Eye Opener: For the feds going to work today
Updated 9:12 a.m. ET
Happy Tuesday! And Happy Federal Snow Day 2.0! But many federal employees still have to show up for work today, despite the weather.
Need proof? The Post's David Cho reports that shortly after the federal government announced that it would close for Monday -- cue the yelping for joy around Washington -- the office of the executive secretary for Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner sent a message to its staff saying that he planned to keep his Tuesday schedule.
Cue the groans.
It's not much better at the Government Printing Office, where about 200 printers and security officers were at work Monday, The Post's Carol Morello and N.C. Aizenman report. Sheley Welcher, 40, an assistant production manager whose husband drove her into work from their home in Clinton, said the White House and Congress had several reports that needed printing.
Though not every federal office could do it, this week will certainly revive and refocus the debate on teleworking. Taxpayers lose $100 million each day in lost productivity when the government shuts down. (PLEASE NOTE: The Eye agrees that closing is justified for safety reasons, but the cost is still notable.)
So does your federal office encourage telework? What would be the effect on the workforce and productivity if the federal government allowed more telework? send your extended answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and participate in the poll below.
We’ll publish some answers on Friday on The Post's new The Federal Worker page. You can also send along suggested questions.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below
• Cabinet and Staff News: First Lady Michelle Obama launches a fight against fast. An interview with newly minted GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg says he's not headed to Georgetown. Is the current U.S. ambassador to Indonesia headed next to Pakistan? Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) lifts his hold on most Obama administration nominees. Daniel Weinberg, the man behind the nation's census. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) objects to an NLRB nominee.
• U.S. proposes new climate service: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Service, modeled loosely on the 140-year-old National Weather Service, would provide forecasts to farmers, regional water managers and businesses affected by changing climate conditions.
• Army bases face funding gap this year: Base operations accounts fund a range of activities that support soldiers and their families, including child care centers, utilities and maintenance programs, fitness centers, barracks and dining facilities.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:
• U.S. unveils plan to keep Asian carp out of Great Lakes: Among the tactics in a $78.5 million, 25-point plan: Navigational locks in Illinois waterways that lead to Lake Michigan will be opened less frequently, and officials will more aggressively search for and kill the fish when they are found.
• Federal Reserve hopes clear exit strategy will boost market confidence: Leaders and private economists expect the jobless rate to remain high for years, despite a dip in the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent in January, and the Fed could make the situation worse if it moves too abruptly.
• Labor coalition raises questions about generic drug prices for some feds: Some federal employees enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plans could be paying more for generic prescription drugs through a program run by CVS Pharmacy than they would if they purchased a discount program membership through the chain's retail stores.
• GSA set to announce new federal cafeteria contracts: The effort is part of an administration drive to improve the health of federal employees and direct government dollars to companies that embrace green practices.
• Most agencies expand staffs in 2011: The difference results from the Census Bureau, which will add hundreds of thousands of temporary workers for 2010 for its decennial population count.
• Cost-cutting ideas from the front lines: The budget request includes 20 money-saving ideas culled from the more than 38,000 suggestions employees made last fall in the first-ever SAVE Award contest.
• Obama team debated treating Detroit suspect Abdulmutallab as enemy combatant: Should he have been considered an enemy combatant under the law of war and placed in military detention? The same question raised by senior Republicans last week was considered during a Jan. 6 National Security Council meeting led by President Obama in the White House Situation Room.
• Lawyers back creating new immigration courts: The American Bar Association called Monday for Congress to scrap the current system and create a new, independent court for immigration cases.
• Shuttle blasts off for Space Station: It was the second effort to get the Endeavour off the ground, 24 hours after clouds over the launching pad scrubbed Sunday’s attempt.
• For human spaceflight, can measured beat bold?: The Obama administration has joined the quest to keep humans flying in space. But will its measured proposals, announced last week, succeed where others fell so far short?
• Manned flights beyond Earth's orbit unlikely until at least 2020: The Obama Administration's revised manned space program doesn't envision U.S. astronauts venturing beyond Earth's orbit until at least 2020, and perhaps years later, according to NASA chief Charles Bolden.
• Airport scanners stir fears over security lines: The government's plan to install body scanners in dozens of airports could lengthen security lines and congest terminals, airline and airport officials warn.
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