Federal websites have become a regular source of data and information for us.”

What about you? Has your agency been affected by the shutdown of the federal government? Tell us about it in the comments section below.


Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.

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