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What Aux. should (and should not) do in a Fed. Gov. Shutdown.
Last Post 05 Feb 2014 09:43 AM by VicNaz1. 21 Replies.
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VicNaz1User is Offline
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VicNaz1

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19 Mar 2013 07:49 AM

    What Aux. are supposed to do if the Fed. Gov. has a shutdown has been the topic of confusion, especially confusion associated the difference between the administration's implementation of "sequestration" budget cuts and the entirely different issue of the Federal Budget (and lack thereof) and the continuing resolutions (called a CR in GovSpeak) that keep the government operating on a temporary basis.


    First up, sequestration did not shut down the Aux. and all Aux. should go about their regular business with the one caveat, double check funding for your activities! Some Patrols and other activities may have been put on hold for the time being due to the lack of SAMA money or other funding. If an activity is funded entirely from Flotilla funds, it's probably not a problem. If the activity is "reimbursable" from the active duty Coast Guard (gold side) you need to double check by having your FC zap a note to your DirAux. When in doubt, triple check.


    Secondly, apart from sequestration, if congress does not fund the government with a CR or a Budget there should be no Aux. activities that will be officially sanctioned. This isn't a $$ thing directly, it has a lot to do with liability. Technically, when working on activities for the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, members are to be considered employees of the U. S. Coast Guard for various liability, management and other issues. This is NOT to be confused with being in the Active Duty or being a GS worker as a civilian. This is something of a hybrid circumstance and members should go out-of-their-way(s) to read all of the material on this subject in Article 14 and the Aux. Manual and understand it throughly. When a directive comes through that says, "non essential personnel..." that applies to Aux. too.


    Anyway, the above means that during a shutdown, Aux. are not allowed to do anything official. If you want to study for something, you are doing so on your 'own' time (yes I know that sounds silly since we're not getting paid) but that's the rule. Do not put on your uniform and do not go to meetings, inspect boats or any other activity that would be an obvious Auxiliary activity. If you come across an accident victim, feel free to help them but remember you are doing so under Good Samaritan law (which is rather strong I understand) rather than as a Coast Guard operative. As a side note, you DO have to use your own moral judgement ladies and gentlemen. I know in my heart of hearts I simply cannot turn away when I see someone in dire need but that's just me personally. If there is a government shutdown, the fact is that Uncle Sam might not help you if you help someone else. Sad but true.


    Be realistic in your thinking on this folks. The above restrictions do not mean you cannot talk with other Aux. folks or must avoid contact with them, it means that you can't be doing so 'officially' and that you don't have liability coverage if something goes wrong when you do so. No uniforms and no patrols. If you have a C-school trip, it's probably toast. If you are an instructor scheduled to teach TCT or boating safety, the same thing applies.  I believe this all applies even to augmentation to the active duty. If there is a shutdown and you are a Watchstander, AuxChef , Aviation Tech., Instructor, Academy Partner, Boat Crew, etc. you should call station and talk to the OOD, O in C, Commander, etc. and make sure he or she knows you are not allowed to come in for your shift or other duty. If you are an interpreter or other key augmentation personnel and you get a call to come in, for any reason, you have to point out that the DirAux. must authorize it before you take any action and that he is extremely unlikely to be able to do so. I believe the DirAux. would have to get approval from someone with stars on his or her shoulders in order to make that happen. Whatever the case, it's not trivial and it's probably not do-able.


    That said, the long and the short of it is, when you're doing Aux. things, even run-of-the-mill stuff like studying for a Qual. or sewing patches on your ODUs you are considered an employee of the Coast Guard. You must follow the rules for employees even though you may not get any of the entitlements granted to paid employees. In essence, if you do an activity that would be recorded and/or reported on an 7029 or 7030 form or any of the other forms that manage and document your activities you should simply not do that activity if there is a shutdown. 


    As always, speak with your FC. There is no good reason not to communicate with your FC or VFC if you have a question about an activity and if you are doing something, anything that might be considered Aux. related, even if it's on you 'own' time, keep them informed. If they say it's a bad idea, take that to heart. As Aux. we can't order each other around but leadership has many forms above and beyond compulsory direction. 

    NYBoUser is Offline
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    20 Mar 2013 08:20 PM
    Most distressing. I assume we will get official word of this through the chain of leadership should a shut-down occur. I'm an FC, and I haven't heard anything about this yet.
    VicNaz1User is Offline
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    VicNaz1

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    21 Mar 2013 08:29 AM
    Official word should have already been distributed both via electronic announcements and also verbally at District, Division and Flotilla meetings. Contact your Division Commander and get specifics from him or her and see if there are any special notes for your AOR. For now, it looks like we will be spared the trauma and drama of a shutdown, at least until September, so long as the do-nothing fools in Washington actually do something.

    Anyway, read, read, read. Much of what needs to be understood can be found in the various manuals we already have and communicating with each other. BTW, anyone who's dealing with a situation where they augment the active duty in any way, even if it's just AuxChef, should make sure their active duty contact/coordinator at station has a copy of the current Aux. Manual with the pertinent parts highlighted. I'm serious. That manual is a reference for the active duty guys as well as the Aux. and it spells out much of what needs to be known about use of the Aux. at an active duty post.

    Everyone should pretty much memorize the parts of Article 14 that deal with the Aux. It's only a few pages but it's pretty darn important and it pretty much defines who and what you are when you're in uniform or doing Coast Guard oriented work (both working with the AD and also doing Aux.-specific stuff).

    In September we'll still be at the height of Boating season in many places and if there is another threat of a shutdown we'll be having this discussion again, maybe with some more details. For now, all we need to worry about is funding. It looks like we'll be operating on reduced funds. As Aux. we're used to doing as much as we can with whatever we have, and doing it well.

    If I hit PowerBall, maybe I'll set up some sort of grant for Aux. activities, training, equipment or something like that. We'll have to wait and see.

    ;-)
    CGNY2013User is Offline
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    04 Apr 2013 07:24 AM
    Received this email yesterday Division 22:

    Questions have arisen regarding any effects of the Sequester. The final budget is not yet in but whatever it is, there will be no reductions in SAR or Security Escort Missions. Optional Law Enforcement Boardings would be the most likely area to be cut back.

    Good news!!!

    Semper Paratus!
    "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." C. S. Lewis
    VicNaz1User is Offline
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    04 Apr 2013 12:47 PM
    Let's hope there are no serious operational cuts. I know that the guys at stations are being told to maximize their training opportunities and everyone is on pins and needles about money. With the economy still way down I have seem several personnel who were otherwise considering getting out of the CG at the end of their current hitch reconsidering and maybe staying in.

    We'll have to see how it all works out for the next 4-5 months and then we have to go though it all again for the Fall. I love my nation but I've been scratching-my-head a lot lately at the seeming ineffectiveness of the majority of our elected leaders. I hope things improve soon.
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    01 Oct 2013 07:52 AM
    Vic,
    This post was prophetic. Here we are in a shutdown, with no end in sight... I personally haven't heard anything from any of our commands as of yet. Maybe they're taking a wait and see additude?
    Has anyone else gotten an official word yet?
    DUTY IS DOING IT, PRIDE IS WEARING IT, TRADITION IS LIVING IT. “DUTY FIRST” – CHIEF EDMUND ENWRIGHT, CHICAGO F.D. (RETIRED)
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    scoutdad25619

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    01 Oct 2013 11:00 AM
    Belay my last. I just got word. And I quote: "All AUX activities are SHUT DOWN."
    And there ya go.
    DUTY IS DOING IT, PRIDE IS WEARING IT, TRADITION IS LIVING IT. “DUTY FIRST” – CHIEF EDMUND ENWRIGHT, CHICAGO F.D. (RETIRED)
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    01 Oct 2013 03:00 PM
    I heard fairly early this morning, approx 0600 Central time, all auxiliary is temporarily in shut down. Sucks... hate to lose all of you even for a short amount of time.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
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    01 Oct 2013 05:02 PM
    I figured i would refresh my memory about the contents of this thread before heading to a Division meeting. Carp. And not a word from my chain of leadership.
    Blevins JCUser is Offline
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    02 Oct 2013 07:48 AM
    Good Morning,
         This is my first posting.  I came to this site as part of my task to find the official notice of what we can and can not do during the Government shutdown.  Other than word of mouth or an email, has anyone seen a notice from National or DHS informing us to cease all operations.  By operations all aux programs and in house business.

    John
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    scoutdad25619

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    02 Oct 2013 08:12 AM
    Other than the email that said we're shut-down from my FC. I haven't seen an ALAX or ALCOAST saying so either. BUT... You can take what Vic posted as good info, it correlates with what I received yesterday (not that I had any doubt). We're on vacation for the time being...
    DUTY IS DOING IT, PRIDE IS WEARING IT, TRADITION IS LIVING IT. “DUTY FIRST” – CHIEF EDMUND ENWRIGHT, CHICAGO F.D. (RETIRED)
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    02 Oct 2013 08:25 AM
    I just got a call from my FC this morning, saying that the organization as a whole is completely shut down. So no flotilla meetings, PE or PA events, etc, for any reason whatsoever.
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    02 Oct 2013 10:36 AM
    Our Flotilla Commander forwarded this email to us. I did not write it, so I cant vouch for its authenticity. 

    "
    I just want to be clear. Please pass this on to all members.

    If there is a government shutdown ALL Auxiliary activities must cease
    and desist. This includes meetings, training and operations.

    If members have any questions they can be directed to Chapter 2.B.25 of
    the AUXMAN.

    Thank you for your assistance,

    Juliet Hudson, CDR, USCG
    Director Auxiliary, District 8 Eastern Region
    600 Martin Luther King Pl.
    Louisville, KY 40202
    502-779-5321"






    (On a side note, although the Auxiliary is quazi/military/civilian federally attached. Once an organization starts collecting "Membership Dues",  they do fall under certain federal, tax and state laws regarding membership activities. Once "members" start paying dues they have certain rights under the law. I would find the prohibition of local meetings, highly suspect). 
    scoutdad25619User is Offline
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    03 Oct 2013 08:23 AM
    Okay... This should answer everone's questions:

    gaux.org/leadership/documents/naco_guidance/NACO_Guidance%20_5.pdf

    (It wont hotlink, and I cant copy/paste it either. It's a letter from NACO Mallison)
    DUTY IS DOING IT, PRIDE IS WEARING IT, TRADITION IS LIVING IT. “DUTY FIRST” – CHIEF EDMUND ENWRIGHT, CHICAGO F.D. (RETIRED)
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    03 Oct 2013 07:31 PM
    Yes, we finally were sent the NACO's letter as an Everbridge e-mail last night.
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    04 Oct 2013 07:47 AM
    Closing the local Flotilla meetings (in different states and jurisdictions) from Dues paying members, is probably questionable. Although the Auxiliary is quazi/military/civilian federally attached. Once an organization starts collecting "Membership Dues" (which is suspect in its on right),  they do fall under certain federal, tax and state laws regarding membership activities.  Once "members" start paying dues they have certain rights under the law. 
    This is probably something that should be addressed by your Congessmen (with a bill addressing this matter along with a uniform stipend & removal of Flotilla dues) in the future. It obviously does not make sense to close a volunteer force during a government furlough period. More action needs to be taken through congressional action, concerning the Auxiliary. Its the same story in local government, you generally department heads afraid to ask for items. It takes people contacting the legislative branch to get action.....

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    06 Oct 2013 06:51 AM
    It actually does make sense, since a lot of Aux functions are subject to reimbursement through CG operational funding. With no budget, it would be illegal for the CG to authorize the use of appropriated funding for those functions.

    As for the collection of dues, is that a requirement in the Aux manual, or is that something that is done simply because its always been done? What are the dues used for? Who collects them? Seems sketchy to me, especially if that is being required of you.
    You can meet the standard, or you can set the standard. It's your choice.
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    17 Oct 2013 04:04 PM
    Now that the gov't shutdown is over, does anyone know when the Auxiliary re-opens and functions resume?
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    17 Oct 2013 08:33 PM
    The word we got was "Wait until an All-Hands from District comes down". And so we wait...
    DUTY IS DOING IT, PRIDE IS WEARING IT, TRADITION IS LIVING IT. “DUTY FIRST” – CHIEF EDMUND ENWRIGHT, CHICAGO F.D. (RETIRED)
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    04 Nov 2013 01:17 PM
    I'm sure glad to be back at it. It was double pain since my contract job at the FAA was shutdown AND I wasn't allowed to do much Aux. stuff.

    My understanding is that in some areas the local DirAux. did give permission for Aux. to do home study and paperwork. If that is the case you should have gone ahead and done that stuff and you can now catch up on your paperwork (only form 7029 stuff with no travel) and see what can be done to catch up on elections, inspections, patrols, training and augmententing the Active Duty.

    I really, REALLY hope this doesn't happen again in Jan. / Feb.
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    06 Nov 2013 06:38 AM
    We were given permission to do on-line classes and the like and being the FSO-HR, I had many conversations with prospective recruits who were/are antsy to get the joining process started or completed. I think we may have lost one or two because of the shutdown, and that bothers me. But it is what it is. I share your sentiments about this winter, but I'm not holding my breath.
    DUTY IS DOING IT, PRIDE IS WEARING IT, TRADITION IS LIVING IT. “DUTY FIRST” – CHIEF EDMUND ENWRIGHT, CHICAGO F.D. (RETIRED)
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    05 Feb 2014 09:43 AM
    OK, we're looking at Debt Ceiling and some have asked how this works for us. For now, Aux. are unaffected even if the debt ceiling is not raised because funding is still officially flowing. This does not preclude the possibility that command may issue special instructions for Aux. activities due to spending cuts or other funding tightness. Thus, we need to play close attention and stay in touch with our Chain of Leadership. If you have a tendency to only check eMail once a week, start doing it once a day at a minimum. If you know someone in your Flotilla who has trouble with computers, make a point of calling them or visiting them more often. In fact, that's all not a bad 4th cornerstone practice anyway.

    As exemplified by the recent shutdown and directives issued it can be assumed that non-reimbursable, personal study is probably OK for Aux. Anything involving $ or travel or the potential of liability should be verified as OK before doing it.
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