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Furloughed employees at U.S. Army Corps head back to work

Find out how the government shutdown affected engineering projects in Lake Michigan
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)--Thousands of federal employees headed back to work Thursday after being furloughed for 16 days.

The government shutdown forced about 300 employees at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit to stay home, according to Tom O’Bryan the Area Engineer for the Lake Michigan Area Office.

“It is great to be back to work and have a full staff on board but there’s a lot of catch up we’re doing,” O’Bryan said.

About 80-percent of their employees were furloughed during the shutdown.

The remaining employees supervised on-going projects.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit is in charge of engineering projects for Lake Michigan including the Cat Island Project off of Green Bay.

While the shutdown did not impact the progress of current projects, because they were funded by the 2013 budget and Great Lakes Initiative Programs, it did however delay the planning for future operations.

“It made certain things difficult.  We couldn’t modify the contracts at all because we didn’t have those personal on place. So we just had to postpone a few minor things until the workforce got back up but didn’t really delay anything it just postponed it a little and it should get everything back to normal in a week or so,” O’Bryan said.

O’Bryan tells Local 5 that no investments were lost but the shutdown did come at a very busy time for them as far as planning.

The end of each fiscal year is when the U.S. Army Corps budgets for next year’s projects.

Planning for 2014 dredging projects in Green Bay was on hold during the shutdown but O’Bryan said it won’t delay the projects start dates.  

“They’re working frantically right now to catch up and about a week, week and a half, we should be all caught up and back to our normal process.”

All of the employees that were furloughed will receive back pay.

O’Bryan said everyone is happy to be back at work.

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