SHUTDOWN NOTEBOOK: First Family to Make Do With Two Chefs
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The first family will find little change in its pampered lifestyle, even with a partial government shutdown. A reduced staff of maids, butlers, chefs, electricians and engineers will keep the Clintons in comfort.
But Neel Lattimore, spokesman for the first lady’s office, said the normal White House mansion staff of 70 would be reduced to:
_One chef in the day and one in the evening. ``As soon as the Clintons are done eating, he would go home,″ Lattimore said of the evening chef.
_One butler in the day, another in the evening.
_One usher in the day, another in the evening.
_Two housekeepers in the day, one in the evening.
_One engineer in the day, one on the evening shift and two on the overnight.
_One electrician in the day, one at night.
_A person to monitor the building’s computer operation.
In the West Wing, the president’s professional staff of about 430 would be reduced to about 90, including a reduced staff of telephone operators, spokesmen, budget experts and senior staff.
His security team also is excluded from layoffs.
White House press secretary Mike McCurry was to work, but deputies Mary Ellen Glynn and Ginny Terzano were told they would be sent home.
Political director Doug Sosnik also was told he was not an essential employee.
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 16-person professional staff would be reduced to four during a partial government shutdown.
Among the federal facilities staying dark in the shutdown were a number of sites around the country commemorating former presidents and other famous people.
In Michigan, Jim Kratsas, acting director of the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, expected to send home more than 30 employees including those at the Ford library in Ann Arbor. ``I’ve got a ton of work to do and it won’t stop when we’re not here,″ said Kratsas.
In Missouri, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, formally known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and the home of former President Truman in Independence were to be closed.
In Georgia, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta was among 10 National Park Service facilities being closed.
In West Orange, N.J., there was uncertainty at the Edison National Historic Site. ``I’m not sure we’ve made our final decision about what we’re going to do,″ said Linda Deveau, administrative officer of the 36-employee federal tribute to the inventor of the light bulb.
Uncertainty surrounds the thousands of workers employed by private companies that build weapons and aircraft for the Pentagon. Their jobs depend on military spending, but less directly than if they worked for the government itself.
At Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Conn., which makes the Black Hawk helicopter, production is funded well in advance, insulating the company from a short-term interruption in government spending, said Bill Tuttle, a spokesman.
At General Dynamics Corp.’s Electric Boat Division in Groton, where thousands of people work on the Seawolf submarine program, the situation was less clear.
Electric Boat submits invoices to the government every two weeks, said Neil Ruenzel, the company’s spokesman. It has already been paid for work it has performed, and another round of invoices is due to be submitted at the end of the month.
Ruenzel could not say how long Electric Boat could continue paying its workers should the government fail to pay the next round of invoices.
At least one congressman pledged to freeze his own salary for the duration of the shutdown.
``I cannot accept my congressional pay with a clear conscience while federal workers in the 2nd District of Kansas are furloughed,″ said Rep. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. ``Congressmen should be treated like all furloughed government employees during a partial government shutdown, and I plan to lead by example.″