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Eye Opener: Should the government close Tuesday?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Monday! And Happy Snow Day (for most)! Washington area federal offices are closed today, which means the region's largest employer will keep most workers away from the office.

The decision marks the first time the government has shut down this year due to the weather and only the second time during the Obama administration.

With roads impassable, trains and buses running on skeleton schedules and all major school districts closed, officials at the Office of Personnel Management deemed a Monday commute too dangerous, officials said.

But should the government even bother opening on Tuesday? It costs the federal government roughly $100 million in lost productivity and associated opportunity costs, but most schools will be closed, there's only limited public transportation service, most side streets will likely still be impassable and another 8 inches could call fall by Wednesday morning.


Check back later for Tuesday's operating status and Sign up for closing and delays alerts from The Federal Eye

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has not picked out her mother of the bride dress. Defense Secretary Robert Gates thinks tougher sanctions could work on Iran. White House Counterterrorism Adviser John O. Brennan criticized politicians for using terrorism situations as a "political football." Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner says the U.S. is not in danger of losing its strong credit rating despite a ballooning budget deficit. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is scheduled to meet today with President Obama. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco unveil new climate change policies today. Liberals split on Obama's next Supreme Court pick.

A federal effort to push junk food out of schools: The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years.

Review ordered at Census to ensure accuracy of data: The agency's head has ordered a review of the government's efforts to protect the identity of individuals after researchers discovered months ago that years of publicly available data on the elderly contain numerous errors due to the government's use of "masking" techniques.

McChrystal: Afghan military push needs government: The success of a planned major U.S.-Afghan offensive in the south depends on how quickly troops and civilian development workers can get public services up and running once the Taliban have been driven away.

Military poll shows less opposition to gays serving openly: The poll of about 3,000 active-duty troops will show that opposition has dropped from nearly two-thirds (65%) in 2004 to about half (51%) today.

With federal stimulus money gone, many schools face budget gaps: Congress included about $100 billion for education in the stimulus law last year to cushion the recession’s impact. New studies show that many states will spend all or nearly all that is left between now and the end of this school term.

FDA clears drug chief of conflict: She's been cleared of allegations of conflict of interest stemming from her interactions with scientists at a biotechnology company that has a long-pending application at the agency.

Al-Qaeda is a wounded but dangerous enemy: New assessments of al-Qaeda by the top U.S. counterterrorism experts offer grounds for both optimism and concern a year after President Obama took office.

Obama-backed wind farm in Mass. meets strong resistance: The nearly decade-long fight over whether to construct a 130-turbine offshore wind farm near Martha's Vineyard has spurred numerous state and federal regulatory reviews. It has cost millions in lobbying fees and has prompted an intense political debate on Cape Cod and in Washington.

Permits drag on U.S. mining projects: Obtaining the permits and approvals needed to build a mine in the U.S. takes an average of seven years, among the longest wait time in the world. Despite having vast underground stores of raw materials, the U.S. is one of the last places miners go to start a project.

U.S. sends a message by stepping up crackdown on foreign business bribes: Efforts to police corrupt business payments have intensified in recent weeks, with multimillion-dollar corporate settlements and coordinated arrests of individual executives accused of attempting to grease the skids.

Postal Service asks four firms to help it deliver in a green way: Several California companies are partners in the contracts to develop prototype postal vans that run on electricity.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 8, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Normally I'd say no but I just drove into the office and the roads are crap! No put in putting all those extra people on the roads in unsafe conditions.

Posted by: Razor04 | February 8, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Mr. O'keefe why do you keep throwing that, "$100 million in lost productivity" out there? What's a human life worth to you? What about several? Since schools are closed parents will have to take younger children to childcare. And what's the lost productivity if someone ends up as a fatality? Will we have their knowledge available to us? Sorry, not all positions in the federal government are as interchangeable as newspaper writers or bloggers.

Posted by: MDL7 | February 8, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Where is the option for "Yes, because your street still hasn't been plowed literally making it impossible to go anywhere let alone to work".

Posted by: RickyBobby | February 8, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Mr. O'keefe why do you keep throwing that, "$100 million in lost productivity" out there? What's a human life worth to you? What about several? Since schools are closed parents will have to take younger children to childcare. And what's the lost productivity if someone ends up as a fatality? Will we have their knowledge available to us? Sorry, not all positions in the federal government are as interchangeable as newspaper writers or bloggers.



If you're job was *that* important, you wouldn't be able to miss two days of work.

Posted by: arlingtonresident | February 8, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: arlingtonresident | February 8, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately not all support for the government will close. You may be comming to work even if you live in Winchester VA, Martinsburg, WV or Hagerstown, MD. We were slammed with more than two feet of snow with some of the most treacherous roads in the region.

I can name at least one installation that will force us to come to work (non-critical support).

Installation Authorities may not change their policy until someone loses their life driving to work. Some may never change, even if someone dies.

Posted by: BreadAndWater | February 8, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Of course let me be clear, no one could ever force you to come to work and certainly alot of authorities open a liberal leave policy. There are people like me, that do not have time off. We are the population of the workforce that need to come to work even if its scary road conditions. Monday is a work day for me (leaving for work in a few minutes) and certainly Tuesday and Wednesday my facility will be open. No sense in keeping our workforce alive, they are dime a dozen.

Posted by: BreadAndWater | February 8, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Somebody, somewhere came up with this absurd $100 million number, and now it is repeated by everyone like gospel. Perhaps you can give us a more serious number with all factors included (work that will be made up, time that won't be spent discussing the super bowl, etc.), and tell us how it was derived.

Posted by: hschlossberg1 | February 8, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

"It costs the federal government roughly $100 million in lost productivity and associated opportunity costs,"

What opportunities are the federal government missing due to the shut down?

Writing parking tickets?

Posted by: HughJassPhD | February 8, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Uh, ever heard of telecommuting? THIS should be a wakeup call to those in the government that have been opposing it.

If they had allowed telecommuting infrastructure to be set up extensively with workers, the building closings would not mean so much lost productivity.

In the private sector, people take work home in anticipation of a snowstorm. And consultants like me continue to work--all we need to cancel is face time with clients.

Posted by: anganarshah1 | February 8, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I think it's a little early to tell. Later this afternoon or early this evening, when we see how the cleanup is going and (likely) have a better idea of what's going to happen on Tuesday, it will be easier to decide what the best course of action is.

Posted by: psknight | February 8, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I am working from home and I might for tomorrow as well.

No lost productivity for me and as anganarshah1 said, ever heard of telecommuting?.

Posted by: eaglestrk01 | February 8, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

You clearly are not considering the federal employees who are working from home. It is called telecommuting. (This is in fact normal for many on a weekly basis.) They cannot get to work, or anywhere else for that matter. Their streets remain impassable because municipalities cannot get the streets plowed and salted, and public transit is not operating, so they work from their couches or dining room tables. While it is not a huge number of people, it is significant and important time-sensitive work gets done.
As for those not working from home, the work will be waiting for them to return and bosses expect it to be done ASAP. Nothing is "lost." If people think everyone gets paid OT or gets comp time for completing said work outside of regular working hours, think again.

Posted by: Sooska | February 8, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey, not all of the federal gov't is closed. What about USPS? They are out there trying to get your mail picked up and delivered. Please try and dig out your mailboxs if able.

Posted by: zack1126 | February 8, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

How do we telecommute if we have no power???

Posted by: marie_d1 | February 8, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Too many Feds I know act just like elementary school kids when their schools might be or are closed. Shows great job commitment, eh? I would be fine with the closings if the employees were charged leave, or LWOP. Why should the rest of the country finance a big playday for the desk jockies in Washington. Yes, I know there is a wealth of dedication and energy and good feelings--but hardly any sacrifice in their work lifes. Feds have benefits that 97 percent of their fellow citizens do not have. Let the Feds pay for playtime, eh?

Posted by: axolotl | February 8, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I think the Federal Govt should open tomorrow but give early dismissal if the snow starts earlier than predicted. If it does not, then the commute would be slow but not bad. It's Wednesday that we need to talk about closing again!

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | February 8, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

axolotl, I am an hourly federal employee with no benefits. Every day that the federal government closes, I lose pay. However, until public transportation is up and running, I vote that they close. Without public transportation, many of us have no way of getting around.

Posted by: sbindc | February 8, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"$100 million in lost productivity" is an antiquated assumption--it doesn't take into consideration the number of employees telecommuting and working even though the government is closed. I worked at home over the weekend, and will be working at home today. As long as we maintain the idea that work only happens in the office, we stall efforts to get telecommuting widely accepted as an effective way to be productive without clogging up the roads and burning fuel.

Posted by: copperpenny | February 8, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Roads in the DC business district are not good .. barely saw a plow, especially at the metered spots. Until Metro can get their act together, forget it.

Oh and when will DC finally start leveling heavy fines for howowners who do not clean their short run of sidewalks? They had out tickets like candy for parking .. why not this. That would make a big difference for folks trying to get to work or school (and that includes you GW for the sidewalks around Foggy Bottom).

Posted by: tslats | February 8, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

In Jan 1986 we had two back to back 10" storms and when the fed. gov. said go back to work, I set out. I didn't make it, have had significant pain issues ever since that did not enhance my quality as an employee. This was pre-Internet. After that whenever we had significant snow, I took leave days when we weren't shut down. I'm now retired and grateful I do not have to go out or take leave. Once the Internet became an integral part of many of our working lives I always thought we should be able to work from home when events such as massive snows called for it. I concluded it would take a tech savvy president for that to happen, but too many agencies have not yet moved in this direction. We can be productive from home without risking our lives and limbs.

By the way, I miss my print edition which has not arrived for 3 days, but understand why. In the assorted articles I've read on the Internet, I haven't seen anyone actually say Thank You to all the police & fire departments, snowplow crews, the power companies, the grocers and other stores and anyone else involved in trying to keep us safe, clear the roads, restore power, and keep us supplied. It may have been said and I missed it. I'd like to express gratitude to everyone who merits it. THANK YOU.

Posted by: MKW22201 | February 8, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Normally I would say lets try and pull it off. I just got in from a walk around DuPont Circle and the roads are in horrible shape. It would be irresponsible to expect people to come in tomorrow.

Posted by: coloradoslopes27 | February 8, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

have us work from home and test the effectiveness of telework under these circumstances!

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | February 8, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

OPM has a difficult call to make. With Metro and busses operating at below 50% capacity, they made the right call today. As for tomorrow, I think they should have an unscheduled leave day with either a delayed opening or an early dismissal.

Many of us do have the ability to telecommute and should try to work from home if possible, regardless if they close shop. I'm a fed and I am actually doing some work today because I have a presentation on Thursday that needs to be ready by tomorrow. So don't say that the government doesn't have dedicated workers. If they had better telecommuting infrastructure and policies in place, a lot of us could be productive during an event such as this.

That is, if we have electricity!

Posted by: sophiamaria | February 8, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm so sick of the people complaining about the federal government, my God, move to Iceland!!!! Guess what, we pay taxes too!!! We work for our pay, just because you chose not to go to college and you don't have a "desk job," doesn't make you more productive than anyone else. Besides, the economy is changing to a service economy, so it's in your best interest to get off your a**, get an edcuation, and stop b******g about the federal government. You're not the only one who pays taxes genuis.

Posted by: nsu1203 | February 8, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Give the politicians the week off, including the Prez.

The country will save billions.

Posted by: bandcyuk | February 8, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

This loss of productivity thing is total BS. I am a government employee and guess what I'm doing right now? WORKING! Like many government employees, my agency issues us laptops with secure remote connectivity capabilities. I'm lucky to have power (and internet) so I just fire up my laptop and start to work like any other day. Teleworking is an awesome way to prevent the loss of productivity and the majority of federal employees CAN and DO telework. All my colleagues are online right now as well and we have talked via phone several times already this AM. It's not rocket science.

There is NO REASON that the federal government should open tomorrow. With more snow coming and a transportation system that is already crippled, we should stay off the roads and let emergency/critical personnel (i.e., hospital workers, Pepco crews, etc) have priority. There were several accidents just outside of my neighborhood this AM. If we open up the government tomorrow, rest assured someone(s) will get killed trying to walk to a bus stop or driving on a partially-plowed road. It just makes no sense to force people to go into an office for jobs that they can easily do from their home!! Anyway, rest assured that this government worker is losing very little productivity today!

Posted by: Stats | February 8, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

suggest another option for this poll: Yes, close the government -- not because its too dangerous, but because the commute in/out is going to be a total mess.

Posted by: kudzu13 | February 8, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

My road still has two feet of snow on it and hasn't been touched by a plow. Considering that we are usually plowed fairly soon after a snow, I assume that many others are in similar shape.

The government should close. Not that I'm even a government worker, but I won't go into my office tomorrow unless there is considerable improvement today.

Posted by: ghokee | February 8, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This is a perfect opportunity to test the effectiveness of the teleworking system, provided everyone has power.

I sympathize with those who are still without electricity (but do wonder how marie_d1 submitted a post if she has no power. The only thing I have to whine about is that I have yet to see a City of Rockville plow in my neighborhood, so am stuck at home.

I love my job working for that agency that regulates food and drugs, and am lucky that I have the flexibility to work from home and be productive, even when we've been granted the day off. I believe the work I do to advance public health is important, and work with hundreds of people who feel the same way. Lots of us are online today getting the job done. So please consider that there are many good, dedicated federal employees who don't take advantage of unexpected time off to kick back. We take very seriously our obligation to the taxpayers. (Which by the way, includes us!)

Posted by: copperpenny | February 8, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

It's up to Metro for me. If the above ground stations are closed, I'm staying home. I would think OPM would try real hard to open the government tomorrow, since they will probably have to close Wednesday. By the way, when I retire and move from the area, I'll be sure to write to the Post and whine every time federal employees get a snow day.

Posted by: spidey103 | February 8, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I live in between 2 federal buildings: FDIC and DARPA in Arlington. How many individual vehicles is it reasonable to haul out of the snowbanks in order to say we are keeping the economy going? There have been far too many already. The police, the road crews and other essential services deserve the space to work to do their job! The majority of us can use our phones & internet to at least keep up with ours. Please people, use your heads!

Posted by: Diana7Brian | February 8, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

All I know is that I must work for the only Federal Agency that is open today. Yep the USPS is open with unscheduled leave, it was stupid decision in my oppinion and they put many of their employees in harms way.

As a contractor for the USPS I unable to use the unscheduled leave policy so I either have to report to work or go unpaid.

The roads I had to take to get to work this morning were barely passable as they were coverd with ice and packed snow.

Posted by: katherinefigster | February 8, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'd be happy to work from home. However, my section has decided that a generous telecommunting policy is one day per 2 wk. pay period, and it has to be the same day and the same week of the pay period, no changing because of meetings, weather, etc. That's a full 26 days per year, barring travel, meetings, etc. So progressive!

Here in Anne Arundel Co., the main roads are passable, but the private drives are not. Snow plow services are backed up and not returning calls, a couple of people with plows on their pickups said their trucks couldn't handle it, and it's too long to dig by hand.

I would be thrilled to go to work, if only I could get the 4 wd vehicle out of here.

Posted by: trichobezoar | February 8, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

To mitigate the effects on taxpayers from lost productivity, I wonder to what extent the government could institute a mandatory telecommute for agency/office employees?

I would also like to point out that it is somewhat inappropriate to lead with "Hillary Clinton has not picked out her mother of the bride dress" right next to "Robert Gates thinks tougher sanctions would work on Iran," unless that was in fact, the main update on Sec. Clinton. As she is Secretary of State, I would suggest that there is probably more to update readers on, even if it is a snow day.

Posted by: cstarah | February 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Those complaining about lost productivity and suggesting that federal employees should use leave so that the taxpayers won't "finance a big playday" are jealous that they can't have a free snow day and are likely the same type who complain about trying for 4 years to get a federal position for the perks.

Posted by: dsm22304 | February 8, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I can't get out of my street so it doesn't matter what OPM decides. I won't be there Tuesday and maybe the rest of the week. I'd be pissed if I had to take vacation days for an historic snow storm.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 8, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

If I could work from home I'd be busy right now. But no. Many supervisors just can't stomach that. They don't mind that employees are stranded at home. They just don't want them working.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 8, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: trichobezoar says it for me. I've told my boss more than once that if I could work from home it would save my agency money. I wouldn't take space up at HQ, I wouldn't need transit benefits, and I wouldn't have missed time due to weather, dead former presidents, etc. But no. That would mean losing control of a worker in his mind. Yea, right.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 8, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I can definitely see the Federal government opening tomorrow with liberal leave, even if schools are closed and Metro is only running underground and with very limited buses. That way, John Berry will look good. What that means, of course, is that thousands of federal workers who have kids home and/or can't get to work via public transit or their cars will have to burn annual leave. But don't worry, the union will still support the administration, no matter how unfriendly it is toward federal workers.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 8, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This may not be the appropriate forum for this issue, but since I've seen it brought up several times, I'll toss it out there: start writing to your Congressional representatives about federal managers who won't allow workers to telecommute because they have the 20th century attitude that work only happens in the office. Make the points several of you have already stated in your posts. Telecommuting saves fuel, reduces traffic congestion, energy used by federal offices, and eliminates the hour or two we need at the office to de-compress after a rough commute before we can concentrate on working. Managers who won't allow telecommuting are dinosaurs, and need to be "re-programmed" or retire. It's a new century with new technology. Get on board!

Posted by: copperpenny | February 8, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I say keep the government closed for as long as possible. If it becomes a problem the I guess we should reopen it. Maybe. TFL, Ken

Posted by: kentigereyes | February 8, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

If the Metro is not open above ground tomorrow then I don't see how the government can be - if people were "forced" to go in, extra cars on the road sure would be productive.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 8, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I too work for the Postal Service and was very surprised and dismayed by their decision to go with unscheduled leave. I did make it in today -- not an easy task since trains aren't running and metro is not above ground. Fortunately I have a patient husband that drove me in with conditions that were extremely dicey. Yes I could have taken leave but when you are still trying to build your leave, you don't want to use it on this. As for telecommuting, would have been happy to do it but it's not an option unless you are participating in the program already. PS -- hope my mailman understands (if he even can get IN my neighborhood) -- I was going to clear the mailbox today if we were closed. They made a bad call -- just like opening in December for the other storm. Government should close especially if the means of transportation are not available to workers. I couldn't imagine if all Feds were on the road with us this morning.

Posted by: mrschase | February 8, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I seriously doubt anyone enjoys being homebound for days on end. I am a federal worker; I'd like to be able to go in tomorrow if conditions permit. However, I don't think they will and I am unwilling to compromise my safety to get to work. I did that back in January on icy roads and ended up getting rear ended by someone who hit a patch of black ice.

And as for telecommuting, those of us who work in museums and libraries cannot do it depending on our position. It's a nice option for those who can, but for many positions like mine, you absolutely have to be in the building.

Posted by: annoyedVAdriver | February 8, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Keep the government closed until the roads and transportation systems in the city and close-in suburbs are functioning. Then give liberal leave on subsequent days. Don't shut the government down because Loudoun County isn't dug out yet. People who chose to live in the distant counties knew there is a trade-off. They can take leave.

Posted by: dottie_b | February 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I am a federal government worker. In anticipation of the storm and advice from a friend I brought some work home. I am sure there are others that did the same thing. If the government had been proactive, when they encouraged telework this past Friday, they should have included Monday as well. I doubt there is '100 million of lost productivity.'

Posted by: tcttlc | February 8, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The longer the government is closed the better off we all will be.

Posted by: member8 | February 8, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Many federal workers and contractors live outside the beltway where snow is still a major problem and public transportation is unavailable. Given the diversity of people's capability to navigate their vehicles in snow, the wise choice is to limit the strain on our first responders and allow the road crews sufficient time to clear the snow. While the $100M cost in lost productivity is staggering, the reality is that even with the government open, the snow situation would prevent a large portion of that figure from being recaptured, yet the cost to the regions first responders, insurance companies, and personal finances would limit any perceived return on investment. In plain English: keep the people home until the cost of their commute as a whole region is less than the return on their productivity at work.

Posted by: altruisticone | February 8, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The federal government should stay closed until the buses and Metro are up and running. All those cars on the road with the slippery icy conditions would be a disaster. Once the buses are running, then open. Then people have options. And, some, like my dh take the bus regularly to work. We only have one car. He can't get to work if the BMW (bus, metro, walk) isn't working.

Posted by: queen522 | February 8, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

How could they open tomorrow?

Have people been outside lately? Cars can still barely move outside....Cars are still getting stuck....the Metro isn't running full speed.

Until those problems get fixed, how could they open?

Posted by: Bious | February 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The good Lord is looking down upon us, and will hopefully keep the Congress and White House closed this week, where they can do little more damage -- if only it is for ONE WEEK! Thank you LORD!

Posted by: wheeljc | February 8, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Even huge intersections like those in Chinatown, etc, and still essentially snow-packed as if it were a Colorado ski town. There's no way a full load of cars and buses could safely be commuting.

And on TOP of it all, tomorrow afternoon there is going to be a wintry mix turning to snow. So even if you get to work alive, good luck getting home!

And when the national debt is in the trillions, what's another $100 million anyway?

Posted by: SWester2010 | February 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

WashingtonDame, I don't know which federal agency you work for (if any), but my agency's union is fighting this administration on many issues. Just because this admin is more union-friendly doesn't mean the unions will roll over for them.

Posted by: sophiamaria | February 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Can we get some up to date information on post offices closed and open? Do they have web site that can tell me if my neighborhood post office is open or will my slog through the snow be a waste of energy?

Posted by: adamclymer | February 8, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

until Metro is operating close to "normal" there's no way the government can open. A very large percentage of federal workers commute via metro. To add all of those cars (many with nowhere to park) to a road system that is open but not at full capacity would make rush hour last several hours longer than usual.

Posted by: fedssocr | February 8, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Technically all post offices are supposed to be open in this area (that's why I am in the office). The only thing that should prevent them from being open would be if they are without power. I looked on and they have not updated the site to reflect the operating status from Saturday (so WHY are we all in the office???). I would recommend you locate your local PO on the site and call them.

Posted by: mrschase | February 8, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of lost productivity, it would have been so much worse had both large storms hit during the week.

Posted by: annoyedVAdriver | February 8, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I live in Anacostia, and I depend on public transportation (bus and subway) to get to work. My bus line isn't one that is on the snow emergency route, so I'm unable even to get to the subway station without having to trek about ten blocks down unplowed streets. As far as I'm concerned, until the road crews and Metrobus can make it possible for me to get a bus to the subway station, both the federal and the District governments should remain closed.

Posted by: deborahdessaso749 | February 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

It's not just people in distant counties who are stuck. I'm a fed employee, but I live in DC and work in VA. I can take the metro but if above ground stations aren't open that's not an option. I usually drive but there's just no way I'm getting my car out. I live on a small side street that's still covered.

I'd love to telecommute but that's not an option in my office (classification - don't forget that part of some jobs). That being said, I'm spending the day with a good work-related book. So worry not, fellow citizens - I promise to spend the day making myself better at my job.

Posted by: horace1 | February 8, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The government needs to get more serious about telecommuting. The roads would be safer and we'd avoid productivity loss if the Feds would allow more employees to telecommute. I think Obama should keep the government offices closed tomorrow, but encourage employees to work from home if at all possible. The roads are terrible, and Metro can't handle everyone.

Posted by: dcmom | February 8, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

YES!!!! Thank you, cstarah, for noticing the 'bulletin' about Mrs. Clinton choosing her mother of the bride dress. How insulting to her. AND, thank you, SWester. The roads are still dangerous. Add in thousands of pedestrians and cars. What a ridiculous waste of time and stress for the workers, and unnecessary burden to the already-overworked road crews and EMT's.

Posted by: aurelia49 | February 8, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The premise for this poll is somewhat misleading. It's claimed that $100 million will be lost in productivity if government shuts down, but this doesn't take into account that many of us will be doing extra work to catch up with our schedules and project timelines. I'm even getting a bit of work done that I normally wouldn't with all the distractions that normally happen at work. Maybe the cost is about 1/2 what they're estimating.

Posted by: notindc1 | February 8, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I am a relatively new federal employee without much leave.

I live in NOVA inside the Beltway, and my street has yet to be plowed. There's no way I can get my car out to drive to the Metro until the plows come.

My office is one of the few federal offices that do not have a telework option; however, I could very easily do my work from home. I even brought some work home, just in case, but I don't plan on doing it if I am forced to take leave.

I'm hoping that the federal government is closed tomorrow, otherwise I'll be forced to take leave that I don't have and can't afford to lose. :(

Posted by: carolj1 | February 8, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

To "member8": Next time there's an outbreak of salmonella or a drug recall, I'll make sure my co-workers don't come to work to try to save lives and prevent it from happening again. You have no idea how hard federal employees work to protect you and your family.

Posted by: copperpenny | February 8, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I've read quite a few comments regarding lives. Guess what dumb5hits, people die commuting everyday. But I guess snow creates a perfect excuse for the babies out there. Drive slow be safe and you'll survive. Good thing these spineless lazy POS didn't live 200 years ago.

Posted by: askgees | February 8, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

just curious, what doesn't get done if the federal govt doesn't show up to work? Some can telecommute, while others surf the net and play games. Less people on the road until va, md and dc can clear the streets.

Posted by: larry40 | February 8, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I am working from home and I might for tomorrow as well.

No lost productivity for me and as anganarshah1 said, ever heard of telecommuting?.

Posted by: eaglestrk01 | February 8, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Yes I'm sure the building engineers, facility managers and so on could telecommute. There's always a group of id10t's that think because they can telecommute that everyone can. One day they'll actually grow a brain. More than half of the jobs with in the FED Gov. are not able to be done VIA telecommuting. They require on site staff. If you're lucky enough to have a position that allows for telecommuting then consider yourselves lucky but don't act like an imbecile and think everyone can.

Posted by: askgees | February 8, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I like the comment regarding federal government employees having to take annual leave and think it should apply to state employees as well. If I people need to sacrifice, shouldn't our government employees do a little sacrificing as well? It should be considered because I doubt many want more taxes

Posted by: wdsager | February 8, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

axolotl - benefits? HA! I pay over $400 per month for health insurance and still get billed like crazy by the Dr's for things not covered (we are talking annual visits, nothing special here). Oh ya, paid maternity leave (like most companies give) - try NONE!! FMLA is all there is all there is for us, i.e. UNPAID leave, gee thanks!

Posted by: bobobee | February 8, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@wdsager: what "sacrifices" are you referencing that federal workers aren't making that the rest of the population faces -we've had bonuses/raises reduced or cut outright (despite the fact that in the "fat" years fed bonuses remain limited); many agencies have or will face rifs; many of us have spouses that have been laid off, lost savings/TPS in crash -putting aside the 60 hr work week many of us have what else are you looking for? Specifics are always helpful.

Posted by: fedwkr | February 8, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I wish all those anti-Fed people would listen to themselves talk. Bunch of whiners. Federal Workers are people too, with families, who have the same kind of problems as the private sector employees.

Why do you think we are so "privledged"? We work hard, get up every morning, take our kids to school, daycare, pay mortgages, put up with bosses, need I go on?

If you want to get all of the "benefits" we supposedly have, go look at USAJobs for vacancies.

Posted by: sb0457 | February 8, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I am a federal employee that does NOT have a desk job. I work face-to-face with the public and believe me when I say that it's a challenge.

I haven't been to work since Friday. Quite honestly I'm getting a little stir-crazy, and if the Metro's up tomorrow, I'm going in. But knowing how mismanaged D.C. is, especially with their money... I don't see it happening.

Posted by: fireball72 | February 8, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

To dsm2234: no, I have never coveted a federal position because it is cushy and has snow-days, which are seemingly the attraction you find in government employment. That is disgusting. Remember, 97 percent of people don't have the benefits, including retirement and tremendous job security that you do. And all of us pay for you. What service do you provide our country. Many worthy, hardworking federal civil servants can answer that proudly. I get the feeling that you are one who cannot.

Posted by: axolotl | February 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

If I people need to sacrifice, shouldn't our government employees do a little sacrificing as well?

What makes you think we don't? Last time I looked at my paycheck, over half of my salary goes toward taxes, Social Security, Medicare, blah blah...

Some of us don't have a cushy desk job in the Federal government. Some of us DO have to work weekends and holidays - as non-essential employees, yet. I have to pay out of my own pocket to work my weekend shifts because the commuter trains don't run. How is that not sacrificing?

That 100 million in productivity number - that's funny. People have NO IDEA of what I'm facing when I come back to work. I work with the public - a very angry, drug-addled public. Trust me when I tell you that I'm the last one that wanted time off, because when that happens, my agency's schedule is thrown off completely, and we have to start all over again explaining to these people what's going on. NOT fun.

Posted by: fireball72 | February 8, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Fedworkers unite! I would hazard a guess that many of those who complain about government workers (regardless of party affilation or social politics) have themselves never made an effort to participate in the process -either through full time state or federal government service (career or political), military service, or part-time through participation in local/municipal boards or committees, or local volunteer efforts. I do a number of these things -doesn't make me a better person, but as one who at least makes an effort to work to fix the system I would argue it gives me more of a right to complain when necessary than arm-chair whiners.

Posted by: fedwkr | February 8, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, fireball 72. Paying for commuting is not a sacrifice. Working uncompensated overtime is extremely common in private industry for any desk-bound, white collar worker, of which you may also be one. Paying taxes is not a sacrifice. Jeez, what do you want a well-paid, no-work, nontaxable job. Fed employees, in my experience, are really sharp on benefit details--they spend an awful lot of work time on HR matters. And they have unparalleled job security--worth a little bit in today's environment, would you not say? Again, there are many hard working federal employees who earn their pay and can articulate what they do for the country and its citizens--no, not coming to work and going to meetings and surfing. That used to be the norm, but I suspect with all the carping that is evident on this blog, that is no longer the case. Especially if commuting costs and taxes are viewed as a sacrifice. Good heavens.

Posted by: axolotl | February 8, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

If they get Metro running to above ground stations then I say make it liberal leave.

Until then they should stay closed.

Posted by: RedBird27 | February 8, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

NOTE TO PUBLIC OFFICIALS: CONDITIONS FOR PEDESTRIANS REMAIN DANGEROUS. In addition to considering road conditions and public transportation service, decision-making officials need to pay EQUAL attention to the condition of the sidewalks and crosswalks, which currently range from miserable to unpassable. The plowing that is done to clear the roads for cars has made conditions more dangerous for pedestrians, who have to walk in the street to get by. If you have underground parking in your building it's one thing, but the majority of commuters will have a certain amount of walking built into their commute, even if it is only it is too and from the metro.

Posted by: tango1 | February 8, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The Federal Offices should be closed but people who are able, should work from home. If you can't work from home, then you should take annual leave. For example, security guards should not be required to take annual leave since their job requires them to be onsite. However, most professional office employees should be able to work remotely. Of course it gets difficult if you don't have power or a good internet connection. I'm a Federal employee and have been working from home most of today but only a handful of people called into my meetings.

Posted by: MightyT | February 8, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

On one hand, as a native of the Great Lakes snowbelt region, I think DC is a bit wimpy when it come to dealing with snow, but I also recognize that they just don't have the resources to handle it efficiently. I live 3 miles from where I work, with three ways to get there: 1) drive my car, 2) take the bus, 3) walk. My street hasn't been plowed and I don't have 4WD, so #1's out. I waited an hour for a bus today. If homeowners/businesses were a little more courteous in shoveling the sidewalks in front of them, #3 would be doable. But walking on busy streets for 3 miles isn't really safe. If I have trouble with a 3 mile commute, what about everyone else who lives further out?

Honestly, I have a telework agreement but would much rather go into the office- I'm going a bit stir-crazy at home. But if public transportation isn't back up and running tomorrow, I think the feds have no choice but to cancel. Putting more cars on roads that are still sketchy, with a new storm coming in, just isn't a good idea.

Posted by: lb79 | February 8, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

It really irks me when the media reports on the millions of dollars of lost productivity when the federal government closes. Has it ever occurred to you that it simply isn't safe to drive, or entrust our lives to questionably safe Metro buses and trains? HELLO, we just had a blizzard! My neighborhood hasn't even been plowed. Are federal workers' lives so expendable that we have to be made an example of just for OPM to 'save face?' If Mr. O'Keefe wants to slip and slide, have at it. But don't blame federal workers for 'lost productivity' when this is an act of nature.

Posted by: emvs01 | February 8, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

you said,

"Mr. O'keefe why do you keep throwing that, "$100 million in lost productivity" out there? What's a human life worth to you? What about several?"

The only human life I saw risked today, while the government was closed, was people buying lattes at Starbucks and driving too fast on the way to the grocery.

Yes, some roads are impassable, so stay home and use leave or telecommute. But let's not pretend that most cannot work for half a day tomorrow and use judgment to leave the office early or will be risking their life. Most of the government workers I see are shoveling fast food down their throats all day, and that poses a much higher risk than having to walk on some ice or driving 10 mph on 66.

The 300 lb women I see gorging themselves at the lunch buffets at L'Enfant Plaza while they are incapable of returning an email or phone call don't deserve another day off, let alone their jobs.

Wegmans and Starbucks were packed today so evidently the luxury of visiting those expensive stores was worth the risk to their lives.

Posted by: jackson641 | February 8, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Federal employees don't "protect you and your family"

For the most part, they don't even work.

Posted by: member8 | February 8, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I dont mind if the fed gov closes...just simply refund my taxes for those days...I dont pay for them to sit at home and play twister and drink scotch.....

Posted by: SA-Town | February 8, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm not terribly concerned about the loss of productivity. If the government hired temporary employees to work off the backlog, I might be more concerned about costs. What will happen in most Federal offices is that the work that isn't done because of snow days just will be added to the pile to do the following day. Perhaps, a few SESer/4-stars will get their briefings reworked only 6 times instead the normal 8 to 10. I suspect that most of what will be lost is rock-polishing. The real work will get done; the work to flatter the egos of Seniors will be lost.

Posted by: CLR1 | February 8, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The only thing dangerous here are those who say they think it's dangerous. If the masses were compelled to go to work, then Metro would be compelled to run those damn buses and clean all that track. Rail should have been completely opened and ready to carry trains by 6-am Monday.

It stopped snowing more than 72 HOURS ago, folks. No wonder government has such a bad name. They think we're a bunch of overpaid. candy-a$$ed wussies,and it's becoming more and more difficult to argue that we're not.

Posted by: loulor | February 8, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Your reasoning is idiotic, SA-Town. How about I get my property tax money back for schools I pay for when I don't have kids? Or for roads on which I don't drive? Furthermore, my government agency isn't even sustained by taxpayer money. Get a clue.

Posted by: annoyedVAdriver | February 8, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I can tell you, even if buses are running-I not sure where I could stand to wait for a bu, and this would be on a snow emenency route- I looked at one of my possible stops and iut had 2 feet of snow, and one lane was full of snow-- I expect I would be hit by a car, or the bus

Posted by: minerdude | February 8, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

There is no big loss to productivity. The amount of work I have to do does not change if the government is closed. I have to believe it is the same with a lot of people.

If people want to pay for a transit system and transportation system that can recover from a two to three foot snowfall in 48 hours, I would be happy to use it. But I doubt most of the whiners would be willing to pay for that.

Posted by: sleestak3 | February 8, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Of course the Government should close on Tuesday.

What a stupid question.

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 8, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"If the masses were compelled to go to work, then Metro would be compelled to run those damn buses and clean all that track. Rail should have been completely opened and ready to carry trains by 6-am Monday."

loulou, take some meds and relax. The "masses"? Whoa there.

You have no idea what sort of strain this puts on a system that isn't designed to cope with the brunt of 3 feet of snow. YOU go out and clean off the 50 miles of above-ground rail tracks and all of the covered cars in the train yards. Oh, and try doing it without having any way for your employees to actually GET to work.

Posted by: SWester2010 | February 8, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Two part answer.

Specific to this week, the government should most definitely close tomorrow because the DC public school system just announced closure along with nearly 12 others in our area, mass transit both above ground metro and bus won't be running at full capacity or at all, another 5-10 inches of snow are due, numerous issues still with secondary roads and power outages. The decision is a no-brainer.

In general, barring the unusual circumstances of two storms like this week, the government should be open/liberal leave and those who are capable of telecommute will report in as usual from their home office. The problem of course is many agencies do not have official telecommute policies. My agency is one such example, the former national director actually felt it was counter productive to work at home and would result in decreased performance. The current national director is still new, and has not made any official announcements of support.

Many agency heads are old school and don't understand the new techonlogies, while others know full well how productive people can be but deal with IT security and infrastructure issues or policy. Let's just say that the issue of "should" as to telecommuting is no longer an issue, it's simply a matter of "how" and "if" for most agencies.

It is my hope this week serves as a trigger to force our government to create sensible policies and standardized security protocols that can be adopted by and customized to individual security needs. Not only will the work get done, but more efficiently and more appealingly to folks coming from the private sector considering federal employment. Being able to work at home on a scheduled basis and during weather events is good for our economy, as well.

This needs to happen across all agencies, not just some of them. NOW.

Posted by: JimGoldbloomVA | February 8, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest. It's not $100M in lost productivity; it's $100M in lost salaries and benefits. The Government does not produce anything, with the possible exception of the military. In light of the growing grasp of the federal government over our personal lives, perhaps it's a good thing for government to shut down.

Posted by: DPetray | February 8, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, roads are treacherous - people should not be forced to come in. BUT, they should have to take leave. It is only common sense. If people live outside of the beltway, that is your CHOICE, and the consequence should be deducted leave when you can't get your sorry butt to work. Sorry, but the rest of Americans are paying taxes for you to serve THEM, not to sit around drinking hot chocolate.

Posted by: TubbyTy | February 8, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Why is Secretary Clinton's choice of DRESS for her daughter's wedding the only commentary/update from the Secretary of State? Surely there are a few world events happening at the moment which we would actually call news.

Posted by: mle123 | February 8, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Costs should ALWAYS be evaluated as economic costs, not accounting costs, and therefore be viewed from an overall societal perspective.

If that $100 million number were real, it would mean that society would be better off if the Federal government gave $90 million to DC, MD, VA, and Metro to get everything cleared as quickly as possible.

Offsetting the $100 million expense are of course LIVES and INJURIES, the former usually evaluated at $10+ million a piece; employee time (commutes will be at least 0.5-1.0 hour on both ends--try even walking to the Metro); costs for childcare because the kids are out. Moreover, productivity is going to be WAY WAY down on rough weather days, so the government is no way getting its $100 million's worth--people are exhausted, dealing with minor emergencies, a large portion of key staff will be absent anway.

Me I'm unfazed, in total telecommute mode. The government should have thought about not being so behind the times on this.

Posted by: Wallenstein | February 8, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe days like this will shake the fed loose from its fear of teleworking. Trust me, while I don't want to be on the road, there is work I could be doing. But because I'm a contractor my clients don't trust me to work from home. So really, part of that money lost to non-productivity is partially their own fault. I get more done here than I do in the office because of all the ridiculous hydrant-peeing and politics.

Posted by: Clairebell | February 8, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Where will people park, if the dc parking spots are 5' high with snow? Personally, I work for a private firm that goes by the govt schedule, but my road has not been touched by a plow, the above ground metro stations are not running and as most everyone has commented, "What is wrong with people working from the time people get up and being able to work the extra couple hours they would otherwise be clogging roads, polluting our air and getting stressed out. Being able to work from 8-6 (if not more) at home for those with laptops, actually good save our government many millions, in improved productivity and reduced costs. We live in a computer age - not the commuter age!

Posted by: Pete23 | February 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm teleworking tomorrow, open or not. Were I able to vote so, I would suggest handling tomorrow like we did Friday - open, with unscheduled leave and teleworking strongly encouraged. That won't help everybody, but at least those who would have to come in wouldn't have people like me on the roads/train/bus. The roads will NOT be able to handle large amounts of traffic, but the major roads seem to be able to handle a > amount of traffic. The downside of large groups of people teleworking at my agency is that the infrastructure doesn't appear to be in place to support it. I have plenty of work I can do remotely, but I couldn't keep the electronic connection, even today!!

Posted by: JOKR715 | February 8, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

It really doesn't make a difference (from a productivity perspective) if the Federal Govt is open or closed tomorrow. Why? Because from my observations as a Fed Contractor, Fed Employees fall into one of two buckets - Dedicated public servants (10%) and Worthless, lazy, wastes of space (90%). Most Federal employees (especially those in Unions) stay under the radar by simply following the rules. It doesn't matter if they get any work done! This observation is from years of contracting to our friends in the Federal Govt. Without us contractors, the Govt. wouldn't produce anything! And that is the truth.

Posted by: fedconsultant | February 8, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Well said:

"It really doesn't make a difference (from a productivity perspective) if the Federal Govt is open or closed tomorrow. Why? Because from my observations as a Fed Contractor, Fed Employees fall into one of two buckets - Dedicated public servants (10%) and Worthless, lazy, wastes of space (90%). Most Federal employees (especially those in Unions) stay under the radar by simply following the rules. It doesn't matter if they get any work done! This observation is from years of contracting to our friends in the Federal Govt. Without us contractors, the Govt. wouldn't produce anything! "

I am a contractor and emailed a high-ranking woman for her concurrence to drive an issue forward. I emailed her four times and called her twice. she did nothing. I called again and she said her assistant was looking into it. She then sent the concurrence to her assistant who sent it to me.

The same thing happened two weeks later. I finally walked to her office, two Metro stops away, and asked for it in person. She said that she would get back to me within an hour and "don't leave the paper on my desk, I have enough paper work." and "don't leave your number, I have it". She did not call.

I emailed her two more times and called her again and finally her assistant fowarded her scanned signature.

This is not unusual. I say we trim the fat by 90&, as you said above. Then we can talk about giving them a free day off.

Posted by: jackson641 | February 8, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I live inside the Beltway and use Metro to commute to work. As for you that are saying we should be force to take annual leave, I take serious issue with this. It is not my choice that my above ground Metro station is close and I'll be extremely angry if I have to use my personal vacation days when I am physically not able to get to my office. People saying this are clearly not living in the DC metro area and have no idea what the conditions are like here. Cars parked outdoors are buried in three feet of snow. Unless you have an SUV, most people aren't even able to get out of their own neighborhood. Not to mention this new storm is heading in around noon tomorrow, so we'd all be leaving around lunch again anyway...Its gonna be more of a waste of taxpayer money to light and heat federal buildings for the 20 people that will actually be able to make it in tomorrow than it would be to just keep the offices closed...

Posted by: mmmcheesy | February 8, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

May I remind all you people who think "us government workers" lounge around all day long, that you fail to understand that not only are we working in a very extreme and stressful environment but add to that the additional stress of driving on dangerous roads while we are trying to save your butts from invasions from terrorists, that we work harder than you do complaining about a once-in-a-lifetime day off! Oh, yeah, by the way, we are taxpayers too. How about that? While you all were playing with your video games or watching TV while the snow was coming down, I was continuing to work via computer, on my workload for my program. So before you want to say something inane as productivity losses, costing 'your tax- payer dollars' or 'if I have to work you have to work,' you better get your facts straight before you try to get your 15 minutes of shame in this blog! Oh yes - one more thought - where were you when I tried to get a pizza delivered but no one answered the phone? OH? You too were snowed in? Geez...

Posted by: smartinbaker | February 8, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Two comments:
1) 100M is largely a static computation not worthy of serious reporting - real cost is the marginal cost which when all is said and done, likely is quite small. Most of us will do extra time someother days to make up the work, many contractors can't work when we off - so net cost reduction, etc. Many of us will also telework. So hit to taxpayer - largely nothing.
2) Most other workers (private businesses,etc) could not get to work Monday if roads clogged with feds going to work. As biggest employer in region, Fed gov has to take into account its impact on everyone else. Also it could set telework example, except all the private consulting firms with similiar skilled workforce already set that example.

Posted by: saildocva1 | February 8, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh and by the way: OPM needs to get a serious upgrade to website capacity. Can't log on to it due to capacity constraints. Not much good posting things there if its unable to handle traffic.

Posted by: saildocva1 | February 8, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of what you think about federal government workers. The fact is that major transportation has been crippled by the snow storm making it impossible to get downtown. Keep the government closed until all major transportation is operating 100%.

Posted by: johnson9822 | February 8, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The smart plan is to close the government. Opening would be a waste of time. First, folks will arrive late due to crappy roads (nothing melting tonight). By the time folks arrive and waste time talking about spills and accidents witnessed and snow crap it would be time for early dismissal due to the snow shower called for tomorrow evening. Nothing would be accomplished for all the safety risks folks will face. We could face huge lost time (costs) due to folks being out on sick leave. Essential employees only.

Posted by: bcs2k | February 8, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I am a dedicated Federal employee. While the Fed has plenty of cushy rules I bend them all the time to cut through BS and deliver the quality of service taxpayers expect.

Posted by: bcs2k | February 8, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

BTW, the reason many of us have NOT gotten a job with the Federal Govt is because of the extreme inefficiencies around the hiring process - it takes months and months! Who has that amount of time to wait for a job. Also, I am convinced that the Federal Govt is a social service for folks that cannot cut it in the private sector. For example, why does every single Federal Agency need its own HR system? I mean, why can't OPM operate an HR system for all Federal employees? Why? Because it would mean a significant number of existing Federal employees would be out of work. Therefore, the Federal Govt contiues to operate a social service by providing jobs to all the folks it takes to administer the HR systems in each individual agency. I am certain there are other examples of this too (Finance systems, help desks, laptop images, etc. etc.).

Posted by: fedconsultant | February 8, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

They're closed...

Posted by: ghokee | February 8, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Closed!! Just announced.

BTW, John Berry is working on revising the federal hiring process. Fingers crossed that it is more streamlined and will take less time to fill positions.

Posted by: sophiamaria | February 8, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear the OPM Director is working revamping the hiring process...I'm not optimistic it will make much of an impact though. I sincerely hope I am proven wrong.

Posted by: fedconsultant | February 8, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

The government should close and stay closed and give us our money back, what little is left after the politicians robbed us to bail out their banker friends.

Posted by: brewstercounty | February 8, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

OPM says closed on Tuesday.

Posted by: RickyBobby | February 8, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, another day off with pay? Some say why, I say why not?

Posted by: millerroberta | February 8, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

wow...based on these comments looks like there are alot of bitter people in the private sector. The 90% number is laughable, though the amount of lazy employees in the Fed. Govt. is probably higher than the private sector. BTW I have come accross just as many lazy contractors as Fed. employees (sad I know).

Posted by: trriver2 | February 8, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I am thankful that I am not a teleworker, they actually have to report for duty. Of course, they are reporting in their pajamas.

As for me, I will be monitoring my blackberry and making sure that I don't miss any important announcements from my agency.

I like to think of it as personal COOP time. I am cooping, but I hope not to be cooped up in my home.

Posted by: millerroberta | February 8, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I think it is a bad sign that the OPM website was brought down by a snowstorm. What if there really was a national security emergency that required federal workers to swing into action?

OPM is an embarrassment to hard working federal employees. John Berry ought to offer his resignation.

Posted by: millerroberta | February 8, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

commenter millerroberta rejoices about another free day off, like a 7 year old. obviously dedicated federal civil servant, confident in the contribution of her work to the national well being. no one is saying federal employees are lazy. but they are caught in a well compensated web of incredible job security, poor management and no accountability. the wonderful ones are associated with and pulled down by those who are anything but. that's all. and millerroberta wants to fire John Berry cause the OPM site crashed. He is the very best OPM director in decades.

Posted by: axolotl | February 8, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I am not too lazy to go to work. I would go to work if John Berry said the government was open for business. Unfortunately, Berry can't get his website up to even let me know one way or the other. Thank you Washington Post for letting me know two days running where I stand. If it wasn't for the Washington Post I might have to get up early tomorrow to get local news reports.

OPM is no better under Berry than it has been under any other political appointee. Like Obama Berry has promised change and produced nothing. The federal personnel system has been a mess ever since Jimmy Carter pushed through the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which like Obama's health care actually reformed nothing.

Posted by: millerroberta | February 8, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

commenter millerroberta rejoices about another free day off, like a 7 year old. obviously dedicated federal civil servant, confident in the contribution of her work to the national well being. no one is saying federal employees are lazy. but they are caught in a well compensated web of incredible job security, poor management and no accountability. the wonderful ones are associated with and pulled down by those who are anything but. that's all. and millerroberta wants to fire John Berry cause the OPM site crashed. He is the very best OPM director in decades.

Posted by: axolotl | February 8, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

millerroberta - perhaps a certain Project Analyst at EPA should offer their resignation as well...

Posted by: fedconsultant | February 8, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I thank they should have to use liberal. I am a government contractor and I am force to take a vacation day when the government is closed for a snow day. The thing that bothers me the most is the government entities do not want to pay the contract companies when it snows, but yet when I look at my pay stub and see fica, it means to me the government is holding payment of something that I pay for in taxes. In other words how come my tax dollars can go to pay for their time off and loss of productivity, but the same tax money I pay for them to pay contractors is not given to me when I take a day off.

Posted by: scrubmaster | February 8, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

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