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Federal Government Closed on Monday

By Ed O'Keefe


The federal government will be closed on Monday in the Washington area, according to the Office of Personnel Management, as the region continues to plow out of an historic snowstorm.

OPM Director John Berry decides when to close federal offices in the Washington area. He convened a conference call with local and state government and transportation officials Sunday afternoon during which they determined a Monday morning commute would be too unsafe, officials said.

Despite Monday's operating status, emergency personnel must still report as necessary.

The decision also means a day off for most of the region's private sector, which uses the federal government's operating status as a guide. Virtually all academic institutions in the region will also shutter on Monday.

Closing the federal government for one day costs taxpayers roughly $100 million in lost productivity, a price tag Berry said weighs heavily on his final decisions.

Berry mandated unscheduled leave last Wednesday and Friday due to the snow. Monday's closure is the first closure of the calendar year and the second of the Obama administration.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 7, 2010; 4:56 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Next: Eye Opener: Should the government close Tuesday?

Comments

First!

Posted by: kalorama2 | February 7, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

now that im first . . . this is great! enjoy the superbowl.

i feel like i did in the winter of 96, when high school exams got cancelled!

Posted by: kalorama2 | February 7, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

What else is new: they haven't did anything but spend tax payers money for the last 9 years.

Posted by: OldCoot1 | February 7, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

It was OBVIOUS that the federal government had to be closed. Can you just imagine the havoc on the roads if even half of federal workers tried to get to work? The only mystery was how long it was going to take Berry to reach the same conclusion that the rest of the DC area had reached two days ago.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 7, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

This is the right decision. It's still rough out there and getting all the cars etc. on the small amount that is plowed would be too much.

Posted by: rhinsker | February 7, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Yippeee!!
Even God thinks this Fed should be redressed.

Posted by: dottydo | February 7, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

DC Schools are opening 2 hours late. That should be safe.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | February 7, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

This was a smart move. Let's see what the District Govt. does now.

Posted by: winston61 | February 7, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I will enjoy the day off but it is a punk decision. We have 10 - 17% percent of people out of work and now, with the storm behind us, people are punking out.

These same people whining about how treacherous the commute is are the same ones whom make the line 35 deep at Blockbuster and the grocery. I saw hordes Friday afternoon at both places hours after my coworkers were crying about how dangerous travel was.

Leave slow, and leave early. You got homeless people begging for cash at Rosslyn and on the streets in Bethesda. I have friends out of work for 13 months in West VA and they, despite 20 years of work experience, are desperate to get a $12 an hour job. Friends of mine are going to their local church to pick up food and we cancel an opportunity to earn our keep.

We suck and this is a good example of why America is going downhill.

Posted by: jackson641 | February 7, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I just wrote Mayor Fenty to urge him to reconsider the 2 hour delayed opening, and encourage you to do the same. In my neighborhood (SE), Alabama Avenue is clear, but we're walking in the road as the snow is piled up between the road and the sidewalk. Side streets are still blocked and impassable. I don't know what other parts of the city look like, but I don't think it's safe for the children to try to walk to school in this mess, with more traffic, tomorrow.

Posted by: dclioness1 | February 7, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

As a Baltimore-area fed we do not follow the DC decision to close, but I don't see how they could possibly NOT follow suit now that OPM has declared it UNSAFE. The roads are just as bad if not worse in this area.

jackson, I hear you, but I still haven't been plowed. My entire court couldn't go anywhere tomorrow morning right now even if everyone wanted to.

This is the right decision and I hope my agency isn't too stupid to not follow suit.

Posted by: RickyBobby | February 7, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness! I really didn't feel like dying on my way to work tomorrow, especially since the VRE isn't running and the above ground metro stations are closed.

Posted by: eet7e | February 7, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama is right. We need some "flinty toughness". Other parts of the country and the world are shaking their heads in disgust.

Walk your kids to school, take a cab, take a bus, whatever, but, the fact is, there are countless other cities that face this "crisis" 10 times a year and don't break down, whining about the "dangerous conditions".

Yes, winter walks can be treacherous. And yes, Al Qaeda may be plotting against us. But we don't need to use that as excuses to stay at home, scared, whining and weak.

Seriously, D.C. is full of punks. My whole Rosslyn office was terrified hours before a flake fell!.

And yes, the same people terrified somehow managed to walk their dogs and make their way to Starbucks to get their $5 an hour coffee that they "earned" milking the taxpayer.

This never would have happened 20 years ago. We are weak and we don't deserve the riches our forefathers earned for us.

Posted by: jackson641 | February 7, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Federal Government closed???

Will anyone notice a difference?

Posted by: wesatch | February 7, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Jackson...looks like your friends aren't really trying or aren't even qualified to work at blockbuster. You should have asked some of your employees to pick up applications for your other friends!

Posted by: astro1227 | February 7, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Parents in DC should keep their kids home tomorrow; it's just too dangerous out there, especially given the crappy condition of DC streets and sidewalks.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 7, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Why is opm.gov/status down?

Posted by: blueeyedrose | February 7, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

jackson641, that was just ugly and uncalled for. This is an historic storm, and I can't get out even if I wanted to. And I say that having spent nearly all my life in Michigan, and will go mano a mano with anyone in terms of winter toughness. Look at the bright side: You can worship Limbaugh as a dittohead all day Monday. Enjoy.

Posted by: faygokid | February 7, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Moving children and teachers around the district tomorrow will be dangerous. I know the streets around my house are nowhere near passable. I hope the mayor will reconsider the 2 hour delay.

Posted by: NewDCteacher | February 7, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

DC Gov. offices will almost certainly be open tomorrow... whether anyone can actually get in or not.

Posted by: esmith22015 | February 7, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

OPM really has to stop that "inside the Beltway" stuff. Baltimore is considered part of the Washington-Baltimore consolidated metro area by the government, yet we are excluded from this OPM order. I work in Bowie. Did you know it was sunny and warm yesterday in Bowie? Oh, wait, they probably have more snow than D.C., yet they aren't 'inside the beltway'. Too much.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@jackson641

Seriously... why so dramatic? Even here in Arlington (where the snow fall is almost 10" less than in some DC and MD areas), none of the roads are cleared.

Lost productivity should count for something, but people's safety and the cost in emergency service response also needs to be considered.

The snowpocalypse didn't cause the high unemployment rate.

Posted by: saiti34 | February 7, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

jackson, two points:

1) I would guess that the federal government needed to shut down because unscheduled leave would not thin the commuting population enough for the current road availability to handle. The fact is that many roads are closed and many that are open do not have all lanes available, which would serve as a massive bottleneck.

2) You are right that other (more northern) places could probably deal with this storm faster. However, the DC area is not going to invest in the expanded infrastructure necessary to deal with a once-in-a-century winter, when 99% of the time it would not be necessary. The lost productivity is cheaper than maintaining a much larger fleet of snow removal resources.

Posted by: agaro43 | February 7, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

In '96 the government was closed for 3 days. When they did open (thursday) the commute was total hell. One might have waited an hour in order to shove their sardine selves onto a train. The train platforms were unsafe as were the streets. They closed the next day when a clipper was forecast to drop 3-4 more inches (which it did). With this much snow you have to either truck it out of the city or it will end up blocking some travel lands and effect pedestrians. We need melting which isnt going to happen this week. It looks like 1996 redux.

Losing a $100 million in productivity seems like a false metric. When folks do get back to the office their work hasn't gone away.

Posted by: carajillo | February 7, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Closing was necessary. The roads are far from clear and safe, METRO is unlikely to be fully opereational and power outages, while decreasing in extent, still effect a significant number. Those excused from work tomorrow should dig out and help neighbors in need, and stay off the roads except for emergencies.

Looking to the future: Assess every Federal employee to determine those who could telework, then require teleworking of these employees when there is a closing or partial day dismissal. Those who can work should.

Teleworking, if pursued to the max generally, could enable meaningful reductions in work/office space, and thus in the cost of space (sq. feet plus utilities (on the other hand, there would be costs for computers and IT capability for teleworking, but this seems unlikely to rival the potential savings in the cost of space).

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

This was the correct decision, no matter what the naysayers and teabaggers on here write. Yes, there are unemployed people out there, but what the hell does that have to do with the safety of those who have to drive to work or to a bus stop or Metro station to get to the office? I'll tell you - absolutely nothing. If you want to blow off steam, start your own blog. As tomorrow was a scheduled telework day for me, I will be working from home, carrying out my agency's business. And I live in Delaware (with a duty station in DC) and we haven't seen a plow since Friday night.

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

I've got to rail again. Just because I work in Bowie I may have to use personal leave to take off tommorrow, yet someone who works maybe five miles south gets the day off because "inside the beltway" is closed. OPM needs to get with reality on how weather affects an entire region.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

As for the DC schools, I thought I heard somewhere that many of the kids in the system depend on schools for meals every day.

Posted by: annieadamsmorgan | February 7, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Agaro - You make too much sense. I like the "federal government is full of socialist, medicare stealing, terrorist loving, snow fearing, tofu eating weenie people" theory instead.

Posted by: MikeJC | February 7, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

jackson, there seems to be a contradiction here. You apparently are a fed yourself. You know feds tend to get snow days in DC but it appears to make you feel more tough and manly to resent that and heap abuse on your fellow feds for not "earning their keep". There are plenty of other lines of work out there, perhaps you should find one if you don't like all the snow days. Alternatively, you can earn your federal salary by heading down to your office tomorrow with your snow shovel. Start at the front door and clear a path towards your home. Now that's some he-man volunteerism for you, tough guy!

Posted by: onward1 | February 7, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

hey faygokid -

Fine - you can't get out, but the majority can. Don't tell me that is not the case. The majority of people can walk to a bus stop or shovel and drive in very early or very late to avoid any bad traffic. How come my neighborhood is full of brats and their parents "braving the elements" with smiles on their faces on the way to get some fast food?

We don't need to throw >50% of $100M in the trash paying for obese government workers to make excuses.

We closed the government Friday BEFORE A FLAKE FELL!!!

So - fine - you have a legitimate excuse, stay home and use your leave, that is what it is there for, but let's not pretend that most of our work force is not going to somehow find their way to their local bar to watch some ball and drive home fat and happy.

The truth hurts. America is complacent. And that has nothing to do with Obama, Rush, Palin, Hannity or Colmes.

$100M!!! Heck of a job, Berry.

Posted by: jackson641 | February 7, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Nothing baffles me more than an anti-government federal employee. Public service used to mean something and if it didn't, you didn't work for Uncle Sam.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

How ridiculous is it that Fenty and Rhee would endanger the children of DC by opening the schools on a 2 hour delay?!! The streets may be partially plowed, but you are still driving on 5 inches of snow/ice. Every school in the region is closed other than DC...even the Feds are closed!!

Posted by: dcresident12 | February 7, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Why not unscheduled leave? Many fed workers live near working public transportation, and can safely report to work. Many federal workers were born in states like minnesota or NY were it is normal reporting to work under these conditions.

Posted by: ErCocco | February 7, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The deal always was if you worked for Uncle Sam you didn't make as much money than the private sector but you could count on steady employment and relatively good benefits. Now the GOPers want to change even that. They want all of us working for minimum wage (until they can get rid of the minimum wage laws).

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Jackson- would you feel differently if the storm had started on a Tuesday vice a Friday? Because if that were the case, I'm certain there would be more than one day of government shutdown.

Your attitude makes me frustrated to know there are people like my husband over in Afghanistan keeping negative individuals like yourself safe. I can assure you that he never gets a day off (even Sundays) if it makes you feel better. So your tax dollars are getting a huge bargain off of him and his fellow Marines. Not to mention he's cheap labor, with a top ten law school degree that he paid for without the help of the military (he joined after law school on his own volition).

Posted by: nicegirlindc | February 7, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

John Berry is the most sensible OPM Director in my 25 year federal career. He makes the call early enough for people to plan accordingly, rather than at 5:30 a.m. when it's too late for many to make plans. For tomorrow, there is no other safe decision. Downtown streets are barely passable (DC is doing a terrific job, there just is too much snow!) and any volume of traffic will turn downtown into a parking lot. The streets aren't safe, sidewalks aren't safe, much public transport is not running. I suspect the federal government will have to close again Tuesday. Get real, people...there isn't a safe way to get to work.

Posted by: eilieh | February 7, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

This is definitely the correct decision. Metro bus and above-ground rail are still not running, and power is still out to much of the area. Even with the govt closed tomorrow, I'll be working from home. I'm sure many of my fellow Federal colleagues will be doing the same.

Posted by: lasp1 | February 7, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

These are good points.

2) You are right that other (more northern) places could probably deal with this storm faster. However, the DC area is not going to invest in the expanded infrastructure necessary to deal with a once-in-a-century winter, when 99% of the time it would not be necessary. The lost productivity is cheaper than maintaining a much larger fleet of snow removal resources.

And since NO one agrees with me, I will reluctantly concede I am overreacting. :)

BUT I am sick of the constant handouts and everyone getting over while I see a homeless person sleeping on the bench in Rosslyn. That is where I am coming from.


Posted by: jackson641 | February 7, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know when this "inside the Beltway" closing started? I always remember it saying the "Washington region" or something. Again, I work in Bowie and I'll be they have more snow than D.C.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Jackson, It doesn't matter if people can walk to a bus stop. The busses aren't running.

Posted by: kolangland | February 7, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Jackson,

Why don't you offer the homeless person employment next time you see them?

Posted by: nicegirlindc | February 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Jackson, I can walk to the bus stop, but the bus isn't running tomorrow. I can also walk to a metro station, but the metro isn't running above ground to DC. What say you? Oh, and I've lived in the mountains and Midwest, and this amount of snow resulted in several days off school or work.

Posted by: pentagoncity1 | February 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

It isn't just "inside the beltway". It's the "Washington, DC, area". My agency is in Rockville. Baltimore, MD, has its own operating status info.

Posted by: lasp1 | February 7, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sorry I don't have money," said Stroman, 58, a former automotive technician consigned to the wheelchair by six strokes. His face was hidden behind sunglasses, a prickly black-and-white beard and a camouflage hoodie.

Your reporter is insensitive. He USES a wheelchair, he is not confined or consigned.

Posted by: dc925dc | February 7, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"It isn't just "inside the beltway". It's the "Washington, DC, area". My agency is in Rockville. Baltimore, MD, has its own operating status info.

Posted by: lasp1"

If your agency is in D.C., but your office is in Bowie (or Baltimore), I don't see how that changes the amount of problems the snow has caused in the D.C.-Baltimore area. That's my point. My agency is in D.C., but I work in Bowie. If the closing states "inside the Beltway," which I think it might, than what?

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

@nicegirlindc

You are right on sister!!
The feds certainly get their money's worth out of our Marines.

Semper Fi

Posted by: jawz33 | February 7, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

OPM operating status is still down. Hopefully it does say "Wasington region". I don't think anyone could argue Bowie isn't part of Washington region.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fed, however, I have a 35 mile commute (and no, I did not pick the location, it's where i was assigned). Buses don't run to where I work (Ft. Belvoir)

I was out today and even on the major roads (FFX county parkway, etc.) it is treacherous and you can't go more than about 30 mph. I have a one hour commute on good days when the roads are good; at 30 mph it would take me 2 hours one way.

I was wondering how early I'd have to try to leave to get there in a semblance of time.

Posted by: seriouslywondering | February 7, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The email I got from OPM said "Washington, DC, Area". Your agency should provide inclement weather guidance so you know how to access the information relevant to your agency/location.

Posted by: lasp1 | February 7, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes Jackson is right. I'm with Jackson! I'm going to take it one step further - there should be a ban on all vacation days, all personal days, and we should no longer be allowed to take off when we're sick.

In fact, who needs weekends? I think we should expand the workweek to 7 days a week; after all, it's not fair to those without employment that we should rest. In fact, 8 hours a day is too short of a workday as well. 12 hours should be the minimum. Then and only then can we scratch the surface of trying to make up for our guilt of having employment while others go without....

Jackson - you want to help? Then continue to help your neighbor, and friends psychologically and financially. But you're logic for not shutting down when the infrastructure are faulty in my opinion. Here IS something to complain about - why is there no infrastructure to work at home in situations like this? My company follows OPM closures, but if OPM closes, we're expected to work from home, simple as that. That way we can be safe AND productive. It can be done!

Posted by: Rizay | February 7, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

A no-brainer. Good call Mr. Berry.

Career SESer

Posted by: plupper | February 7, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Is it any surprise that after Scott Brown gets sworn into congress God reacts by closing down DC?

Posted by: ckaspereli | February 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

@jawz33 Thank you for your service!

Posted by: nicegirlindc | February 7, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Lost productivity? If the bureaucrats aren't able to oppress the rest of America the country's productivity will go up.

Keep it closed all week.

Posted by: member8 | February 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

@jptjptjpt - if you indeed are a Fed, then you know that the various metro areas are divided into different Federal Executive Boards. Baltimore & Bowie are not in the DC FEB; they have their own. The regional directors of agencies in those areas make the call on whether to close agencies. Using your logic, Director Berry should be closing government offices in Philadelphia, NYC, Atlanta, and anywhere else that was affected by this snowgasm. Get real and get a life.

Posted by: MPersow | February 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

@jackson641, you said: This [gov't closing] never would have happened 20 years ago. We are weak and we don't deserve the riches our forefathers earned for us.

Not true. The gov't shut down in 1987 for the two back to back snowstorms. See the NY Times article. This is worse.

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/27/us/once-again-snowstorm-halts-us-government.html?scp=19&sq=snowstorm%20Washington%20government%20shutdown&st=cse

Sorry, we do are not weak because of this.

(But I'm with you on the whole foods stampedes.)

Posted by: kperl | February 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

IF any students in DC can even make it in to school, there will be hardly any teachers to instruct them. It will be a non-learning day. Please call the 311 number for Fenty and tell him to reconsider his decision for DCPS. It needs to be closed for the safety of students and teachers. Metro isn't even open yet!

Posted by: JG55 | February 7, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all who have posted replies to "Jackson." Is "Jackson" just a smug, self righteous, inexperienced Federal employee? Someone with unresolved
"issues"? Someone attempting to earn "Brownie" points via some convoluted logic? Just an anti-Fed poster? Or a person (Federal employee or not) who is judgmental, imprudent, and evidencing flawed reasoning? Thanks to all who have addressed issues of safety and the practicalities of dealing with transportation when Metro is neither fully nor reliably, operational. And please do not assume that all Federal employees are
able to be ambulatory in snow and ice and get to work...or that taxis are an available option...or that the Federal workforce is comprised of employees who are able to get from their homes to their offices without risk...or that there are not Federal employees with disabilities, etc. OPM made the correct call. D.C.'s decision is borne of the audacity of politicized hope; D.C.'s decision does not reflect prudent concerns relating to safety, the realities of the snow/ice, and transportation issues.

Posted by: Truth27 | February 7, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, teabaggers and libertarians, $100 million in lost productivity has to be balanced against the fatalies among federal commuters who skid off the roads on their way to work. When I worked for IBM, an IBM married couple on their way to work in Westchester died in a fiery car crash, after IBM showed it's 'toughness' by not shutting down after a big snowfall. I don't think IBM ever made that mistake again. But, hey, why not give it another try here in Washington?

Posted by: lafayette89 | February 7, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

nicegirlindc: God bless you and your husband. May he return home to you soon and safe.

SEMPER FI!

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | February 7, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

@nicegirlindc:

Husband is the Marine...I am just a fan:)
Hope yours returns safe and soon.
Keep the Faith!!

Posted by: jawz33 | February 7, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

jptjptjpt: I live in Germantown and my agency is outside the beltway. We go with the OPM decrees. We are CLOSED tomorrow.

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | February 7, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jackson640 I have traced your IP address and will try and trace you to your Fed agency (if you even have a job). Hopefully your manager sees your post and gets rid of traitors like you.

Posted by: sbhaskar002 | February 7, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

God bless all the Federal employees...I've worked in private and public sector and have seen just as much incompetence, nepotism and waste in large companies if not more than the Federal Agencies.

Stay warm, stay safe and thanks for serving our country.

Posted by: sbhaskar002 | February 7, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Good idea to have everyone stay home on Monday! What a mess out there - good luck all! PS - we are only getting a foot on Monday night into Tuesday. Sigh. No, I don't want more, I don't want any!

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

sbhaskar002: Thank you. I have served my country in Vietnam and Korea, worked as a civilian got DOD and Dept of Army and I can tell you when there is a job to be done and a deadline to meet the people of my agencies step up and do whatever it take to get the job done. And again, as a 28 year employee of Uncle Sam, I thank you!

Posted by: NickfromGermantown | February 7, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Federal government closed? I *knew* strange things would start happening when they fired up that Large Hadron Collider.

Watch for Peyton Manning to be swallowed by a black hole while gesticulating wildly between finger licks in the 2'nd half of the Super Bowl.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 7, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I am a Federal employee (who has spent more time working in the private sector) and could see in advance that the gov't would likely shut down on Monday, so made plans to take work home. Many of my coworkers did the same. You can deduct our percentage of salaries from the $100 million figure, Mr. Berry! I have a neighbor who is going into DC into her federal job tomorrow anyway. And I agree with the person who posted that there is incompetence and abuse in both private and public sector - neither side is perfect.

Posted by: jilld1 | February 7, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

jackson641, oh shut up already

Posted by: bendan2000 | February 7, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm a federal employee, and I'm glad for this announcement. But I know that I'll be doing some work at home tomorrow. And I know that several of my co-workers will be doing so as well--and that at least one of them was also doing a lot of work this weekend.

Stereotypes aside, many of the feds I've met in my office are extemely hardworking. And while, as a Midwesterner, I too marvel at this area's ability to be crippled by snow, I believe that my colleagues and I, like all workers, deserve not to be put in danger coming into work when the roads are icy and the public transit system is barely functioning.

Posted by: matt731 | February 7, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Safe at last! Safe at last!

Now all we have to do is keep telling the Republicans is will be closed for the rest of the year.

Posted by: mehrenst1 | February 7, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Fenty should be ashamed of himself sending children to school in this weather.If the Federal goverment is smart enough to close tomorrow then why shouldn't the District? One day hopefully D.C. will get a Mayor who has some sense, we need another Mayor Marion Barry in office!!!

Posted by: six4hoopdreams | February 7, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

nicegirlindc: All the best. You are the best.

jackson641: You're a dittohead. Pure and simple. Seen the type over and over again. Nasty and embittered, too. How very sad.

Posted by: faygokid | February 7, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

As usual the DC government has droped the ball. They have had a whole day (and two nights)of clear skies and still can't plow the streets. This isn't about the federal government. The DC mayor promised the streets would be cleared by Monday morning, unfortunately even though everyone stayed off the streets so they could do it, they gave up on most streets. I understand that some of the major streets are cleared, but many of the sidestreets haven't been touched.

Posted by: willypicket | February 7, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

As a federal employee, I planned ahead and took work home. I have arranged for all of my meetings to be over the phone. Every one in my division took the same initiative, and we are all signed up for telework.

The entrance to my parking lot is downhill. After the last storm, there were multiple accidents at that entrance, because people were driving too fast. Though you may be used to the weather, some people are still ignorant to the dangers of icy roads.

Thank you John Berry for making the right decision. I just wish the author of this blog spoke about teleworkers.

Posted by: beachin6 | February 7, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that DC public school teachers will be put in danger as they make their way to work tomorrow. Many teachers will not make it to work and the few that do will be glorified babysitters tomorrow. Leaving DC public schools open is an irresponsible decision and I hope it does not lead to injuries.

Posted by: NewDCteacher | February 7, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see how they determined the value of lost productivity - shouldn't we expect the federal government to overestimate its own value to the taxpayer? 100 million a day seems a little grandiose when you consider what goes on in the average government office.

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

Hey. Whatsa matter with you guys. In Maine, we dig it out and go to work.

Posted by: dudh | February 7, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse


six4hoopdreams Wrote:


Mayor Fenty should be ashamed of himself sending children to school in this weather.

My Comment:

Do you have any kids in a major city school system? For lots of kids the "in-school meals" represent their major source of nutrition for the day. It also is a safe place with heat and the potential for safe activities. Lots of major systems (such as Chicago) leave the schools "open" under the most extreme conditions in order to provide a safe warm place for the kids to go during the day. No one expects real learning to go on during this kind of disaster. This is not a "learning" issue, this is a Child Safey and Welfare issue.

But lots of people without kids are blowing this out of proportion because they do not understand the secondary issue of the school in a large urban area. (In contrast, for example, to the "bus schools" in Montgomery County where the false cognate is that the kids are safe and warm at their homes and don't need the open school....)

Posted by: dcraven925 | February 7, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Newdcteacher wrote:

It's a shame that DC public school teachers will be put in danger as they make their way to work tomorrow. Many teachers will not make it to work and the few that do will be glorified babysitters tomorrow. Leaving DC public schools open is an irresponsible decision and I hope it does not lead to injuries.

My comment:

I don't believe that you are a teacher. Teachers are highly dedicated and they understand the secondary purpose of schools in large urban areas. Perhaps DC should add the "Chicago Bad Weather" option. The step before closing down Chicago Public Schools is called the "local" option. All teachers and students are told that they should not go to THEIR school, but to the nearest local school. In these cases the teachers are not teaching in a normal fashion, but the students that need a warm safe place with food will still receive it and the dedicated, highly underpaid people that make up urban area teachers are proud to do this.

Posted by: dcraven925 | February 7, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I posted this in another CWG forum, but I think it needs to be said again in response to dcraven:

I agree that DCPS does a wonderful thing by providing meals to many students who may not otherwise get one. But this should not be the only factor when considering if schools should open: the safety of students and teachers is being compromised tomorrow. Teachers are not babysitters. Schools are not soup kitchens. There should be a way to open the schools for meals only and any students that need one can make their way in to eat.

Posted by: JG55 | February 7, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

One important thing to note: there is NO Metro bus service tomorrow, and NO above-ground Metro service. That leaves commuting by car--and assuming people could get out in the first place (many side streets both in the city and in the suburbs have not yet been plowed) having all those cars on the road would make a big mess even bigger. These are things the federal government has no control over, but they make it virtually impossible for most federal employees to get to work.

Posted by: MrDarwin | February 7, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

" The majority of people can walk to a bus stop"

And which bus would they get on? You obviously have very little grasp of the capacity of our public transit system vis a vis the number of workers. As an earlier worker pointed out, it would be silly and irresponsible to maintain the infrastructure necessary to deal with this situation, in this case sufficient surge capacity in the public transit system to accommodate such anomalous events.

Please think just a little before you offer such ridiculous suggestions. Thanks.

Posted by: rgv1129 | February 7, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Using your logic, Director Berry should be closing government offices in Philadelphia, NYC, Atlanta, and anywhere else that was affected by this snowgasm. Get real and get a life.

Posted by: MPersow"

I did say Baltimore, but I am really concerned with Bowie. I understand Baltimore makes its own calls. But Bowie? Give me a break.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

From OPM: Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED.


Well, that settles that. Bowie is in the D.C. metro area.

Posted by: jptjptjpt | February 7, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Honest question - do the midwest and New England regularly get 30+ inch snowstorms? Are these storms just so frequent that the national news does not report them? I know we are wimps about weather here in DC, so please enlighten us.

Posted by: Axel2 | February 7, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

"Nothing baffles me more than an anti-government federal employee."

Haha. I am glad someone else notices this. I hear guys in the office talking about gov't conspiracy theories...and they buy in big time. If the gov't disgusts you so much, quit.

And to the "people up north do just fine" crowd, I grew up in Upstate NY. Upstate NY has plows...lots of them. Northern VA doesn't.

People in Upstate NY also know how to drive for slick, snowy conditions. People down here all think they are more important than you are, so they drive 80 and tailgate when there is ice on the road. It is not a good idea to encourage them to drive.

Taking the federal workforce out of the equation for tomorrow's commute takes a lot of idiots off the road. If you are a commuter, you should be happy.

Of course, on-site contractors are still expected to work somehow. Using my gov't computer helps a bit during the work day.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | February 7, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

To sbhaskar002 -- the person who is retaliating against Jackson -- shame on you, triple triple shame. How could you say you looked up his IP address to then report him to his supervisor at his Federal Agency. While I do not agree with any of Jackson's comments and found them offensive and categorical he did back off and conceded some points as being a rant. This is AMERICA after all we are in a free forum. Your notion that because you don't like what I say requires you to find out who I am and report me to a supervisor is more scary than anything that Jackson said.

I am glad that the FEDs are closing tomorrow for the reasons that are totally apparent. Half of the workforce comes from the suburbs which are not anywhere near being dug out. Even if you dug out your car there is no way to go down the street. My entire street is comprised of federal workers or people who work on contracts with the government. They will all prudently exercise their work at home options to keep their projects in line.
As for the DC decision it is totally insane to expect these children to be safe. but the points being made about the reason being feeding the children who otherwise don't have a meal is really saddening. I hope there is some alternative put in place for the future.

Posted by: celticinca | February 7, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey. Whatsa matter with you guys. In Maine, we dig it out and go to work.

Idiocy. I'm from Michigan and know snow at least as much as you do. This is historic. You got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. Fold 'em this time.

Posted by: faygokid | February 7, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Actually, teleworkers are expected to work tomorrow. Read the OPM website, Ed. It's what a good journalist would do.

Posted by: thebuckguy | February 7, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

who cares I am getting a day off... the hell with tax payer money!

Posted by: joethefarmer | February 7, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

It really burns me when people say shutdown of the federal gov`t costs $100M in lost productivity. Excuse me but the work will get done. There will be no work that ends up not getting done.

Posted by: KarenLS | February 7, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

"Lost 'productivity?'" What "productivity?" Wouldn't we be better off if they were closed more often, causing us less grief and money?

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | February 7, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Mr. O'Keefe

"Productivity" is a ratio. It is the ratio of output in monetary value for the time spent doing the work. When nobody works, it makes no sense to talk about productivity. But, to apply the correct logic, productivity would be uncharacteristically low if the government workers were to go, or attempt to go to work on Monday. If you factor in the congestion, the petroleum wasted, and the misery time trying to get there and back from, you get a very poor ratio of output per hour. That's low "productivity," hence lost productivity relative to a normal day. Get your vocabulary right. You are a reporter for goodness sake...

Posted by: RegisUrgel | February 7, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

who is this jackson guy? I reported him for abuse, as defined by the Post. I think the people on here who name-call and project irrelevant insults on others are a problem and are inflammatory for no useful reason. Btw, this whole "I'm from a state that can handle snow" stuff is self-inflating and for the birds. There are bad drivers and good drivers in every state; people who can skate on ice with their cars (?) and those who can't. There are states with big snow budgets and states with small snow budgets. Next subject, please!

Posted by: wasteoftime2 | February 7, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Lay off "Jackson"! Different points of view are welcome and a lively debate ensued. Then "Jackson" was gracious enough to concede the point! Back off.

Posted by: Seadaisy | February 7, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

To say it costs a $100 million for the government to close for a disaster like this snow is like saying that it costs a $100 million for the government to remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Everything is relative. Compare the cost of trying to get all those people in when it has not even been possible to clean the streets. Would they levitate and magically fly in through the air?

Posted by: observator1000 | February 7, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll admit it, Washingtonians are a bit of a wimpy bunch, but there's merit to the idea that keeping snow plows that get used every 10 years isn't exactly economical. We in colder climates can handle it better because we deal with it every year and have the equipment to do.

But what's with the 2 hour school delay? DC schools are, no offense, pretty much crap. People should endanger their children to get them to such sinkholes? If I were a parent I'd just keep my kid home.

I'm no longer in DC so I don't see what it's like, but I think it's reasonable to say the "teabagger" comments are pretty uncalled for, and jumping on jackson's case is a bit silly, especially as he conceded the point and said he maybe is overreacting.

Posted by: chana_batata | February 7, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

jptjptjpt -- If you're still reading, it's Ed O'Keefe -- e-mail me at the link at the top of the blog and I want to hear more about your concerns. Thanks.

Posted by: Ed O'Keefe | February 7, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

'm no longer in DC so I don't see what it's like, but I think it's reasonable to say the "teabagger" comments are pretty uncalled for, and jumping on jackson's case is a bit silly, especially as he conceded the point and said he maybe is overreacting.

Well if you're no longer in DC, then I don't care what the Fuk you think. Go away.

Posted by: Axel2 | February 7, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Mr. Berry for having the common sense and capacity to make a rational decision. Now Mr. Fenty on the other hand, could not make a good decision if his life, or the many lives of others, depended on it. Does Mr. Fenty realize that DC gov't workers don't necessarily work in the District? Does Mr. Fenty realize that Metro is operating in a limited capacity, thereby making it dangerous for people to commute into the District? As the old saying goes, common sense is not always very common.

Posted by: NewtoDC2 | February 7, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

My apologies, the question should have read, "Does Mr. Fenty realize that not all D.C. gov't workers reside in the District?"

Posted by: NewtoDC2 | February 7, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we all know jackson641. He's the guys that whines all day about lazy this, bum that and has done nothing but warm his seat and surf the web all day. Put the tissues away, get your head out of the soft-focus perfect past that never was and do something useful.

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | February 7, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Ten thousand comments about a stupid snow day for D.C. Aren't there more important subjects about which to complain?

Posted by: larrypoke | February 7, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

> Honest question - do the midwest
> and New England regularly get 30+
> inch snowstorms? Are these storms
> just so frequent that the national
> news does not report them? I know
> we are wimps about weather here in
> DC, so please enlighten us.

I am from Rochester, NY and, yes, large amounts of snow are *very* common. I mean, sure, we didn't get 30" a day, everyday, or anything like that, but we got several inches constantly throughout the winter, and if we did get 20-30" of snow, we still went to work the next day. We had tons of whiteouts and blizzards. I spent over 20 years there, and I remember missing school only a handful of times. The great ice storm of 1991 was one of those times: http://www.wbuf.noaa.gov/rocice.htm. Basically, that's what it comes down to. 30" in Rochester, NY? No, you wouldn't hear about that on the news. Why? Because we'd have it plowed that day. I shoveled my driveway in Rochester every day it snowed for probably 10 years. That's just life. You plow, you shovel, you salt, you GO TO WORK. It's not toxic waste... it's frozen water.

Like I said before, it has to do with state preparedness and not necessarily with individuals' response to weather. The fact remains, there are cities all around the world live in snow like this all winter long, but they are prepared for it. DC just isn't, and I don't understand that. Of course it's big news because it doesn't happen that often, but it happens enough to warrant the investment in a few snowplows. Keep business and government up and running, it's that simple.

Posted by: janeholliday | February 7, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually, teleworkers are expected to work tomorrow. Read the OPM website, Ed. It's what a good journalist would do.

Posted by: thebuckguy | February 7, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

No, YOU read the OPM website. It says: "Telework employees may be expected to work from their telework sites, as specified in their telework agreements." MAY be expected to work, as specified in their telework agreements. The vast majority of Federal workers who telecommute are not required to work when the government is closed, because they're not essential workers.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 7, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I blame Al Gore for this weather!...now read the blather below and be glad the Kennedy dynasty is over:

"Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who flies around on private planes so as to tell larger numbers of people how they must live their lives in order to save the planet, wrote a column last year on the lack of winter weather in Washington, D.C.

'In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today's anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don't own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.'"

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 7, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Every workday in the federal government is a day of lost productivity. What's new?

Posted by: conversefive | February 7, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

LOL -- $100 million in "lost productivity."

Name ONE THING productive that will be lost.

Posted by: FrederickMichael | February 8, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey conversefive...everyday that you are on this planet is a loss in productivity for the human civilization. Go find a rope and the nearest tree and end your pathetic existence.

Posted by: sbhaskar002 | February 8, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Well, CLEARLY this is GORE'S fault!

See? He stopped all those emissions and hell froze over!

hehe...

;)

Debra...
Informing Christians

Posted by: DebraJMSmith | February 8, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

At some point we have to have an ounce of maturity and patience.

Simply put, i was on the roads today. DC is still shut down!!! the mayor and all these DC area transplants that can walk to the Metro or to the Starbucks that is open need to get a plucking grip. it's more to life than your little self indulgent world!!!

Do you fools know Giant supermarkets actually put some employee up i hotels so that they could open? so let's have the government put me up in the JW or the mayflower so i can make it to work Monday!

I shoveled 30-inches of snow. it's many folks that have not and cannot shovel 30-inches of snow!!!! Without a 4X4 our street is not passable. my neighbor works for DCDOT, and he told me around 2PM the city was horrible and DC Government needs to close. i drove on some roads around the area and the roads are not good. major aves, 295 and RT 50 were good, but some major numbered roads right off them were horrible with 4-5 inches of packed ice, slush, or snow.

As for DCPS, the problem with DCPs as a whole is it thinks of itself as a foodservice and welfare agency for kids versus a place for education. I understand the challenge, but too often they make decisions for the wrong reasons. I am a harsh critic of Fenty and Rhee, but part of this perspective on DCPS is systemic. DCPS facilites have meal programs at certain schools over the summer even when school is not open. Be honest about child hunger in DC, and not mask it by sending these kids to school in any type of weather conditions.

Posted by: oknow1 | February 8, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

OPM John Berry probably had little choice in shutting the federal government down. While closing the federal government is rare, it is costly to do so, and it only serves as a reminder that telework is important. Not every fed can work from home, but I'm sure more feds who aren't teleworking should be.

Posted by: tlesa | February 8, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Jackson -

The majority can get around? Your generalizations are ridiculous and you certainly seem to believe those in line are also those good for nothing federal employees. It's hilarious to read your assumptions because it's clear you can't see far beyond your neighborhood and assume every neighborhood or road outside your front door is the same.

The gov't wasn't closed the entire day on Friday. Employees were excused 4 hours early, which provided folks time for a safe commute home. Seriously, it made a difference. ( even my supervisors found it a laugh that snow had only just started falling and but for a few of them who had a two commute home, this lead time made a difference. ( It wasn't a complete ghost town by 12pm - staff was still chugging away.) Plus, working from home via BB is typical - as with my supervisors who typically work during a holiday or a "day off" ( not much of a day off if you're answering email from staff, leadership and participating in conference calls.)

"Obese government workers"? Please don't demonize every Federal employee because you disagree with Berry.

What do you know about working for the Fed government?

______________________________________________________________

hey faygokid -

Fine - you can't get out, but the majority can. Don't tell me that is not the case. The majority of people can walk to a bus stop or shovel and drive in very early or very late to avoid any bad traffic. How come my neighborhood is full of brats and their parents "braving the elements" with smiles on their faces on the way to get some fast food?

We don't need to throw >50% of $100M in the trash paying for obese government workers to make excuses.

We closed the government Friday BEFORE A FLAKE FELL!!!

So - fine - you have a legitimate excuse, stay home and use your leave, that is what it is there for, but let's not pretend that most of our work force is not going to somehow find their way to their local bar to watch some ball and drive home fat and happy.

The truth hurts. America is complacent. And that has nothing to do with Obama, Rush, Palin, Hannity or Colmes.
$100M!!! Heck of a job, Berry.

Posted by: jay72 | February 8, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I've worked in some federal offices that should be disbanded immediately. I've also worked in some federal offices that offer a significant return on the taxpayer's investment. What's my point? It is rare in life that issues boil down to "either/or." Most people are smart enough to realize that by the time that they reach the 6th grade. The others spend their time blogging here about how all feds are a complete waste of their hard earned money.

Posted by: jimestw | February 8, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

To sbhaskar002:

Your response is immature. I don't agree with Jackson640, I did not like what s/he had to say, but threatening a person like that is out of line.

_______________________________________________________

Hey Jackson640 I have traced your IP address and will try and trace you to your Fed agency (if you even have a job). Hopefully your manager sees your post and gets rid of traitors like you.

Posted by: sbhaskar002 | February 7, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jay72 | February 8, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

I have been living in this area for 4 years, and the truth is that the DC area is totally unprepared to deal with snow.
This amount of snow may be out of ordinary, and this winter may not be average, but it seems to me that the efforts to clean the streets and keep public transportation going are totally inadequate to the circumstances.
I don't think the decision of closing down Fed office is wrong, given the situation, and I wonder how Tuesday will be any better.
If really closing down costs to taxpayers 100mln$, then it would make sense to invest a little more than 8mln annually to clean the city.
I guess it is a political decision: either you increase budget items (and generally more costs = more taxes) or you take the risk and pay for the consequences, that may cost even more. Cure is generally more expensive than prevention...

Posted by: sf2126 | February 8, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

No work equals no pay. When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California tries to balance the budget through state employee furloughs of the department of motor vehicles and libraries, among others, these workers are not paid. At first, the workers welcome these days off, then financial hardships make the time off feel more like a punishment.
.

Posted by: pyee | February 8, 2010 1:55 AM | Report abuse

I used to live in Upper Michigan when i was in the AF. These people knwo snow..and lots of it. I had ot go to work in sometimes 3 ft of snow..didnt know where the road started and ended and white knuckled the whole way there. That being said...they have mammoth and i mean MAMMOTH snow removal equip. We just dont have that here. We also have a bazillion roads. This area is old and has far more challenges than in many places I have lived and seen. SHould MD, DC and VA invest in some powerhouse snow removal equip..yep. Will it help get people to work any faster..probably not. This area has a HUGE population...and not everyone has seen snow (which makes it worse).

Now,had we all been mandated to start telecommuting or working from home, then Incle Sme would not have lost much in a days work. I have access to my email at home and I check it often..even though I am not paid to do so or required. These days that we are encountering now would have paid for itself if ALL gov agencies were MANDATED to have a telework policy in place.

Posted by: IGotLotsToSay | February 8, 2010 5:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm seeing folks complain about $100 million in lost labor. Well, since y'all are counting dollars, how much would even one human life cost? Let's look at it this scenario: The woman who's husband the marine is in Afghanistan - is required to report in to her federal agency. And let's say she has a preschool age child. Of course the buses are not running - so she will need to drive to where ever her childcare is located. Now, what happens if the mother and child do not make it? Are those two lives worth $100 million?

Posted by: MDL7 | February 8, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be nice if we could keep at
least a little bit of a sense of humor
especially when we realize things are not
really going too well?
I am over 80, with severe arthritis, am in the penultimate stage of multiple
sclerosis with coronary heart disease and glaucoma, to name a few of a legion of ills.

I am also a 46+ year continuously sober member of AA along with over 40 years in Al-Anon, the family organization. For over
18 years I have been an unpaid volunteer counselor at NIH in the substance abuse
field.

It is these last-mentioned things which have kept me sober and relatively content
despite all the crappy challenges we all
face in our lives.

The secret of a happy life is not to have a "poor me" attitude, to become more "other-oriented" and to overcome being concerned solely with what we might consider our own misfortunes.

Remember that old song "You gotta accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and stay away from Mr. Inbetween !

Posted by: apandersongmailcom | February 8, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

The federal government days off need to be made up. Schools are required to make up lost days. Washington crossed the Deleware in freezing cold weather with the ameneties that these guys have. Did the stables get cleaned out last week and there is no more crap to shovel out to the American people!

Posted by: aaron43 | February 8, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

I am a federal employee and can telework when possible. I would prefer to have unscheduled leave than be closed. However, the real issue is metro bus service. The phone number call in for 'next bus' is a joke - each time I have tried it from my bus stop I am told to go to the website, which I can't do if at the bus stop. In addition, if the federal government dismisses us early, metro never begins running the buses early to Fairfax. The first bus is at 16:26 from Pentagon and stays that way even with early dismissal. Therefore, given the condition of the neighborhood roads, it may be best that the gov't stays closed another day. It would be great if some day we could have REAL public transportation rather than simply commuter transportation.

Posted by: rob_in_fairfax | February 8, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Every day this govt stays home is a day we SAVE 100 million. And heres hoping GOD delivers another batch of snow to keep the seat-warmers and paper -pushers home for another day!!

Posted by: Rick554 | February 8, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Well I am baffled, because DC gov is still open yet the Feds are closed as are most private businesses. Do the DC gov employees use different streets than everyone else? Fenty realizes his time is short and now just makes the most stupid decisions.

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

My Significant other is a Fed, and even though OMB has said the government is closed today she is getting emails implying an expectation for people to come to work because some SES needs a briefing.

Maybe somebody can clarify, if OMB says the Fed is closed, and you work in an undersecretaries office and the Secretary of Treasury, for example, says come to work, whose guidance do you follow? Practically, you obviously follow the guidance of the office organizationally closest to you, because you don't wanna get in trouble for not showing up. But, is the Secretary of Transportation, for example, allowed to issue an order that supercedes that of the Director of OMB? Because if so, why do we care what OMB says anyway, if it is individually the right/responsibility of agency/department heads to dictate whether or not the respective agency/department is open or not?

Posted by: JoeMck | February 8, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I live in a neighborhood full of civilian and military personnel outside Baltimore, near Ft. Meade. We can't get out of our driveways to the roads, there's over 30 inches of compressing snow and ice and no snowplows in sight!

A kind neighbor (my husband) was out until well after 9:30 last night with our little 26" snow-thrower (the kind you do your driveway with, that you walk behind) digging out a small cul-de-sac, with at least a single car width to get in and out.

Three other neighbors did the same to a longer cul-de-sac with a smaller snow-thrower and shovels.

Saturday night, the same group were out trying to get a single track cut in the main access road to our area because a neighbor's father started to have chest pains after shoveling a bit.

We (yes, even the SAHMs were out) were working from when the storm started to finally slack off (around sunset) until about 10pm. The man is fine now, but there was no way an emergency vehicle was going to make it to their house. Not with 39 inches of snow in the road. And yes, it did take that long to dig through.

Many major roads are STILL impassible to anything without 4-wheel drive. This is NOT Buffalo NY, Cleveland OH or Chicago IL, we are on the edge of the usual winter snows. Some years it is only a dusting at best. This is a major event that even Cleveland would have to take an extra day or two to dig through.

These guys are all federal employees, two work up here, one at NSA and my husband is out in Linthicum, the other two are somewhere in D.C. The highways are still dangerous, and the trains are not running.
Today's tasks - clearing off sidewalks and curbs... Maybe, just maybe a county plow will come and widen the "cuts" and that's a BIG maybe.

To those that think the REGION ought to be "normal" work schedule...
Just HOW do you expect the average Gov. employee to get to work??? We aren't Nancy Pelosi or Ben Cardin, we don't get "official vehicles and drivers" complete with "personal snow plow escorts" leading the way.

Posted by: sdent60 | February 8, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the breadth of views stated here. I agree with those stating it was a sensible idea to close the Federal Government today. This is a large geographic area with horrible traffic and gridlock during the best of times. Add public transportation at less than 100% and it is a recipe for true lack of productivity. People would spend 1/2 the day trying to get to the office.

Ed, I also appreciate today's poll on what we should do tomorrow.

Posted by: ASRSterling | February 8, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Every day I am glad that last January I moved from Arlington to San Antonio.

This is just another reason in the mountain of reasons. No snow, no traffic, I can afford an actual house for under $300K, etc.

Posted by: NoDonkey | February 8, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Closing the government for one day costs taxpayers $100 million in lost productivity, but when they come to work, it costs the taxpayers $200 million in lost productivity:)

Posted by: paulb831 | February 8, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The federal government really needs to close for another day or two or maybe even for the rest of the week. It is far too dangerous to get out of the neighborhoods by vehicle and even more dangerous to walk because it is so icy. They closed for 4 days due to ice back in 1989 and what we are dealing with right now is much worse. With the newscasters prediciting another 10 to 20" tomorrow, I would suggest that OPM mandate that all federal employees stay home and telecommute if they can. This would allow the snow removal crews to do their job and save many lives that would otherwise be lost by driving in dangerous conditions. You cannot put a pricetag on a life.

Posted by: mlc71 | February 8, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Hi All,

I just signed up for a free membership to this forum today, because I was really memorized by everyone’s PRO and CON view points regarding today’s government closing in DC. Thanks to the closing, I stayed up last night until after 12 midnight, and didn’t get out of bed until around 11 am. In addition, I stayed in my pajamas, and played video games with my son for hours. It was a GREAT, un-stressful day! To characterize myself to all of you, I am about 270 lbs, and only 5 foot/10 inches tall. In other words, I’m overweight, and I too work for the government. If I was to end my comments with these few lines, I’m sure some of you folks would preconceive my character and work ethics. However, you don’t know the rest of the story. Although I’m overweight, I do workout. In addition, I work TWO jobs of which one is a very stressful government job in acquisition policies (up at 5:30 am and work by 7:30 am until 5pm or later if task dictates), and the other is very stressful physical work (deliver pizzas – 3 days per week) in order to pay off my education loans; earned MBA last year. I’m a 50 year old man that had retired from the military after over 20 years. I volunteered and served in Desert Shield. Yesterday morning, I shoveled out the snow in my driveway and sidewalks, and helped a neighbor dig up his car in the deep snow. This took 3.5 hours, and was just in time before I had to go to my second job. Let me tell you all, “I’M STILL SORE”. Last night was stressful as I drove in very sloppy snow and ice trying to get pizzas to my customers' homes. Now you know the rest of the story, and you would be better equipped to judge my character and work ethics.

Therefore, I have a couple of points to share with you all. First, enjoy those treasure moments, like government closings, to allow you to stay up and enjoy some time with your family or other love ones. Secondly, don’t be so quick to judge others if you don’t have all the facts. Thirdly, folks should be able to voice their opinions (it’s a chat line for heaven sake), without fear of others retaliation.

Posted by: TMonaco2 | February 8, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

All you "global warming" eco-nut fanatical supporters, let's see if you'll get some poetic justice if we send you to DC and get buried by 10 feet of snow.

Posted by: ry1975 | February 10, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

All: sbhaskar002's IP has been traced and will be dealt with shortly.

Thank you for your patience.

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

$100 million a day is a bargain. Look at all the savings we are realizing compared to when they are operating, where they spend tens of billions per day.

They need to stay out for the rest of the year.

Posted by: ross3 | February 11, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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