Even though the budget cuts, commonly known as sequester, won't go into affect until midnight Friday, staff at Mount Rushmore National Memorial are already feeling the impact.
This is the time of year when the Park hires for the busy summer season, but due to the looming cuts, they have a hiring freeze in place. That's not the only change. That hiring freeze means they aren't filling any current open positions, and all travel and conferences scheduled for Park staff this year is canceled.
According to Mount Rushmore Public Information Officer, Maureen McGhee-Ballinger, about 6 weeks ago staff was asked to look at cutting their budgets by 5 percent this fiscal year, which began in October and ends in September. Originally they were told they'd have about three years to reduce their budget. "If it is not resolved we could be looking at potentially no summer seasonal staff, there would be a significant change in the hours of operation," McGhee-Ballinger said.
McGhee-Ballinger says even if it takes a month for Congress to find a solution, we'll still notice differences at the beginning of Mount Rushmore's summer season because of the delay in summer hires.