From Plant Press Vol. 16 no. 4, October 2013
By Gary A. Krupnick
Editor of The Plant Press
Head of the Plant Conservation Unit
This issue of The Plant Press, originally scheduled to be published during early October, is seeing a late release due to the U.S. government shutdown. The enforced shutdown was due to a lack of appropriations for fiscal year 2014. It occurred during the first 16 days of October and resulted in the closing of the Smithsonian Institution, all of its museums and the National Zoo. The majority of the federal staff was furloughed. The effect of the shutdown was significant on the activities of the U.S. National Herbarium and the livelihood of its workforce
Most Department staff members were sent home in a non-duty and non-pay status. Due to the Anti-Deficiency Act, we were specifically instructed not to conduct work at our workplace or any alternative worksite. We were not permitted to continue our research as an unpaid volunteer, and thus all of our studies were halted. Federal employees were not permitted to use or access any Smithsonian system including email, and we could be subjected to fines and legal actions for doing so. Employees were prohibited from using all Smithsonian issued equipment, including mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Visiting researchers who had planned to work in the herbarium suddenly found their research brought to a halt.