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More Ridiculousness From The Govt Closings

Posted by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 5:22 PM
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This is from a local newspaper:

During commissioners' business at the Oct. 7 meeting of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, Board Chairman Warren Judge commented that "serious times" have come to Dare County. Noting that federal employees furloughed from their jobs during the current government shutdown will in due course receive delayed pay checks, Judge said, "But I want to know what the federal government is going to do for those of us who have lost our wages and our jobs."

    Referring to the Avon Fishing Pier, which had announced on Friday its intention to reopen in spite of the government shutdown, Judge said, "We have a business in Dare County that opened their business on Saturday. They were told to shut down that night. They opened their business again on Sunday. They were filmed, they were recorded. And they were met by the authorities today and were blocked from opening their business.

    "They're going to be charged for defying a federal government order — both the manager and the owner. It is a sad day. And I don't have the answer for it today, but we need to find an answer."

    Judge added that he would like to see some civic and community minded attorneys step forward and advise the county on legal action it can take to help private business owners "who are standing up for their business."

    Noting that a small portion of the Avon Pier is located within National Park Service property — making it technically a Park Service "concession" — Commissioner Allen Burrus commented, "I think there are times when the superintendent of the Park Service just needs to stand up and be a man. And I don't mean having a gun strapped on you and a badge and harassing good people working in villages. Yes, some of that business is a concession, but some of it is his own property. He pays taxes to Dare County on some of that property. And they're preventing him from making a living.

    "There are some things that bureaucracy can stop — and should stop."

    Pier Manager Keith Matthews told the Sentinel he arrived at the pier at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday to find a cable across the entrance to the ramp leading to the pier, with signs that said, "Closed by National Park Service due to government shutdown."

    Waiting a half hour after the rangers had left the facility, Matthews said he decided to take down the barriers and signs and open the pier for business. He then observed that the rangers had returned two hours later and were taking pictures from the parking lot and beach.

    Returning Monday morning, Matthews said the barriers and signs were back up again and he was confronted by the rangers, who told him he "had better not open up again today."

    Asking them what would happen if he did, Matthews said he was told, "It will not be pretty." The rangers added that charges were being filed against him and pier owner Ed Nunnally "for breach of contract" for defying a federal order to keep the facility closed.

    "I don't blame the Park Service for this," Matthews reflected. "They're getting orders from higher up — from D.C. The rangers are just doing what they've been told to do. They told me that — with the government shutdown — they were not getting paid for coming out and shutting me down. But they were told that, if they want to save their jobs, they needed to do this.

    "What concerns me is our employees. We're a seasonal business, and our employees need the income from the rest of this season. Some of them have been with us seven, eight or nine years — and one has been here as long as I have: 19 years. Their bills aren't going to go away just because they have no income.

    "I've been talking to Commissioner Judge, giving him daily updates. And today I told him they were going to use force to keep us from opening. I appreciate his support and the support of all the commissioners.

    "The attorneys for the pier are reading through our contract to find out what's really in it. The rangers told me the Park Service owns our pier house. That's news to our owner, because he thought he owned it. He spent $60,000 for lumber and repairs after Hurricane Sandy — and you don't spend that kind of money on property you don't own.

    "Since this is a government shutdown — and we don't have a single government employee working here — I don't see how this should affect us. Open or closed, I'll be in there every single day. They told me, 'We can not stop you from going into the building, but we can stop you from opening for business.' One thing is for sure: I'm not giving up on this."

by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 5:22 PM
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