Shutdown of federal government begins to take hold in Downtown Pittsburgh

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The William S. Moorhead Federal Building in Downtown Pittsburgh was open this morning but the partial shutdown of the federal government meant some offices were closed.

Federal courts were functioning but some prosecutors and staff were off because of the shutdown.

Employees entering through federal building security complained that they were coming in to work just to change their voicemail messages to reflect the shutdown.

Several IRS offices that usually serve the public were closed, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

The Social Security Administration, which is expected to remain funded, was operating. Veterans Administration offices were open, and one manager said they expected to remain so through this week.

Neither security nor the General Services Administration, which runs the building, had any list reflecting the status of the many offices in the building.

General Services Administration employees appeared to be preparing to shut down operations, but referred all questions to a Philadelphia-based spokeswoman, who could not be reached.

An alternative GSA spokeswoman, based in New York City, referred all questions to an email address and said she was in the process of shutting down her office.

Federal courts were functioning normally and were expected to continue functioning for several weeks even if the shutdown continues.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton's office was implementing rolling, partially voluntary furloughs.

Assistant U.S. attorney Leo Dillon, filling in for furloughed spokeswoman Margaret Philbin, said some prosecutors, support staff and administrative staff were off work because of the shutdown.

Mr. Dillon said the office implemented "a rotation system where people volunteer even if they might otherwise be excepted" to remain in their jobs because of their roles in criminal prosecutions and other essential functions.

That way, he said, no one part of the office or group of employees would be disproportionately affected.

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Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published October 1, 2013 2:15 PM


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