Fort Sumter tours resume (copy)

Tour boats are running back to Fort Sumter after the federal government shutdown ended Friday. File

Federal employees in South Carolina returned to work Monday with the anticipation of being paid for the first time in a month following Friday's end of the partial government shutdown.

At least 3,000 workers in the state were affected directly by the 35-day standoff that ended when President Donald Trump agreed to end his demand for border wall funding versus the Democratically controlled House's stance to reopen the government.

The agreement struck Friday keeps the government running until Feb. 15 while both sides in Congress address the president's border security demands.

Here's a breakdown of some of what happened Monday as federal agencies got going in the South Carolina.

Getting paid

While getting back pay for those who were made to work during the shutdown and for those who were made to stay home was never in doubt, it could be several days before money gets moving.

Most workers should be able to have their cash by the end of this week, former S.C. congressman and now acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

"Some of them could be early this week," Mulvaney said. "Some of them may be later this week, but we hope that by the end of this week, all of the back pay will be made up and, of course, the next payroll will go out on time."

One of the hurdles is that the federal government has multiple payroll providers who will have to sort out and catch up on the workforce.

Federal employees missed two paychecks during the shutdown.

Charleston/SC airports

Air travel may start picking up in the state now that the fear of long lines at airports around the country is ebbing. 

“Everybody is back to work today, and we are getting back to normal,” said Steven Corey, federal security director of Transportation Security Administration for South Carolina. “Everything’s good. We never saw much degradation anyway.”

He called morale good and said workers were glad the five-week partial government shutdown is over.

“One of the principle priorities now is to get our folks paid by the end of the week,” Corey said.

The head of Charleston International Airport thanked TSA agents for working without pay during the shutdown to maintain passenger flow and not disrupt flights leaving Charleston.

He said operations were running normally Monday and he expected travel to pick back up now that the shutdown is over.

“We have had a lower number of passengers than normal during January,” he said.

January is generally the slowest month of the year for the passenger traffic at Charleston International.

Fort Sumter National Monument

The fort reopened to full visitation and staffing Sunday, along with nearby Fort Moultrie, and the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Mount Pleasant.

Employees "are happy to be back at work, serving the American people and welcoming visitors to their national parks," a news release said.

The park had been open on a limited basis since Fort Sumter Tours had been financing the opening of Fort Sumter and the Liberty Square Visitor Education Center since Jan. 15.

Spokeswoman Dawn Davis said there no reports of damage or problems at the sites.

Coast Guard

Some 800 Charleston-area Coast Guard members returned to work Monday knowing they will soon get a paycheck after they worked unpaid during the government shutdown.

Sector spokesman Lt. J.B. Zorn said morale took a small hit locally during the shutdown but is starting to creep back up.

"It was a stressful time for anyone, our Coast Guard families included," Zorn said. "We all want to get back to normal operations and doing the work we do. What we want to do is talk about the work the Coast Guard does, and not a government shutdown."

When exactly Coast Guard members will get paid is still being worked out, based on how quickly appropriations can be allocated.

Zorn said he's heard they will know details by the end of the week about when Coast Guard members will get paid since they are on a different schedule than most civilian federal workers.

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The majority of the U.S. military falls under the Department of Defense, which was funded during the shutdown.

The Coast Guard, however, is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which was affected by the month-long standoff.

National Weather Service Charleston

The 22-person forecasting center in North Charleston was at full staff during the shutdown, but they were working without pay.

The mood was positive Monday.

“I think we’re upbeat,” said meteorologist Mike Emlaw, with the National Weather Service office, where staff showed up Monday to find their phone line down, apparently from a cut cable.

The office had begun the process of filing for back pay, Emlaw said.

Charleston Housing Authority

The municipal Charleston Housing Authority did not see its day-to-day operations affected during the shutdown, but its executive director said the housing agency has been anxiously awaiting details about two federal grants that total $3.3 million.

Don Cameron, president and CEO of the Charleston Housing Authority, said Monday that he's giving the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development 48 hours to go through emails and telephone messages.

"But tomorrow we will be on the phone with HUD saying let's unlock this funding," Cameron said.

The funding requests were $3 million for capital improvements and about $360,000 for keeping two employees whose work is dedicated to helping public housing residents find employment. 

"On the morning of the shutdown, we received by electronic notice that we had been awarded the funds for the second grant — the one for the two employees. But after the shutdown, we couldn't access any additional information about how much we had been awarded or anything," Cameron said.

Normally, Cameron said, the details of these grants in years past would have been known by Dec. 31. Still, he said the office is optimistic. He received word Monday morning that HUD's plans for the next three weeks are to make funding available for March and April should another shutdown occur.

"The good news is we know we have the funding. It's a renewal grant, but we want to know if we got 100 percent of what we applied for and when it starts," he said.

Reporters Warren Wise and Bo Petersen contributed to this report.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.

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