KSC, Patrick AFB brace for possible government shutdown



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Employees at the Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force Base are preparing for the possibility of a government shutdown in Brevard County.

The shutdown could mean unpaid furloughs for thousands of Brevard County workers.

That could mean more financial hardship for an area already hit hard by previous layoffs.

There is a lot of uncertainty for thousands of workers who don't know if they'll report to work the rest of this week.

It's all the customers from the space center who frequent Steve's Family Diner could talk about.

"They don't know what's going to happen to them," said Bill Peros of Steve's Family Diner.

The diner caters to the Titusville community and the many Kennedy Space Center workers who are a part of it.

After years of layoffs, Peros finds the idea of federal furloughs particularly distasteful.

"They got bills to pay. They got lives to live, they got kids. Who's going to take care of them? Who's going to support their kids? Somebody's got to start thinking about it," Peros said.

NASA has a shutdown plan in place if a last-minute deal to fund the government isn't reached Monday night.

The vast majority of KSC's 2,078 civil servants would go on unpaid furloughs after what's described as an orderly shutdown.

"We are identifying people who would need to stay here and work, which is not that many. Most people would be on furlough and in an unpaid status 'til the government resumes operations," Lisa Malone of KSC public affairs said.

Eyewitness News learned Monday some KSC and Patrick Air Force Base contractedemployees would be paid in the event of furloughs, but it depends on their employer.

There are an estimated 6,000 contract employees at KSC alone.

The KSC credit union said it will offer interest-free loans to affected employees.