Yesterday marked the first day back to work for 380,000 federal employees. In Wrangell, many of those workers are at the U.S. Forest Service office.
Tori Houser is the acting Wrangell District Ranger. Previous Ranger Bob Dalrymple recently retired.
“There’s a myriad of emotions. Everyone’s furlough experience was a little different. We’re trying to be really sensitive to all of our employees, and how they’re feeling coming back,” Houser said. “Generally here in Wrangell, people are excited and glad to be back working.”
Houser says the district’s first priority is to submit all paperwork to ensure folks receive their backpay. That includes those that worked without pay and those who were on leave. White House representatives have said workers should receive compensation by the end of the week.
Other than that, Houser says the Forest Service is getting people settled and looking to play catch-up.
“So we’re talking to people, having some meetings, having a regional meeting, and of course we’re coming back and figuring out what our budgets are like and how to re-prioritize all our work,” she said.
There are roughly 20 employees at the local district.