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NC employees furloughed following government shutdown

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

As many as 6,000 state workers whose jobs are fully or partially funded by the federal government are at risk of being furloughed following the government shutdown. 

The impact would hit non-essential state employees who are in federally funded positions at departments like DHHS and Commerce. Gov. Pat McCrory said at Tuesday's Council of State meeting that state officials would meet all day in DHHS and Commerce to sort through who would be furloughed.

The biggest group potentially impacted is at DHHS, a total of 4,500 workers. A total of 337 DHHS workers were notified Tuesday to not report to their jobs starting Wednesday.

"Part of the challenge is, where is the line drawn?" budget director Art Pope said. "The gray area is whether state administered federal programs are considered critical or noncritical by the federal government."

Ricky Diaz, communications director for DHHS, said the U.S. government sent instructions to the state concerning furloughs, but that Medicaid and state-operated healthcare facilities will not be affected.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said Tuesday afternoon that it had 65 full-time DOT positions and six part-time positions either fully or partially funded by federal dollars (16 of those positions are currently vacant). DOT said in a statement that it "was instructed to furlough 22 NCDOT employees immediately."

The federal government shutdown hit Tuesday morning after Congress failed to find a way to fund the government beyond Sept. 30.

Pope, McCrory and other state officials discussed the implications on state government at a meeting Tuesday morning.

The Department of Labor has a reported 100 jobs at risk. 

The union representative for federal government employees in N.C. said an estimated 11 of the 1,500 employees at the EPA office in Raleigh have been furloughed.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences located in Research Triangle Park furloughed 1,300 workers.

Federal employees working at National Parks across the state, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Cape Hatteras, have been furloughed leaving the tourist spots shut down.

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