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Shutdown Roundup: TSA Workers Call in Sick, Free Classes For Feds and Park Funding Concerns

The shutdown continues to have far-reaching effects.

Many of the federal employees furloughed during the partial shutdown live in the Washington, D.C., area, so American University's School of Public Affairs on Tuesday is offering a day of management training classes that is entirely free for public servants. The schedule includes classes on bridging generations in offices, project management and emotional intelligence in leadership. Space is limited, registration is required and the classes are in-person only. A federal ID is required. Read more or register at AU.

The National Park system has been a symbol of recent shutdowns because park closures or cuts in service are highly visible to the public. Even though the National Park Service has kept many parks open during this shutdown, there have been problems with trash and human waste. NPS officials said Sunday that the agency will "take the unprecedented step of tapping entrance fees to pay for expanded operations at its most popular sites," according to a Sunday report in The Washington Post. “We are taking this extraordinary step to ensure that parks are protected, and that visitors can continue to access parks with limited basic services,” National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said in a statement. Congressional Democrats and other critics cited the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to note that the move is potentially illegal. “The Department of Interior is very likely violating appropriations law,” Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., told the Post. Read more at The Washington Post.

It's not just feds and contractors who are feeling the financial strain of the shutdown. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department's bankruptcy trustees are having to "delay payments from collapsed companies to former workers and other creditors who weren’t paid during a business’s final days of operation." Trustees in charge of payments are not furloughed, but one trustee told the paper that those in charge of reviewing and approving reports are not working and the process “is not considered an excepted activity.” One bankruptcy lawyer told the Journal that those feeling the strain most will be people relying on the income from the payments and small businesses that were not paid by firms that went bankrupt. “They may have their own financial problems as a result of the [company or individual’s] bankruptcy, so whether they get a distribution and when they get it is important to them,” Massachusetts bankruptcy lawyer and trustee Steven Weiss said. Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

Transportation Security Administration agents are among the federal employees who are working without paychecks during the shutdown, and some are starting to call in sick. According to a TSA spokesman, 5.5 percent of TSA workers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport called out sick on Friday, compared to a normal day's 3.5 percent. "If you don't have a check to pay your bills, what are you going to do?" Rudy Garcia, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1040, told NBC News. TSA also tweeted over the weekend that it is "closely monitoring the situation," but that "security effectiveness will not be compromised" due to the sick out. In response to the agents doing unpaid work, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is giving free parking to TSA employees during the shutdown at one of the airport's parking garages. Read more on the sick out at NBC News, and more on the TSA parking situation in Atlanta at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution