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Independence National Historical Park Feeling Impact Of Government Hiring Freeze

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Visitors and employees of Independence National Historical Park are feeling the impact of the government’s hiring freeze with the closure of some historic sites and a set of restrooms.

Benjamin Franklin’s print shop along Market Street in Old City has a closed sign. It’s part of the hiring freeze.

David Fitzpatrick, the president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2058, says there just aren’t enough staff members to operate as normal.

“We do not have enough staffing to open the buildings and maintain the safety of those visitors,” Fitzpatrick said.

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He says maintenance staff alone is already down 40 percent.

Another building closed to visitors is the Thomas Jefferson House, where the Declaration of Independence was written.

A set of restrooms at 5th and Chestnut Streets have been shut down because of upkeep needs.

Mike Murphy from Wilkes-Barre use a cane to get around and he’s not thrilled about that.

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“If you are handicapped it is needed,” he said, “because it is a lot easier for me to walk into this facility here that’s closest as opposed to walking across the mall to use another facility.”

A statement from a spokeswoman with Independence National Historical Park reads in part:

“The National Park Service continues to consult with the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget on their guidance for implementing the hiring freeze. As with previous hiring freezes, the National Park Service is working with the Administration to ensure that we meet the needs of park visitors across the system.”

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center are among the buildings open to visitors.

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