Unless the U.S. House and Senate reach an agreement by midnight Monday, many parts of the federal government would stop working and thousands of workers would be furloughed.
However, the impact on most of the public would be limited, at least at first, as mail would go out, Social Security checks would be cut and exempted employees, such as those in public safety and the justice system, would remain at work.
If the shut-down were to continue for more than just a few days, federal money that comes to Braintree could be affected, including low-income grants to elementary schools and highway funding that comes through the state, Sullivan said.
But by and large the town will continue to function normally.
“At the local level, we are taking action every day," Sullivan said. "We are making daily decisions in the operation of our schools, of our police department, our public safety… versus at the federal level, there is a just a sense of blockage at every corner.”
Monday marked the first day of the Braintree's waste automation program. This initiative, aimed at increasing recycling rates and reducing disposal costs, is an example of the town operating more efficiently than the federal government, Sullivan said.
"The task of governing is difficult," Sullivan said. "At the federal level, we’re seeing a failure to govern. At the local level, despite criticism that may come our way, you need to take action, you need to be focused on taking steps that aren’t easy steps to take but that are important steps to take.”
Sullivan said he keeps an eye on federal activity, and is frustrated by the lack of communication and compromise between members of Congress and President Obama, but he cannot let it interfere with local governance.
“Quite honestly, I can’t worry about it," Sullivan said. "We have to focus on what we’re doing every day.”