Deal will provide pay to Coast Guard, other federal workers

By Stephen Betts | Jan 25, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Jeff Kinney, who serves in the Coast Guard from Belfast, receives a free haircut from Laurie Cormier-Cole at Joe's Hair Styling in Rockland.

Congress and the White House reached a deal Friday, Jan. 25, to temporarily end the longest U.S. government shutdown in history.

This means paychecks will be on the way for federal workers, many of whom have been required to work without pay for five weeks.

The agreement comes as the local community's effort to help those not receiving paychecks expanded.

The pact, announced by President Donald Trump from the Rose Garden, would reopen closed government departments for three weeks while leaving the issue of $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall to further talks.

Trump said that a congressional conference committee would spent the next three weeks working in a bipartisan fashion to come up with a border security package.

There are more than 100 Coast Guard crew members based in Rockland.

Rockland has been designated a Coast Guard City since 2008 because of its support for and close ties to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has been located on the Tillson Avenue peninsula since shortly after the end of World War II.

The base pay for a Coast Guard staff member coming out of basic training is $1,981 per month, with a housing allowance of $1,131 to $1,506 per month.

Offers of aid have come from all segments of the community.

Dot Black, a co-chair of the Rockland Coast Guard City Committee, said she was proud of the community for stepping up and helping the men and women who continue to do their jobs protecting our freedom.

"One of my concerns is that the Coast Guard culture and personal pride may prevent them from asking for help in this time of need. Reach out to our families affected with no pay. Make sure they know where to ask for help. If you were in distress they would give their lives to save you. I was fortunate to have two outstanding Coast Guard men in my life, they both had the same quote, 'We have to go out, we don't have to come home.' They deserve our support. Semper Paratus," Black said.

Coast Guard City Co-Chair Cynthia Powell said dropoff locations were created at both the Hampton Inn in Thomaston and the Rockland Harbor Inn in Rockland.

"We have been very fortunate that many local individuals, businesses and organizations along with the city of Rockland, have stepped up and asked how to help. So many people want to know what they can do. The generosity and support of the local community has been a great morale boost as well as providing much-needed assistance to our local USCG personnel," she said.
"We would also encourage the local community to consider donating to local food pantries so that other individuals, in addition to USCG who may be affected by the shutdown, can also receive assistance," Powell said.
Businesses that have offered assistance include Ada's Kitchen, Domino's Pizza, Maritime Energy, Moran Insurance, Loyal Biscuit, the Farnsworth Art Museum and Joe's Hair Styling. Camden National Bank has agreed to defer January mortgage payments for federal workers, and that the process is quick and simple.
The Midcoast Area Veterans Memorial donated $500 Friday to the Coast Guard City committee.
James Leach of Jimmy's Rentals said he has eight Coast Guard families who rent apartments and that they were all told that he would wait for the shutdown to end for rent payments from them. "I am confident all landlords in the Midcoast and across the county are doing the same," Leach said.
Comments (2)
Posted by: Drucinda Woodman | Jan 25, 2019 16:41

Great!  And Hopefully they will GET their back pay and next paycheck ASAP !!!!! It will still take till next week anyway,



Posted by: Ananur Forma | Jan 25, 2019 15:54

this is good news!



If you wish to comment, please login.