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Federal government open on Wednesday

By Ed O'Keefe

Washington-area federal government offices will operate as normal on Wednesday, according to sources at the Office of Personnel Management.

Amid record December snowfall, OPM closed Washington-area federal offices on Monday and mandated unscheduled leave for Tuesday. Wednesday will likely be the only full day of work for most federal workers since Thursday is already scheduled to be a half day for Christmas Eve and Friday is a federal holiday.

OPM historically does not issue a formal advisory when it plans to reopen and operate on a normal schedule and the agency plans to honor that precedence, sources said. OPM's operating status page should revert back to normal later tonight.

Closing D.C.-area offices again on Wednesday could have cost taxpayers at least $300 million in lost productivity and opportunity costs over the three-day stretch that started Monday.

OPM Director John Berry recently estimated that the government loses roughly $100 million each day that D.C.-area offices are closed due to the weather. Berry decides when to close District-area federal offices and federal executive boards make the decision in other parts of the country.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | December 22, 2009; 4:33 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Where are you possibly getting the $300 million figure from? the Gov't was open today. The only day it was closed was monday so the figure is $100 mil. The govt doesn't lose anything when it is on unscheduled leave. People have to use leave if they don't come to work. That is a benefit they have already accrued and the govt is in the hole for anyway. So there is no additional loss to the govt when there is unscheduled leave. So let's be careful about exaggerating figures just to get people up in arms! And it should be noted that easily 50% of govt workers in the DC area were already on scheduled leave this week anyway. It is a holiday week and a lot of people have to uses use or lose this time of year anyway.

Posted by: happydad3 | December 22, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Agree with happydad3. If you want to get people up in arms about something, how about closer coverage of why Metro and local jurisdictions couldn't get their act together in time for Monday? OPM closed the government to ease the strain on local roads and transit systems, not because it felt like giving federal employees a paid holiday.

Posted by: lydgate | December 22, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Uh, the government was open today.

Posted by: Axel2 | December 22, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Agree - this post is quite misleading. First, one would have had to take leave to stay home today. Unscheduled leave was not "mandated." Rather, it was available as an option. Second, it's not clear that many people took advantage of the offer to use "unscheduled leave." I'm a federal employee; I was at work today, and my co-workers were as well.

Posted by: tmcd | December 22, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I thought the gov always had an unscheduled leave policy when shcools were cancelled. Fairfax county closed schools for Monday- Wednesday. So does that mean that people who can't come to work because their children's schools are closed are AWOL? It seems they are "open" rather then on unscheduled leave just for show, in reaction to articles like this.

Posted by: ehmismith | December 23, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I am glad the Government was closed on Monday and that I had leave to take on Tuesday. I am working from home today, but will attempt to get in tomorrow. Why?? Because AA County has yet to clear the three streets I have to "survive the ice" on are nearly impassable. Believe me when I say that people do want to work, but can't get there because of a record snowfall, because most of us are more dedicated than the public will ever realize!!

Posted by: pmaley | December 23, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

We need more from the Federal Diary and not someone writing and saying something that is not true. Where is all the good news that used to come out when the retired man was running it? You guys need someone that can send out something that is happening in the Government employee world and not the Politicians world. It get old quick to.

Posted by: quartercircle | December 23, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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