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Bush Closes Executive-Branch Offices Dec. 26th

By Terri Rupar

In what's likely to bring some holiday cheer to federal workers, President Bush has ordered all executive branch offices closed the day after Christmas, Friday, Dec. 26. The executive order (posted after the jump) was issued this morning while he travels in Texas. It permits managers of agencies or departments to call in employees if needed, a ruling that will apply to places like national parks or to employees of the Transportation or Homeland Security Departments, among others.

As The Eye recently reported, federal workers get 12 days off per year for holidays. Next year non-essential Washington area federal workers will also not have to report for work on Inauguration Day.

While the president's decision applies to all executive branch employees nationwide, it may also alter the work schedules of other companies and institutions in the nation's capital that often mirror the federal work schedule, in acknowledgment of the government's status as the region's largest employer.

UPDATE 3:50 p.m. ET: A few readers have commented on The Eye's oversight (no pun intended) regarding the number of holidays for federal workers. There are ten each year, not 12 as originally reported. Apologies for the confusion. Read The Eye's original report on Federal holidays here.

The order:

CLOSING OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Friday, December 26, 2008, the day after Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2 of this order.

Sec. 2. The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 26, 2008, for reasons of national security or defense or other public need.

Sec. 3. Friday, December 26, 2008, shall be considered as falling within the scope of Executive Order 11582 of February 11, 1971, and of 5 U.S.C. 5546 and 6103(b) and other similar statutes insofar as they relate to the pay and leave of employees of the United States.

Sec. 4. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.



GEORGE W. BUSH


THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 12, 2008.

By Terri Rupar  | December 12, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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Comments

The press might have a field day with this one. Given the state of the economy, the number of layoffs at state governments, and the recent unemployment numbers, I'm a little shocked and (even though I'm a federal employee) I'm somewhat disappointed.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/12/20081212-2.html

Posted by: prokaryote | December 12, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It was going to be the most unproductive day of the year anyway, but it is somewhat unseemly. Especially when state and local governments are having "furlough" days now to save tax dollars.

The feds will save money on all the utilities required to heat and power the many immense government buildings around the country.

Posted by: Gidgmom | December 12, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

95% of non essential staff would have taken annual leave on Dec 26th and most military bases will be closed from about noon on Christmas Eve and reopen on Monday morning for nonessential feds and military.

Posted by: omarthetentmaker | December 12, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"The press might have a field day with this one. Given the state of the economy, the number of layoffs at state governments, and the recent unemployment numbers, I'm a little shocked and (even though I'm a federal employee) I'm somewhat disappointed."

I agree. As a fed, I think we always have to be cognisant of how the taxpayers see us. While others are being layed off, or having their pay cut, we get a free day off and a substantial pay increase in January. This makes me more than a bit queasy.

Posted by: GRILLADES | December 12, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Some of these comments make me laugh. Every time Christmas falls during the end of the week, the President, whoever it is, gives us the Friday following off. It has happened for since I have been a Federal employee.

Everyone makes choices on who they work for. I made a choice to work for the government. Others made a choice to work in private industry. There are trade-offs to both.

Thank you President Bush. I will enjoy the day with my family.

Posted by: MikeL4 | December 12, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"As The Eye recently reported, federal workers get 12 days off per year for holidays."

Funny, looking at my federal pay period calendars for 2008 and 2009, I only see 10 holidays each year. The federal law that establishes the holidays is 5 U.S.C. 6103.

I will be enjoying my extra day off. As MikeL4 said, everyone chooses who they work for and then has to deal with that choice. I don't complain about working summers because I'm not a teacher. I don't complain about getting paid about 30% less than my private industry friends because I choose not to work in private industry.

Posted by: frizzgrig | December 12, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"As The Eye recently reported, federal workers get 12 days off per year for holidays."

Is that a typo? I only count 10 in most years (i.e. when there is not an inauguration holiday in January).

Posted by: duffin_j | December 12, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

HOW TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE TO SPEND OVER 500 MILLION TO PAY THE FEDS TO STAY HOME
I hope Bush stays in Texas----he has done far mor damage than any man should

Posted by: syoung29 | December 12, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

2,000,000 folks don't even have jobs and the feds rub this in their face

There is so much wrong with this administration

Posted by: syoung29 | December 12, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

How many feds have been laid off?
Dec 26 is just like every other day since the feds get paid whether they work or not

Posted by: syoung29 | December 12, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

They were going to take it off anyway.

What Bush actually did was give them all another free sick day.

So now they will take off the entire next week as well for New Years.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | December 12, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

SHAME ON YOU GREEDY FEDS

Posted by: syoung29 | December 12, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record other President's - both Democratic and Republican - have granted an extra "holiday" on either Christmas Eve or the December 26. While many feds were going to take the day off anyway, and get paid, if the gov't is closed, they save the money for not lighting or heating the buildings and not having to pay contract cleaners and security guards.

While it may not be the best decision, given the economy, everyone has the opportunity to choose who and when they are going to work. As frizzgig stated "As MikeL4 said, everyone chooses who they work for and then has to deal with that choice. I don't complain about working summers because I'm not a teacher. I don't complain about getting paid about 30% less than my private industry friends because I choose not to work in private industry."

I echo those thoughts and say Thank You to President Bush for another day to spend celebrating the holidays with my family or maybe even putting funds back into the economy by shopping!

Posted by: TerpGrad | December 12, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Stop passing gas! This has NOTHING to do with others being laid off, what states are going through, etc. MikeL4 and frizzgrig said it well. It's a kind gesture and I thank the President. The fact that the President made this gift doesn't increase any else's pain.

Posted by: ajlerner1 | December 12, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, President Bush! And to all you naysayers, I say, "bah humbug!" Get a life.

Posted by: shoveit | December 12, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

It is a cost cutrting measure and as such should be given credit. But few will ever excuse the President for winning the war.

Posted by: gary4books | December 12, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Personally I think most companies should declare the week between Christmas and NY as a holiday week. It's rarely worth the electric bills to keep many of those offices open during the most unproductive week of the year.

Posted by: idiparker | December 12, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Part of the problem, maybe the whole problem, is simply perception. And if there's perceived perception, then maybe it would have been better to let Federal employees take the day off at their own discretion, and at the expense of one day of accrued annual leave.

Unfortunately it's hard to understand that the NY Yankees are paying one person $140 million to throw baseballs for eight years, and paying another $80 to throw baseballs for five years. It's hard to understand that the National Football League is letting 150 persons go yet they will pay unproven first round draft picks tens of millions of dollars to find out they can't produce at the professional level. And all this is in the face of today's economic situation.

Maybe, just maybe, this is recognizing the contributions of Federal employees. After all, those persons consider "essential" (or, since we must be politically correct, emergency personnel, those who must perform "essential" services) will be working.

Posted by: Dungarees | December 12, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

"It is a cost cutrting measure and as such should be given credit. But few will ever excuse the President for winning the war.

Posted by: gary4books | December 12, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse"


Excuse me, but what war did Bush win? None that I know of... Please elaborate since we didn't get that part of the news in our hometown USA.


"Posted by: syoung29 | December 12, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse"

I am positive you are not a federal worker and since I see you posted about 6 negatives here about the holiday, you surely don't understand how the fed operates. Please learn that before you go posting spew about things you don't know. Wanna be a true patriot, go protest the billions of tax dollars wasted on worthless things like space shuttles or mars landing. All that crap can wait... but no, NASA is operating at 80% full steam! The stupid Americans should not have brought those Nazi scientists here to run a total agency!

Posted by: darmar40 | December 14, 2008 3:38 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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