No Pay for Coast Guard

Private group raising money for daily needs
As of Tuesday, members of the Coast Guard, which has stations in Montauk and at the Shinnecock Inlet, are working without paychecks as the federal government shutdown continues into its fifth week. Jane Bimson

Members of the Coast Guard stationed in Montauk and Shinnecock, like others throughout the country, did not receive expected paychecks on Tuesday as a result of the federal government shutdown, which is entering its 27th day today. One-time emergency paychecks went out at the end of last month, but Coast Guard employees are now continuing to work without compensation.

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military unable to pay its members during the shutdown because its funding comes from the Department of Homeland Security. All other branches of the military receive funding from the Department of Defense, whose fiscal 2019 budget was approved before the shutdown.

“Unfortunately, without an appropriation, a continuing resolution, or another legislative measure, the Coast Guard will not be able to meet the 15th payroll,” was the message on the Coast Guard’s web page. 

Coast Guard Station Montauk is an active search and rescue and law enforcement unit, which operates in Gardiner’s and Napeague Bays, Block Island Sound, and the South Shore of Long Island, as well as areas along coastal Connecticut.

On Monday, Coast Guard Station Shinnecock updated its Facebook page, stating, “Due to the lapse in federal funding, information on this social media site may not be up to date.” The message came shortly before Coast Guard employees were to receive paychecks. 

New York Fish, a grassroots organization dedicated to recreational and commercial fishing, has stepped into the financial vacuum by fund-raising on behalf of the Coast Guard. The organization is funneling donations to the Long Island Chief Petty Officers Association, a fraternal organization, since legally donations cannot be given directly to the Coast Guard. 

“The men and women of the Coast Guard are heroes” and “fishermen recognize this,” Daniel G. Rodgers, the New York Fish director, said. “All of it . . . every penny” will be donated directly to members of the Long Island Coast Guard.

The money will be used to help members of the Coast Guard buy food and gas and make mortgage and car payments. Donations can be mailed to Long Island C.P.O.A., P.O. Box 71, West Sayville 11796. Information can be found on the New York Fish Facebook page and website.

The local Coast Guard took part in recovering a plane that crashed in the ocean off Amagansett in June, killing its occupants, who were highly regarded members of the community. A few weeks later, the Coast Guard saved seven people from a sinking ship in the waters off Montauk Point. These are only a few examples on a long list of vital efforts.