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October 5, 2013

Me 'n' the Gov'mnt

So, we were told—I was told, or I heard somewhere along the line—that UNAVCO, where I'm working as a "temporary" employee these days, would not be affected by the government shutdown. Indeed, UNAVCO is not a government organization. But we are, like so many other organizations not represented in articles and infographics, funded by the government. Most of UNAVCO's funding comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF), with a much smaller chunk from NASA and an even smaller chunk from other sources. I don't know how the money distribution works, but apparently we don't just have a wad of cash from NSF to spend for the year (or the next five, which is what our grant is for). Perhaps we would have if it weren't at the beginning of the fiscal year. Either way, I'm cut off from hours until the government cranks on that lever and starts up the lights again.

I'm cut off because the decision was made (passive, because I don't know who made it and there's no reason to point fingers) to shut down funds to temporary employees, in addition to some other funding cuts. I was feeling maybe a little picked on (I mean, how much of their budget do I really take?) until an e-mail just came out reporting even more drastic measures: Salary cuts across the organization to keep UNAVCO running, at least for a bit. A salary cut that's not so much to cough at, for some. The org assures that this cut is in place "with the intent to restore retro pay when federal funds become accessible," which sounds just a little tenuous to me. Regardless, UNAVCO is taking one for the team. Whatever that means.

Also, the Antarctic season is in jeopardy. Right now is when everyone is heading south—or planning to. If you're not already down there... Well, hope you make it.

Posted by beth at October 5, 2013 7:14 PM

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