Coast Guard takes down tip sheet suggesting furloughed employees have garage sales, baby-sit

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 09, 2019

The US Coast Guard took down a tip sheet suggesting thousands of furloughed employees supplement their income by having garage sales, baby-sitting and becoming a “mystery shopper.”

The Washington Post reported that the tip sheet, titled “Managing Your Finances During a Furlough,” was posted on the website of the Coast Guard employee support program called CG SUPRT. According to the Post, after the newspaper inquired about the tip sheet the Coast Guard took down the document late Wednesday morning.

Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride confirmed the page had been taken down.

“The information in this document does not reflect the Coast Guard’s current efforts to support its workforce during the lapse,” he told CNN in a statement. “As such, it has been removed from the CG Support website.”

According to the Post, the five-page tip sheet encouraged furloughed employees to “be creative” and offered ideas for supplementing income like “have a garage sale – clean out your attic, basement and closets at the same time,” and “turn your hobby into income.”

Selling items online, baby-sitting, walking pets, tutoring and becoming a “mystery shopper” were all suggested ways to help employees cope with what is now the second-longest government shutdown in modern political history.

The partial government shutdown was in its 19th day on Wednesday, with an end not appearing imminent. President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday and called discussions with congressional Democrats “a total waste of time.”

The Post reported the tip sheet applied to the 8,500 civilians who make up the Coast Guard’s workforce. About 6,400 employees are on indefinite furlough, the Post reports, and 2,100 are essential employees working without pay. These employees were last paid for the two-week period ending on December 22, according to the Post.

“Yes, your credit score may suffer during this time,” the document reads, but it encourages employees to “keep things in perspective.” The tip sheet says that during times of financial stress the credit score “becomes secondary to taking care of the basic necessities for your family.”

“Bankruptcy is a last option,” the document reads.