Civil servants in the Northern Marianas have been told to brace themselves for a possible government shutdown.
This follows the Legislature's failure to pass a balanced budget for fiscal year 2011.
In case of a shutdown, a majority of the islands' 4,000 government employees will not get paid from October 1 and 8, or at least until a new budget is passed.
A legislative conference committee on the budget bill failed yet again to come up with at least a draft version of a budget bill as of yesterday afternoon.
Fiscal year 2011 is due to start in a little over a week.
Lawmakers, including Senator. Luis Crisostimo, expressed disappointment the conference committee could not even report or share with other lawmakers the progress of their closed-door meetings, which began last week.
Only essential employees in critical service agencies will be exempt from a government shutdown, should the Legislature fail to pass a balanced budget before October 1.
The administration of Governor Benigno Fitial is expected to soon finalize a list of critical/essential positions exempted from the shutdown.