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Berry: Decision about Monday by Super Bowl kickoff

By Ed O'Keefe

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said he plans to convene a conference call with local, state and federal officials on Sunday around 3 p.m. and hopes to announce his decision about Monday's operating status before the Super Bowl's kickoff.

Berry makes the final decision on when to open or close District area federal offices due to the weather or other events. He declared mission accomplished on Friday afternoon after the Obama administration's first early dismissal of Washington-area federal employees.

"My goal was to have the city essentially evacuated by 2 p.m. and I was watching carefully and I walked home at 3:30 p.m. to verify for myself, and basically the city was empty," Berry said. The White House even called to give him an "attaboy" for coordinating a safe half workday, Berry said.

Officials estimate that closing Washington-area federal offices costs taxpayers roughly $100 million in lost operation and opportunity costs, part of the reason Berry decided to keep federal offices open Friday with unscheduled leave policy and an early dismissal.

"I'm sure there would have been taxpayers concerned that we closed offices when there wasn't any snow on the ground," he said. "That said, we wanted to ensure the safety of our employees."

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 5, 2010; 6:17 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Next: Half of Obama's Cabinet coming over for the Super Bowl


I think that OPM got this just right. I was one of the last to leave my office downtown at 2pm, and the sidewalks were just getting slushy when I got off my bus in Silver Spring an hour later.

Posted by: lkusmin | February 5, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Lets see... over 20" of snow already and its still coming down. No metro, no bus service and neighborhood streets have not been touched by a snowplow. Not to mention that the smaller December storm resulted in the Federal Gov't being closed on Monday. Area schools will obviously be closed on Monday and Tuesday at a way for buses to get in and out of neighborhoods and no way for kids to safely get to their bus stops...

Given all this, John Berry still needs to have a conference call tomorrow to decide whether or not the Federal Gov't will be open on Monday? Duh??? It is actions like this, where common sense is lacking, that makes Americans skeptical of the Federal Gov't! Common sense says the Federal Gov't will be closed on Monday (and possibly on Tuesday too!). Nine years after Sept 11, 2001 all Federal Departments and Agencies should have plans in place for Feds to telework from home... FYI, this was supposed to be a priority for this Administration since 2009 to ensure the continuity of government operations but as everyone knows, so far, little to no action. Simply another example of over-promise and under deliver by the crowd that can't govern. Call the ball now! Use some common sense!

Posted by: traveler11 | February 6, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry about the costs. When the government is closed, America prospers.

Posted by: member8 | February 6, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

One needs to have their priorities straight.It seems like a huge amount of money but in this country we place values on human life.

Posted by: djnumerouno | February 7, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

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