Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Federal Government Closed on Monday

By Ed O'Keefe


Updated 5:42 p.m. ET

Federal government offices in the Washington region will be closed on Monday. Nonessential government workers will be granted excused absences.

Emergency employees are expected to report for work on time, and some employees who telework may be expected to work from their telework sites, as specified in their individual agreements.

The Office of Personnel Management made the announcement Sunday afternoon, well ahead of Monday morning commutes.

"I think it was obvious for the safety reasons that we made the decision early," OPM spokeswoman Sedelta Verble said.

The early decision is consistent with promises made this month by OPM Director John Berry, who decides when to close District-area federal offices. Berry said previous administrations have waited too long to make a decision to close, often after many federal workers have already left for work.

The government loses roughly $100 million in productivity and opportunity costs each time it closes D.C.-area offices, Berry said at a briefing for reporters earlier this month.

“It’s not an insignificant number. We do not make this decision lightly," Berry said.

Though Berry decides when to close District-area federal offices, federal executive boards make the decision in other parts of the country.

Sign up for federal government closing E-mail alerts

Washington-area federal offices have not closed for weather since the 2003 blizzard. The government this year has twice operated on an unscheduled leave or "liberal leave" in late January and early March.

This is already scheduled to be a shorter workweek for federal employees, because of Friday's Christmas holiday and an early dismissal scheduled for Thursday.

Monday's closing will have no impact on President Obama's meeting with the Department of Veterans Affairs employee who won the government-wide competition that solicited cost-savings ideas from rank and file federal workers. Nancy Fichtner will meet with Obama, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on Monday morning in the Oval Office, the White House said.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Sign up for The Federal Eye's federal government closings/early dismissal E-mail alerts

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 20, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Fewer people sending holiday cards in 2009
Next: Agencies have cut $19 billion in contracting costs

Comments

yeah, now I can go finish my shopping as long as metro is back up and running outdoors. Will post offices still be open?

Posted by: bmp246 | December 20, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Will the embassies be open? What about the DC Passport Agency?

Posted by: jkahn001 | December 20, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Yeah!!! An early and appropriate decision. I couldn't get in to work if I wanted to. Not until a plow shows up and Metro re-opens!!

Posted by: happydad3 | December 20, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

If the federal government is closed, then the Passport Office on 19th St. will be closed, as will my company which is in the same building. Opening of embassies will be up to the individual nations, not the federal government.

Posted by: purdyjack | December 20, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

If Mohammad is keeping the offices open on Sunday, why close on Monday?
Did hell freeze over after the 100 billion doallr promise by Dr. Evil with Bill (her mini me) humping a missle in the backround?

Posted by: dottydo | December 20, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time in my memory that a new OMB Director got it right. Usually, they come in all macho and saying "we won't shut down; WE are too tough for that!" Then rush hour traffic pounds the unremoved snow into ice that makes commuting a nightmare for at least a week. Give the crews a chance to clear all the major arteries well and maybe just one day of shutdown will be the entire impact. That's WAY cheaper than trying to staff up for mega-storms that happen only about once per decade. Congrats to the OMB Director, whoever he/she may be!

Posted by: dolph924 | December 20, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know about the courts? Federal or Superior?

Posted by: -Niv- | December 20, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The cost will be less with so many feds in use-or-lose status, so they'd be on leave anyway and will lose 8 hours of leave.

But if it is such a big deal, take away the most useless federal holiday of them all - Columbus Day!

Posted by: TJ1743 | December 20, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy to have the day off tomorrow, because I wasn't looking forward to driving in tomorrow, but let's be honest, this week and next, most agencies are very thinly staffed, with so many people drawing down their use-or-lose leave or on vacation. The government will save money by not heating its buildings, and the road crews can better finish plowing with fewer cars on the road. It's a good decision, and I'm glad it was made so early.

Unfortunately, now I have no reason not to clean the house. :(

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 20, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey, there is no such thing as a useless holiday!

Posted by: bmp246 | December 20, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the powers that be for advanced notice. It's a smart decision too. A lot of ice for pedestrians.

Posted by: andsoitgoes | December 20, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Sounds good to me. I'll be in the office with the rest of the contractor staff and productivity won't be affected one bit.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | December 20, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that my friends in Washington aren't quite as prepared for a little snow as we are so enjoy the day off. But here in the UP of Michigan what you got is just another day in the park for us. Enjoy!

Posted by: ron72 | December 20, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that my friends in Washington aren't quite as prepared for a little snow as we are so enjoy the day off. But here in the UP of Michigan what you got is just another day in the park for us. Enjoy!

Don't think even Michigan gets 2 feet of snow on a regular basis.

Posted by: Axel2 | December 20, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

any word on the DC city gov.?

Posted by: esmith22015 | December 20, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

If Mohammad is keeping the offices open on Sunday, why close on Monday?
Did hell freeze over after the 100 billion doallr promise by Dr. Evil with Bill (her mini me) humping a missle in the backround?

Posted by: dottydo | December 20, 2009 5:11
*******************************************
His name is Barak, although I wouldn't expect anyone who thinks Fed offices are open on Sunday to be smart enough to know that.

As for the rest of your post, you didn't tell us which decoder ring to use.

Posted by: st50taw | December 20, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Good point about use or lose annual leave, TJ and WashingtonDame. I already was on use or lose annual last week, will lose a day of vacation time (can't be restored) tomorrow but that's ok. It was my choice to take no vacation time during the year and to wait until Christmas to go on leave. I briefly stopped in the office 3 times last week while I was "on vacation" and have taken care of some other matters by phone or email while on leave. A lot of the myths about federal workers and productivity are just that -- myths. Many of us do care about getting the job done and done right.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Those of us at companies tied to the federal government's schedule will also be off. Street isn't plowed, anyway, so it's a moot point. Doesn't make up for losing the entire weekend before Christmas, and technology means just work from home.

Posted by: faygokid | December 20, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I assume White House tours are canceled as well. Am I correct?

Posted by: sammalone1 | December 20, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Federal employees missed a day of Christmas shopping on Saturday and this has been given to them as a way to catch up.

Posted by: L1ncon | December 20, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to the administration for making this decision EARLY instead of when many people are already on the way to work. As a government contractor, I must take leave tomorrow since the government is closed, but I still appreciate the early notification.

Posted by: TomJinDC | December 20, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I remember times when they said "You got to come in." then sent everyone home after they arrived. This is much better planning.

Who cares if some Senator had to walk to school every day in a snow storm? In Florida.

Posted by: gary4books | December 20, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Yaaaay! Wooo Hooo!

Oh wait I telework. Darn. Oh well. :)

Posted by: PersonL | December 20, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The government loses roughly $100 million in productivity and opportunity costs each time it closes D.C.-area offices
_____________

Really? And here I thought government workers cost taxpayers that much in lost revenue when they DO show up to work.....

Posted by: WildBill1 | December 20, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

dottydo (queen of the morons) wrote on December 20, 2009 5:11 PM
"If Mohammad blah blah blah..."
*******************************************
Where do they grow dumb-a$$es like you, doodoo? It's the president who decides when the govt should open or close, right? I'm surprised you have enough grey matter to draw a breath, you simian pig!

Why would WaPo even open this story up for comments anyway? I guess just so mental midgets like dotty-doodoo can go off her meds and spout out of her hind-quarters!


Posted by: repubsux | December 20, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody know if we charge this as annual leave or if it's "free" time off?

Posted by: AMHV2772 | December 20, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

@AMHV2772...

when they say we're off for in-climate weather, it's Admin Leave (their dime). Thank em when you get back on Tuesday, because they WILL be expecting you. lol

Posted by: cbmuzik | December 20, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

AMHV2772, since it was OPM that made the closure decision, it won't be annual (an employee's accrued vacation time). It's not one of those "employees can stay home on annual if they wish" situations. It's a mandatory rather than a discretionary closure. I think at most agencies it will be an administrative time code. The personnel office should put some guidance out, most likely via administrative assistants.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

@dolph924: you got it right! nice to know the federal government actually cares about its employees' well being (well, at least in this case!), instead of the "nothing stops us attitude." I for one can not get out of my development - whoops, that another thread about "where is Mo Co plow?"

Posted by: dezlboy1 | December 20, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, it isn't as if they DO anything, so I suppose there is no real productivity lost. Given the timing I would imagine that the whole week will be effectively bagged for most of them....... as a taxpayer I guess I'd like to understand why they can't take the time off without pay?????

Posted by: Marks1153 | December 20, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Ron72, if there were several million people all trying to commute in two feet of snow in a metro area in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, your offices would close down in big snowstorms too. There's a big difference in the impact that snow has in lightly populated rural areas vs. congested metro areas.

Posted by: frquenttrvlr | December 20, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Stupid question: if I work in a Federal Building in Rockville, I am closed too right?

Posted by: authorofpoetry | December 20, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll be in the office tomorrow, like today, and guess what...the heat is still on. Lights too! Everybody gets paid, regardless of whether they had leave scheduled. This would have been a great day for "liberal leave" because sooo many would be out anyway (and would not get paid), but my guess is that the city streets are basically hosed and nothing would move, no place to park, and there sure as hell wouldn't be any deliveries to Starbucks. DC couldn't function. A 30 year Fed, I agree with the contractor above...productivity won't suffer.

Yippee! Only 115 days until I get to pay my taxes again!

Posted by: TheEarthguy | December 20, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

They might as well be closed. 3/4'ths of them wouldn't have done anything productive Monday anyway spending all day minding the kids at the office or over the phone.

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 20, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, it isn't as if they DO anything, so I suppose there is no real productivity lost. Given the timing I would imagine that the whole week will be effectively bagged for most of them....... as a taxpayer I guess I'd like to understand why they can't take the time off without pay?????

Posted by: Marks1153 | December 20, 2009 7:39 PM
*******************************************
1. Do you remember when Newt & Co. shut down the Government and how well that went over the citizenry?

2. They don't take a pay hit because it's not their choice, butthead.

You and your dweeb buddy WildBill1 are the types who would be the first to complain about missing Government services. You don't like your Government? Try Somalia (no government), Russia (gangster government) or Iran (clerical government).

Posted by: st50taw | December 20, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"Well, it isn't as if they DO anything, so I suppose there is no real productivity lost. Given the timing I would imagine that the whole week will be effectively bagged for most of them......."

----------------------

Think again...Unless things are closed again, I will definitely be in on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and will fly home to spend x-mas with my family late x-mas eve, then shortly thereafter return to Washington. The "federal workers don't do anything" myth is a huge myth (not that we don't have our own bad apples too, every organization does), I routinely wok 14 to 16 hours a day.

Posted by: Eleiana | December 20, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I was just glancing at the article, and laughed out loud when I saw the claim that there is a $100 million productivity loss any day that the government closes. Could someone tell me what it is exactly that the government "produces"? I think anyone who ever cracked an economic textbook knows that government is the ultimate consumer. Any time it is closed, even for a minute, the economy benefits.

Posted by: Marks1153 | December 20, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

During the Clinton Administration, John Berry was known for putting employees' welfare first while he served at the Department of the Interior. He continues his legacy in the Obama administration by making an early decision on the government's operating status, so that employees can plan accordingly. As others have pointed out, many people in our agency are in "use-or-lose leave status" in the final two weeks of the year, so it won't cost the government nearly as much as a typical closure.

Posted by: kmcnyasha | December 20, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

what about those of us working for the federal govt in crystal city, VA? Is it the same situation as DC?

Posted by: jason79 | December 20, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

@authorofpoetry, OPM says on its website that the the definition of Washington, DC area Operating Status means agencies inside the Beltway. However it notes that

"Our operating status procedures apply to employees in all executive agencies located inside the Washington Capital Beltway. These procedures do not apply to employees of the U.S. Postal Service, the government of the District of Columbia, or private sector entities, including contractors. Facilities outside the Beltway may prefer to develop their own plans, since they are subject to different weather and traffic conditions than those inside the Beltway. In unusual situations, however, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may issue guidelines affecting facilities outside the Beltway, as well."

Perhaps Mr. O'Keefe will post an update. Is your main building in DC (are you in a satellite facility) or are you headquartered in Rockville? Do you have a call in number to check status?

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I have to telework from home :-)

Posted by: rusty6 | December 20, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Please, no more comments from the Negro from Chicago about how they walk on water in blizzards and stuff.

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | December 20, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

On the question of what the government does, not only does it handle high profile, well known functions such as diplomacy and homeland security, it also handles matters related to transportation (including the Federal Aviation Administration, the NTSB, which investigates accidents, the Federal Highway Administration), food and product safety, and any number of other executive functions. Federal employees also process passport applications and issue the Social Security checks and handle Medicare payments and veterans benefits which go out to millions of Americans. The federal government also administers VA hospitals which care for the men and women who once served our nation in the military. Feds also staff national parks visited by millions of Americans.

Just one example of a service: Anyone who looked for maps showing airport status and flight delays during the storm that hit on Saturday probably looked at a DOT/FAA map showing data from the Air Traffic Control System Command Center. There are a lot of government functions people depend on without thinking where they are getting them from.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Former - I work at the NIH, but at a satellite office.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | December 20, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it would have probably made sense to declare a "liberal leave policy" day rather than "close the government", but no one here has commented on how well the streets have been cleared either in or outside the city itself. Not knowing what other municipalities are doing, do you really want the extra traffic on the road?

Yes, we can all agree that the Upper Peninsula in the Midwest gets more snow, that Buffalo New York gets more snow, and so does a lot of other places. The difference is that they always get it and that it's easier to be prepared for it when it happens regularly. Most people here will quickly comment on how bad traffic is in the best of times, and how bad drivers are in bad weather here; why compound the problem of heavy snow with more traffic in the way of the cleaning crews?

One of the comments heard on radio this morning was "Why don't we have the same road clearing equipment here that they have in Chicago, Buffalo, etc.? Why can't they be prepared for anything that might happen?" The answer is, in part, is why do you need to have everything available IN CASE something happens? If you considered having "everything" (whatever that means), people here would be complaining that it's not being used, that it's costing good money to maintain something that's not being used, or being used maybe once every ten years.

Like it or not, the decision was made that it was in the best interest to have people stay home rather than on the roads. That decision isn't made in isolation; it was made in consultation with other Federal agencies as well as local government agencies, transportation services, and other organizations.

Granted, with hindsight or in the view of others it might have made sense to authorize "liberal leave", but a group of people responsible for using their best judgment decided that it was better to have as few people coming downtown as necessary. They're paid to use their best judgment in making those decisions.

To follow-up marks1153: Sorry, but I do think that some people in government actually do work and do things for the general public. I may not agree with every program there is, but other people like programs that affect or aid them.

Why they can't take time off without pay? In part because it's not as if they're the ones asking to take time off; they're being told, for the betterment or convenience or safety of the Washington metro area to do so. If it wasn't your fault for not going to work, would you like your boss to say you're not getting paid?

dungarees@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | December 20, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I was just glancing at the article, and laughed out loud when I saw the claim that there is a $100 million productivity loss any day that the government closes. Could someone tell me what it is exactly that the government "produces"? I think anyone who ever cracked an economic textbook knows that government is the ultimate consumer. Any time it is closed, even for a minute, the economy benefits.

Posted by: Marks1153
*******************************************
Just now glancing? What about your brain-dead post from 20 minutes ago?

You know what an economy without a government looks like? Probably not. I don't expect that Beck or Limbaugh have ever thought about it, either.

Twit.

Posted by: st50taw | December 20, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

@authorofpoetry, I looked at your external webpage at
http://employees.nih.gov/
and it just refers people to OPM for 12/20 operating status. When your HQ in Bethesda has been cloed by OPM, has your Rockville office usually closed also?

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and School Chancelor Rhee have not made an announcement about the D.C. Public Schools being closed. Many of the side streets in D.C. are in deplorable conditions and King Fenty should close the D.C. Public Schools along with the District Government. All the other schools systems are closed. Things have change so much when I was in school, We got out for the Christmas holiday on a Friday and didn't come back until after New Year's. With political correctness, Christians are forbidden to say Merry Christmas. Everyone says Happy Holidays which to me sounds retarded. King Fenty makes me sick to my stomach and I can't wait for 9/2010 to get here to voted his arrogant behind out of office.

Posted by: Ward4DC | December 20, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Author, I meant there is a 12/20 (Sunday) posting with an OPM referral on the NIH employees' external site, not that it refers to 12/20 operating status.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Considering how infrequently the Federal Government has closed, this should not be an issue; what should be an issue is why is the city (Washington DC) waiting to announce closings. Even if the city decides that there should be no closings, in light of all the stories of how serious this snowfall was, common sense be to announce as early as possible school closings, office closings service closings or restrictions, etc. Does the city - and others here - really want everyone on the streets or roads or busses or trains trying to get into the city Monday morning?


And, thanks to Former_Archivist for his intelligent commentary and guidance.

Posted by: Dungarees | December 20, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

It is only fair to ask Marks1153 what he/she does for a living. Within the past 12 years, I have worked in federal offices that were practically useless, and others that brought millions in actual recoveries back to the Federal Government. Marks1153 is obviously a simpleton who thinks that there are no shades of grey in life. Without folks like this, what would philosophers (and I should mention college dropouts) like Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity do for a living?

Posted by: jimestw | December 20, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Are banks open tomorrow?

Posted by: sumiyo52 | December 20, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Hi,Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,Here are the most

popular, most stylish and avantgarde

shoes,handbags,Tshirts,jacket,Tracksuitw ect...
http://www.kkshoe.com /productlist.asp?id=s7

(Tracksuit)
Christmas is approaching, your Christmas gifts ready?
kkshoe com mall for you, which involves a number of

well-known brands from the Asia-Pacific region the

trend of merchandise. Promotional discounts should be,

come SHOPPING bar!Christmas sale, free shipping

discounts are beautifully gift ,Christmas gifts,look,

Best quality, Best reputation , Best services Service

is our Lift.
Nike shox $35,Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $35
Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $16
ugg boot,POLO hoody,Jacket,ect...
For details, please consult http://www.kkshoe.com
Thanks!!! Advance wish you a merry Christmas.

Posted by: kkshoe1207 | December 20, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Former! I am just trying to figure it out...we were closed during the President's day storm...now sure if the circumstances were different.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | December 20, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I was just glancing at the article, and laughed out loud when I saw the claim that there is a $100 million productivity loss any day that the government closes. Could someone tell me what it is exactly that the government "produces"? I think anyone who ever cracked an economic textbook knows that government is the ultimate consumer. Any time it is closed, even for a minute, the economy benefits.

OK, captain of industry, what do you do to pay the bills? I am betting that whatever it is would not be missed.

Posted by: Axel2 | December 20, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

ward4dc:

Spare everybody the rant. DCPS is closed this week for students for the rest of the year, and there's a liberal leave policy for office staff.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself at http://dcps.dc.gov/portal/site/DCPS/ .

You're welcome.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | December 20, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome, Author. I've never worked outside the beltway, always in DC or inside the bestway. Do you have a call in number for your office voicemail? Some agencies put recorded broadcast messages on the VM system, you might want to dial in to voice mail and check and see if NIH did that. The President's Day storms in 1979 and 2003 dumped about the same amount of snow as this one, a bit more in 1979 thanb in this one. DCA reported about 18 and 15 inches, respectively, for those storms. If you were shut down in 2003, you might be closed tomorrow, as well.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Liberal Leave Policy would have been a better option. Now contractors are forced to take the day off and they don't have an administrative code from OPM for this time off.

Posted by: jchalla | December 20, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

No lost in productivity here, I'll also be teleworking from home.

Posted by: memrnc4 | December 20, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

What a waste of $100 million, not to mention however much the half day on Thursday will cost. I'm sure there's a large percentage of federal workers who were already on leave status anyway with the holidays, so a late opening with liberal leave probably would have sufficed.

Government employees are adults--they should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they can safely get to work or not and use their leave accordingly. If they live somewhere that still hasn't plowed the streets, well, they chose to live there, so they should deal with it and make the proper arrangements.

And how does this cost the government less? Whether an employee is on use or lose, annual leave, or administrative leave, the government is still paying the employee's salary for no work. Any employee who was on annual leave tomorrow, now has 8~10 hours freed up to take some other time. That's not costing the government less.

Posted by: personabuena | December 20, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Jchalla, I think OPM makes the determination based in part on conditions affecting transit and transportation. Metro, which many feds take, due to parking problems downtown, is not running full service yet. As of around 7 pm this evening, WMATA did not know how many buses could run tomorrow. Suburban jurisdictions are telling people that plows should reach side streets tomorrow or Tuesday and are asking people not to drive if not necessary so as not to impede the plows. I believe some of that went into the OPM decision not to call people into work when some of the means of getting there were shut down. Had more side streets been plowed and if Metro had been able to guarantee it would be running full service tomorrow (bus and rail), it might well have been "liberal leave" instead. Metro is working on getting tracks cleared but whether it can open all stations by 5 a.m. is unclear. The Get There blog reports that snow has been blowing back on the tracks and there have been problems with staffing, as well.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Personabuena, since I will be asked to charge an administrative time code tomorrow, I will lose the 8 hours of the annual leave I had signed for tomorrow, it cannot be restored. There is a 240 hour cap on leave which can be transferred at the end of the calendar year. So that is a vacation day which accrued to me which I never will use. As of January 3, it is gone, period. But I don't mind. I actually spend some time on my personal days off checking in with the office and doing government work from home, as needed. I sometimes do that on Saturdays and Sundays without compensation, when a quick turnaround is required on a project. If you sent an urgent email to my office account on a Saturday morning, expecting me to see it on a Monday, you might well get an answer from me the same day. I donate my personal time to the government in that sense. I'm not saying everyone does that, by any means, but those things even out for some of us.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 20, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey, my husband works for the USPS and he has to got to work tomorrow in DC (HQs). Not all feds have the day off.

Posted by: Susanrn67 | December 20, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

To all the government haters out there...

How do you think your damn roads get plowed? Magic?

Posted by: MikeJC | December 20, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

What will happen to the vote that Senator Reid announcded would be hael at 1:00 AM Monday?

Posted by: ThurleMoss | December 20, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

At this point in time, I think it's pretty clear that OPM made the decision to close the federal government, rather than go to liberal leave, due to uncertainty regarding Metro's ability to be up and running at something resembling full strength tomorrow morning. Most of the above-ground stations aren't open yet, and the buses stopped service. Should be interesting to see what happens on Tuesday.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 20, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I had planned to take a day off Monday and I still am taking that day off. It is only reported LN instead of LA. The hours I carry over will not decrease from what they would have been otherwise (for anyone else either since they can only increase). Anyone who claims they "lost" leave because OPM shut the government down is whining about a technicality.

Posted by: prokaryote | December 21, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

"Please, no more comments from the Negro from Chicago about how they walk on water in blizzards and stuff.

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | December 20, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse"

You ugly, racist, stuttering loser. Yes, I know who SofaKingCool is.

Posted by: chunche | December 21, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

YEAH... 2 day work week.

Posted by: whocares666 | December 21, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Let them use their generous annual leave that the rest of us pay for to cover this weather day.

Posted by: brewstercounty | December 21, 2009 5:42 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to OPM for the early and wise decision. John Berry and staff deserve kudos for caring about the safety of federal employees.

Posted by: dawnforsythe | December 21, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

I am with poster MARKS1153!!!!!!!!!!!!! the government "productivity" suffers a daily 100 million hit?! All I can say is thank GOD! HALLELUJIA!!If ever a clearer statement were made on WASTE, debt, and spending, I have yet to hear it.Gotta clean up that coffee I just spit up.

Posted by: jsminteriors | December 21, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

@prokaryote, the way the leave cap works is this. You can transfer no more than 240 hours at the start of a new leave period. Depending on the leave category you're in, you earn a certain amount of accrued leave during the year. Many people who have been working for a while don't use all their accrued leave during the year and build it up. Of that build-up the most they can transfer to the next year is 240 per year. If you transfer 240, you need to use up during the year that ends (this year Saturday, January 2) any additional hours over 240 that accrued to you over the year. Otherwise, it is lost. So yes, the leave is lost, it isn't not just a technicality. As I said, I don't mind, it was my choice not to take many days off this year. If you consider that whining, I wonder how you'd consider my actually complaining about something rather than saying I am ok with the loss.

@brewstercounty, I don't know where you work but if it is industry, does your boss ask you to take vacation days when the time off is not personal to you? Are you used to donating that personal time to your company? As a customer or client of whatever your employer sells, I wouldn't insist on it, if the occurrence was rare and due to events uncontrolled by the employees.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 21, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Make that start of a new leave year, not leave period (which is every two weeks).

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 21, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

This is the first time in my memory that a new OMB Director got it right. Usually, they come in all macho and saying "we won't shut down; WE are too tough for that!" Then rush hour traffic pounds the unremoved snow into ice that makes commuting a nightmare for at least a week. Give the crews a chance to clear all the major arteries well and maybe just one day of shutdown will be the entire impact. That's WAY cheaper than trying to staff up for mega-storms that happen only about once per decade. Congrats to the OMB Director, whoever he/she may be!

___
Could not agree more. Great comment.

Posted by: DarkHelmet1983 | December 21, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Let them use their generous annual leave that the rest of us pay for to cover this weather day.

Posted by: brewstercounty
_____
Jealous, Brewster Boy? I love my 5 weeks of Annual Leave each year (and the additional 10 paid holidays!) Shack Daddy...

Posted by: DarkHelmet1983 | December 21, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Too bad the Senate isn't shutting down, too.

Posted by: JAH3 | December 21, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I am so glad that the OMB Director made this decision. I think this is wise. This underscores for me the need for government to modernize so that at least a percentage of workers can operate from home. Today even telephones can be manned from a home office. I think the OMB should develop a strategic plan to insure that at least 25% of the government can remain open even during crises by enabling folks to work from a home-based office. Some jobs are just not suited to home office, however, many of them are. Many stakeholder interfacing jobs can be performed over the phone augmented by VPN and secure sites. I think video based contact would also be useful. Government is just too antiquated, too large and too much of it is based in physical offices. This round of inclement weather should put the OMB on notice. They need to start a permanent work at home staffing effort with back-ups so that the US government can continue operations no matter what!

Posted by: dfwenigma | December 21, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Too bad Congress didn't close up too. Any chance any of you might take this opportunity to find a real job?

Posted by: magellan1 | December 21, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

What you don't read in this article is the expectation of most of the federal govt. contracting companies in the area. They insist on being "open for business" on these kinds of days. What that means is the employees have "choices": drive and die (that's *if* your side streets have plowed, mine haven't), work at an alternate location (home?), work additional hrs on other days, take personal time off (aka: vaca. day), or leave w/out pay. All so they can bill the federal government! It's shameful! Truly shameful! The disregard for the safety of employees and the lack of ethics is truly shameful!

Posted by: hildynyc@yahoo.com | December 21, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@Former_Archivist: Does your agency allow leave donation? You may want to look into it - you may have a very sick co-worker, or a co-worker with a very sick spouse who would appreciate the 8 hours of use or lose you're losing from today's snow day.

As to those that want a liberal leave day - there are some employees (myself included) that CAN'T get to work today, but I don't have enough leave to use annual leave to take the day off because I'm a relatively new employee and have leave scheduled next week. So a liberal leave policy would just mean an unpaid leave day for me.

Posted by: LizM | December 21, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

For all your pathetic comments on GOV employees and to clear a point,WE pay taxes like everyone of YOU!

Posted by: soFLA33 | December 21, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

LizM, good point about leave donation. And you're absolutely right that new employees don't have much accrued, we all started out in the position in which you find yourself now.

I've donated leave in the past to people who were seriously ill and about to go on unpaid leave status. I'll have to look into whether I can do that with the 8 hours I "lose" today and the half day I "lose" on Thursday. If someone else can benefit from my "loss" of a day-and-a-half of personal time I saved up, that would be great.

Posted by: Former_Archivist | December 21, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I have to go to the bathroom, should I wait until I can go back to the office?

Posted by: whocares666 | December 21, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"I was just glancing at the article, and laughed out loud when I saw the claim that there is a $100 million productivity loss any day that the government closes. Could someone tell me what it is exactly that the government "produces"? I think anyone who ever cracked an economic textbook knows that government is the ultimate consumer. Any time it is closed, even for a minute, the economy benefits."
----------------------

The above poster, and the other one going by the name "brewstercounty," obviously know nothing about either economics or government workers. Government workers produce many billions of dollars worth of goods and services. These are things people want. Would you be willing to give up many of your government services and goods?

Addressing the snide remark about taxpayers paying for the large amount of leave government employees get: that's also nonsense. Government employees get no more vacation time, on average, than others in private business. And, we get paid less than others in the private sector. Would you like to work in the conditions I work in? I doubt it!

In addition, none of us can take all the leave we earn- not nearly all. We simply have too much work to do and we don't like to be gone too long. Does that surprise you? Does it also surprise you that many government workers were, in fact, at work in Washington, D.C. today? Including me....I got up early and walked a long way to the train station through the snow to get to work, with the bus services not working. I had been up all night, too. What did I do it? Because I believe in public service and giving all the taxpayers, including other government workers, their money's worth and then some.

Posted by: mightysparrow | December 21, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Mr. Berry and President Obama, I enjoyed the day off. However, I have to admit that there was no reason for the government to be closed today. The main roads in Northern Virginia were clear....and packed with holiday shopping traffic. The malls were packed, and no doubt many of those shopping were federal employees. Yes, I enjoyed the day off like so many others. Thank you to all of those folks in the retail sector, the banking sector, the rest of America.....you worked today and paid the taxes that pay my salary. Thank you!

Posted by: jbear17 | December 21, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company