With the new presidential administration has come new cuts in spending. Not all of them are on programs that have no impact on the public. Specifically, Donald Trump’s hiring freeze has led to the closing of seven Philadelphia historic sites since there are no staff to run them.
According to news site UPI.com, “The American Federation of Government Employees Local 2058, said the hiring freeze on government employees implemented by President Donald Trump resulted in the closure of seven park attractions including the Franklin Printing Office, Thaddeus Kosciuszko House, the Declaration House, the Fragment Museum, New Hall Military Museum, the Todd House and the Bishop White House.” In even more inconvenient news, five public bathrooms used by thousands of visitors each day, located at Fifth and Chestnut Streets, have also been closed as of January 1st thanks to a lack of janitorial staff to maintain them.
AFGE President David Fitzpatrick said that, while Philadelphia will sometimes close exhibits in the off-season to save some money, he has never seen anything like the mass closure taking place under Trump. Fitzpatrick is not the only one appalled by the actions. A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney, Lauren Hitt, called the current staff levels “troubling.”
“Everyone wants a more efficient and effective government, but we can’t have staffing levels so low that children don’t have the opportunity to learn about the founding principles that made this country great,” she said. “That’s just bad government. We hope that as Congress and the president consider their budget, they will learn from this mistake and institute a budget that lives up to our nation’s proud history of serving our most vulnerable.”
The National Park Service is staying mum on the closures.
It remains to be seen whether these closings are a sign of more to come in the City of Brotherly Love.