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Federal government open on Wednesday

By Ed O'Keefe


Most of the region's school children headed back to school on Tuesday. Did the parents?!

Updated 3:54 p.m. ET

Federal agencies in the Washington area will open as normal on Wednesday for the first time since Feb. 4, the Office of Personnel Management said Tuesday.

The decision means no delayed opening and all employees -- teleworking, essential and nonessential -- should report to work as normal.

OPM Director John Berry consulted with members of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments via e-mail before making the final decision, OPM officials said.

The Federal Eye's blogging brothers at the Capital Weather Gang forecast a 30 percent chance of scattered snow showers on Wednesday -- a weather event that pales in comparison to last week's storms.

Federal offices operated Feb. 5 with an unscheduled leave policy and early dismissal. Offices then closed for four straight days last week and opened with an unscheduled leave policy today and last Friday. Friday's decision contributed to a miserable morning and evening commute. Monday was the Presidents' Day federal holiday.

Will you show up as normal on Wednesday? How was your Tuesday commute?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 16, 2010; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Comments

I got to work just a few minutes late. Both my Metrobuses showed up on time (unusual even in good weather). The only trouble spot was Constitution Avenue from 22nd Street eastward. Since none of the stops are shoveled out, buses have to drop passengers on the street...which is already down a lane due to Giant! Snow! Piles! Curb-to-curb plowing indeed, Mayor Fenty.

Posted by: 1GovtGirl | February 16, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Northbound Wisconsin Avenue from Georgetown up past the National Cathedral was paralyzed because of huge piles of snow blocking both the curb/parking lane and the right-most travel lane. It took me 40 minutes to cover what would normally be a 5-minute drive.

Note to responsible parties: One lane won't suffice on major urban arteries.

Posted by: gpark | February 16, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I commute from Willow Grove, PA to the Maryland area and the commute was fine. I took my time and the roads were surprisingly clear throughout my I-95 trip. I commend the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland for making this a smooth transition from last week.

Posted by: kirk2trek | February 16, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It was fine for me with no problems from Dupont to Judiciary Square at 8am

I am just helping the Federal government get the public back some of that $100M a day money that we owe them from missing each day!

Posted by: Bious | February 16, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

No problems getting into work today! I live and work in Montgomery County and came in on time. Maybe it was because everyone else was still home taking advantage of the 2 hour delay...

Posted by: DaleJRFan | February 16, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I work for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Caught a train out of Glenmont this morning at 9am. My train creeped and lurched the whole way to Union Station where I finally got off and walked 35 minutes to my office in Navy Yard. It normally takes 25 minutes to metro from Glenmont to Union Station. Nope, it took an extra 20 minutes and the trains were jam-packed even at 9am. Also, the parking situation and sidewalks are terrible.

This region is still in limping back to normalcy so a two-hour delay would be helpful in easing the rush-hour crunch!

Posted by: jbest05@yahoo.com | February 16, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

So when will Berry man up and resign?

Posted by: member5 | February 16, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

My commute was fine but I leave at 5:15 a.m. I think DC does a horrible job at snow removal. All day long yesterday, the news was reporting a "snow emergency" in effect and showing all the plows out in DC. So, I trek in this morning and as soon as I hit the DC line, I lost my lane on the 14th Street Bridge. Got it back again. Portions of the freeway are pretty bad. Once I exited onto what is normally a 3 lane thruway, it was still down to two lanes. Not one speck of improvement since Friday's commute AND there were no cars blocking that right lane to impede the plows. They just didn't show up and this is a pretty major thoroughfare.

Posted by: christineva | February 16, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Bious - do you know that companies have insurance to cover lost profits and costs due to weather or other natural disasters? Did you know companies cover this expense in their overhead rates they charge to clients or factor in the cost of their goods or services provided? Do you know the federal government is "self insured", meaning it carriers reserves or uses existing cash to cover such expenses? If each federal worker took leave for the subject days, the fed would still owe the money. there is never potential savings for these type events. Please expand your mind.

Posted by: oknow1 | February 16, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

We live in Fairfax County, just over the line from Alexandria, and hubby's 30 minute commute into DC took 1 1/2 hours today. I chose to work from home as my car still can't get through the neighborhood---what is up with the Fairfax County and the terrible plowing job? Never got a plow during or after the first big snow, and have had one since. I sat at my kitchen table and watched car after car get stuck on our street. A half mile away in Alexandria the neighborhood streets are clear.

Posted by: hockeymom3 | February 16, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, I attempted! Got to the commuter lot but couldn't find any 'legal' parking spaces left due to the mountains of snow; therefore, I missed my bus. The next bus was at least 40-45 minutes which is usually an hour commute anyway; therefore, it was easier and more productive for me to return home and telework. It was a very productive and less stressful day! Especially after the horror Friday!

Posted by: martie917 | February 16, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Because of the incompetent snow removal that persists 9 days after the snow, I would like not to vote for A. Fenty. (Unfortunately, I can't hold my nose long enuf to vote for V. Grey.) There is no excuse at this time for snow filled curb lanes on Mass, Wisc, and Western Avenues. And AU Park, which i had to drive through looks like a war zone. There is no excuse. And A. Fenty has declared victory vs. the snow so many times. He has his head up the ___. The dismal snow removal, come to think of it, is like the management of most department of the DC government. It still stinks.

Posted by: axolotl | February 16, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

to oknow1: maybe u hav been in govt too long. Most companies do not have a way to "insure" profits due to snow emergencies. and the government would not pay for the cost element of the insurance premium for such coverage in overhead. But the major difference with the private sector is: they expect you to work; snow days are rare or nonexistent--kind of like the work some, but not all, feds claim to do when they are "teleworking." I know this from talking with some feds I know; they have no shame and view it as an entitlement. I am sure there are some who do the work, too, but I can not fathom which mode predominates. There seems to be a lot of jawing, but absolutely no data on work produced or accomplished, regardless of the fact that workers say they are teleworking. Well, what is the result?

Posted by: axolotl | February 16, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Well good since they are now open could they try to fix things at Haskell Indian Nations University now. We want Dr. Linda Sue Warner back!No leader is perfect, however the changes Dr. Warner was trying to implement was to further the institution. Truly the misleadings and false information spread by people who are followers and the attempts to stop progress were led by people perfectly placed in positions (faculty senate, curriculum committee and the union all of whom seem to be the same people). These people do not have students best intentions in mind and are only set on furthering their own personal agendas. Let us thank Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn who clearly has no business leading the Division of Postsecondary Education for being the decison maker in allowing the current actings to act out and help run Haskell into the ground. Why didn't she try to stop them when they canceled the accreditation visits to bring in two new bachelor programs? Oh that's right, she has no idea what she is doing. As for the Board, can someone, anyone show me what this board has done for the school? How much money have they brought in opposed to how much money Haskell has spent on them? I wonder what those numbers looks

Posted by: zooami1 | February 16, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Well good since they are now open could they try to fix things at Haskell Indian Nations University now. We want Dr. Linda Sue Warner back!No leader is perfect, however the changes Dr. Warner was trying to implement was to further the institution. Truly the misleadings and false information spread by people who are followers and the attempts to stop progress were led by people perfectly placed in positions (faculty senate, curriculum committee and the union all of whom seem to be the same people). These people do not have students best intentions in mind and are only set on furthering their own personal agendas. Let us thank Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn who clearly has no business leading the Division of Postsecondary Education for being the decison maker in allowing the current actings to act out and help run Haskell into the ground. Why didn't she try to stop them when they canceled the accreditation visits to bring in two new bachelor programs? Oh that's right, she has no idea what she is doing. As for the Board, can someone, anyone show me what this board has done for the school? How much money have they brought in opposed to how much money Haskell has spent on them? I wonder what those numbers looks like.

Posted by: zooami1 | February 16, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

What can be proven is a sad attempt at having an ‘in service’ day to plan for Haskell Indian Nations University's future did occur on Friday with a less than stellar number of people in attendance (this is my opinion). As a taxpayer and concerned supporter of Haskell it is upsetting to know how much time and money was wasted on Friday. Isn’t is true Haskell already had a day off due to the weather when other local postsecondary institutions still held classes? Don’t the majority of Haskell students live on campus? Will students ever get this time back? Back to Friday’s meeting, when will the information obtained from this planning meeting be made public? How many employees were in attendance? Were they required to sign in to prove they were in attendance making them accountable? What as the agenda? What were the objectives? How is this going to benefit Haskell in the near future? How as the information about the meeting communicated? Were employees encouraged to give feedback and was it received objectively? The current actings need to understand they aren’t just answering to Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn and Mr. Larry Echoahwk but to other concerned supporters. In my estimation, if you have 50 faculty at GS-11 salaries and they spent 8 hours at an all day meeting that was not planned well the total money that was used for that one day would total roughly to $15,000 to $20,000 depending on their step and types of benefits. Not all faculty were involved. Is this how we want our tax dollars spent, toward the progression of nothing? What about the other 200 employees, how did they spend their day? In the end a big waste of time and money.

Posted by: zooami1 | February 16, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Larry Echohawk of Washington's BIE needs to pay more attention to what is happening at Haskell Indian Nations University. How did Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn get her current position? Why has Haskell's President Dr.Linda Sue Warner been detailed out of Haskell? How long will it take for Larry Echohawk's people to answer questions from the Kansas senators (U.S. Sen.Roberts, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins)? And surely Bart Stevens with his little bit of education and experience is not going to become the next Director of the Bureau of Indian Education? Is he? Let's hope not.

Posted by: zooami1 | February 16, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm a long-time federal employee (20 years), and thanks to my telework capabilities I WORKED during the snowstorm last week when OPM shut down D.C. offices. I also went in to work at my usual time today, February 16, even though we had a two-hour excused delayed arrival. I regularly put in 9-10 hour workdays without charging extra, and on the days I telecommute I work even more because I don't lose 2 1/2 hours getting to and from the office. My husband is also a very hardworking federal employee who regularly handles e-mail and phone calls on the days he is supposed to be off. So we don't owe anyone anything.

Posted by: pegysus | February 16, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't it open early for a few months to make up for the lost "work"?

Posted by: fireball72 | February 16, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

I was also a contractor for 20 plus years. I absolutely know what goes on in the contractor offices when the government is off--many of them prop themselves up in their chairs and show up to get billable hours. It's a joke. One of the reasons I left federal contracting is because half the people there were lazy good for nothings who wanted to the minimal amount of work, show their face, and charge the feds for it. Granted, not everyone is like that but they have their share.

Posted by: christineva | February 17, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

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