Don't get your security clearance all furloughed up

Monday - 3/7/2011, 9:31am EST

John Mahoney, employment attorney, Tully Rinckey

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

A government shutdown has been avoided for now. But if one would occur, federal employees with security clearances might want to be careful. John Mahoney, an employment attorney for Tully Rinckey, tells Federal News Radio security clearances are potentially at risk during a government shutdown.

"One of the major reasons for federal employees and contractors," explained Mahoney, "being at risk in terms of losing their security clearance are financial issues. And certainly if the government shuts down and federal employees and contractors aren't being paid for a number weeks, or, hopefully not, but possibly for a number of months, it could put them in financial situations that could put their security clearances at risk."

Mahoney said the impact of a shutdown should be one of the facets considered by Congress. "The real issue is that federal employees and contractors are real people with real families and real financial concerns and putting them out of work over a political debate, frankly, is completely unfair and it harms the American public."

Asked what should feds and contractors with clearances do now to protect themselves as this process moves forward, Mahoney made three suggestions:

  • To "realize this March 18th line in the sand deadline for this potential shutdown is looming large." Whatever you can do to save between now and then can help.

  • Ask for an adjusted payment plan. The "best idea" said Mahoney, is to contact your creditors and tell them that you're a government employee. Tell them if a shutdown occurs "there's a possibility that if that happens, I may not be able to make my payment on time. Is there something we can do to extend the payment deadline so that it doesn't become delinquent?"

  • Finally, said Manhoney, "folks need to be speaking with management chain in terms of 'how is this going to affect me in terms of my security clearance? Has the government really thought this out in terms of what could happen to their secured workforce if they're forced into a financial crisis as the result of a political decision to shut the government down?'"

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