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Federal government shutdown extends to Thursday

By Ed O'Keefe


Winds whip around the Washington Monument on Wednesday. (Ricky Carioti/Post)

You're living history, Washington: Federal agencies across the nation's capital will close Thursday for a fourth straight day -- taking the week-long shutdown of the government into uncharted territory.

The decision means non-emergency federal workers will be granted excused absences, the Office of Personnel Management said. Emergency employees are expected to report for work and some employees who telework may be expected to work from their telework sites, as specified in their individual agreements.

(OPM Director John Berry will answer questions from washingtonpost.com readers on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET. Submit your questions here.)

The 1995 and 1996 budget impasses kept workers away for weeks, and offices closed for three consecutive days due to inclement weather in January 1996 -- but four consecutive snow days is unheard of.

The cost to taxpayers, in lost productivity by government workers, from this week's closings and last Friday's early dismissal is up to an estimated $450 million -- not huge when compared to the government's overall expenditures, but certainly notable considering the current economic climate and the growing debt and deficit.

Blame Thursday's closing on poor road conditions, a crippled public transportation network and schools closed through the rest of this week. Heck, even the House of Representatives closed up shop for the rest of the week.

February's snow has crushed the region's seasonal record, so let's review how this week compares to previous storms and OPM decisions:

3-Day Snow Totals & the Government's Operating Status:

Date Accumulation Government Status
Jan. 1922 28" N/A
Feb. 1899 20" N/A
Feb. 1979 18.7" Closed 2/18-2/19, Unscheduled leave 2/21
Jan. 1996 17.3" Closed 1/6-1/8
Feb. 1983 16.6" Early dismissal 2/11, Unscheduled leave 2/14
Dec. 2009 16.4" Closed 12/21, Unscheduled leave 12/22 and 12/31
Feb. 2003 16.4" Closed 2/18 and 2/19

SOURCES: Associated Press, National Weather Service, Office of Personnel Management, The Washington Post

Looking for something to do with all your free time? Check out The Post's Recipe Finder for some home cooking ideas. Or take the advice of our Going Out Gurus think and go drinking!

The Post's Alice Crites and Scott Butterworth contributed to this report.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 10, 2010; 6:56 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Comments

So far this season we have had more snow than the states of wisconsin, minnesota, michigan, maine, and new hampshire combined.

No?

Posted by: NYY1 | February 10, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Im loving it. Hope we are closed on Friday, as well.

Posted by: K2007 | February 10, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

You need to correct your lie about the cost of closing to include the $50 million lost by people coming to work Friday morning to eat doughnuts, talk about snow, and then run out of town in a panic at the first sight of a snowflake.

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the context and report that is much more thorough than the last few days' closing stories you've posted.

Posted by: chrisny2 | February 10, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, here we go. The idiot peanut gallery is about to spout off on the government's "laziness". Look at it this way: when many people are working an extra hour for the next two months to catch up on their work, and when the normal "production" of the government gets completed, will you all still be uninformed, ignorant, and, dare I say it, jealous?

Posted by: CBone | February 10, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

well said member8! lazy ass federal workers. we lose more daily whether the gov is closed or not.
All the fed work do is complain about this or that. They can't document an email without the help of a consultant from booze allen or deloitte..turds...

Posted by: joethefarmer | February 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

During the 1979 snowstorm the government was closed but the impact was minimal because the 18th was a Sunday and the 19th was the President's Day Holiday.

I don't recall the government being closed ever until around 1985 or 1986. I suspect at that point the region had become so large (in terms of area and population) and the traffic become so bad to the point where bad whether could force a close down.

The past week has been truly without precedent.

Posted by: gshuman | February 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Please take down February 18, 2003 as a snow day. Technically, OPM did close the government, but considering it was President's Day, not many people stayed home from work who weren't already on holiday.

Posted by: AxelDC | February 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

You're also aware that 90% of the federal govt jobs are located outside the DC area, right? Only a small fraction of the federal govt has been shut down this week.

Posted by: Axel2 | February 10, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Joethefarmer--

You're welcome for defending America, even through this historic snowstorm. Jagoff.

Signed,
Beltway federal employees

Posted by: CBone | February 10, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Why does the money always get discussed here? How much is hundred of thousands of people's safety worth? Should we go back to work if only 3 people die trying to get to work? Is that worth it? Why is money even discussed. It is stupid. The work will still get accomplished, it just takes 4 days longer now.

Posted by: happydad3 | February 10, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"next two months to catch up on their work"

Really, you're kidding me, are they really going to be trying to catch up. Have you been to a DMV lately?

There are folks who are not lazy, but gov't business never rushes to get things done.

Again, the funny thing is fed services, the HQ of the US gov't, has been closed nearly a week (Sat)... The country is still operating as normal, yet all those employees are still *paid* to add on top of it. You do the Math.

Jealous, of course, sure it maybe a sunny 70 in So. California, but we're still working. Snow outs are fun, like you're in High School again (lived in DC for the '03 and '96 snow outs) until the slush and ice come out to play...

Posted by: recharged95 | February 10, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Your tax dollars at work. I guess the DC area does not know how to deal with snow.

Posted by: jabwtv | February 10, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

To K2007:

Those of us who work for a living are honored to support your lazy butt staying in bed...it isn't as if you woulda done anything had you been there!

Yep, what we need is bigger Government!

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

"You're also aware that 90% of the federal govt jobs are located outside the DC area, right?"

It's just that the the 10% of jobs in DC are:
a. the highest paid ones (all GS-11+ positions)
b. the positions that make the decisions (e.g. Congress).
c. And they're all paid in full for these snow days. It's basically a vacation for the top-tier of gov't employees.

Posted by: recharged95 | February 10, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

To: dmedman50

you must know me. LMAO and getting paid in the process.

Posted by: K2007 | February 10, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

To CBone:

I work as a contractor at a huge Federal office building in the Midwest. You may be able to sell that "we poor people will be working our butts off catching up" nonsense to your fellow slackers, but it just rarely works that way!

You should go into politics; the President himself would be proud of that distortion of the truth!

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

To: dmedman50

I also would like to add I make over 79K

Posted by: K2007 | February 10, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

come on. smithsonian employees and LoC employees are also feds. we're hardly "top tier." think beyond the political agencies.

furthermore, have you SEEN the streets here? you'd basically be putting people in serious danger if govt wasn't called off.

-hard working fed.

Posted by: heatherd1 | February 10, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree with CBone. When we finally do return to work we'll have pure heck to pay. Especially for legal staff working in a FOIA office. I don't take off of work unless I absolutely have to, and I catch it when I'm off 1 day, let alone a whole week. People just don't understand just how hard federal government employees work. I think it was a wise decision to close, 98% of us have kids whose schools are out all week and can't reach the sitters, or depend on metro to get to work and if the metro buses aren't even running how are you to get to work? Have any of you seen DC's streets? Even most of the main roads look a hot mess.

Posted by: kimblow1 | February 10, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

In a way, K2007, I DO know you...there are roughly 3000 JUST as worthless as you in the Federal Building where I work!

I do admire your honesty though! :-)

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Dmedman--

I am a Naval Officer. I have been deployed in support of both wars. Now I'm stationed here in DC doing what a lot of military folks do--keep your complaining rear safe.

It's really telling that you are a Midwestern contractor. Let's break this down:

Midwest--YOU DON'T LIVE HERE. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW CRAZY IT IS OUTSIDE.

Contractor--FEELING SLIGHTED BECAUSE YOUR SPINELESS EMPLOYERS WON'T STICK UP FOR YOUR SAFETY, HUH?

You really need to watch your mouth and think before you speak.

Posted by: CBone | February 10, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

@recharged95: if you think that Federal employees are running your local DMV then you certainly have some learnin' to do

Posted by: vdev | February 10, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

wait, Feds in DC are all supposed to be GS-11s? Man, I have been getting screwed; I only just recently became a 9! Someone owes me some money I guess...

Posted by: bmp246 | February 10, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Ed O'Keefe gets paid for doing this? Position, lackey? He deserves his own radio program. Must be difficult to put spin on travel conditions.

Posted by: ken17 | February 10, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

The federal workers who had a day off today should have been required to shovel snow. I spent all day outside doing this and it really wasn't too bad. It was shocking to see that almost no one ventured out and helped clear the walkways and roads. What are all those people doing on our payroll?

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

Time to change the channel--the violin music from the poor overworked foks here is making me depressed! Are those REAL tears, Kim?

Perhaps by Tuesday, when you're all back to "work" , that other 90% of the Government tied to you will also be able to accomplish something!

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I work in a private sector job that follows OPM, and I'll be working regardless of whether it's from home or at my office. That said, it would have been nothing short of reckless to open government offices tomorrow. The DC area simply isn't -- and, considering the rarity of events like this, probably shouldn't be -- equipped to handle these record-breaking levels of snow. If you want to dismiss government workers as lazy, that's up to you, but it has nothing to do with whether OPM made the correct call.

Posted by: Ejote | February 10, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Ed, please listen to OPM Director John Berry (interview here: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=35&sid=1885353) were he puts the $100 million figure you use into CONTEXT.

The OPM Director explains that the number is likely INFLATED, because, for example, it does not exclude the costs of emergency employees that do have to work and it doesn't account for teleworkers. Further, the number is simply based on the payroll of metro area Feds -- this is NOT an additional cost to taxpayers and NOT a measure of lost productivity.

Posted by: kasperlli | February 10, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Salute...

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, how fun to see the angry, jealous and underemployed grunts rant about "lazy" federal employees here. How sad for you that you are willing to settle for jobs with substandard benefits for companies that chase profits and put your retirement savings in peril.

So apply for a federal job. What's stopping you?

Your b!tching and moaning will just make my morning coffee taste that much sweeter tomorrow in the comfort of my home.

Posted by: NoWayNotNow | February 10, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

For all of you complaining about the gov't being closed...the overwhelming majority of DC feds don't live in DC. With above ground metro being closed (there is a three foot drift on the metro tracks outside my apartment building in Alexandria), buses not running even in DC, and most residential streets not being plowed, how do you expect people to even get to work? I grew up in Colorado, and I've only seen this much snow maybe twice in my life before. Its a lot, and travel just really isn't possible right now.

And to be honest, these posts just wreak of jealously. I seriously doubt any one of you would be complaining if you were the one with a few paid days off of work. Lets get real...

Posted by: mmmcheesy | February 10, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see someone try to get down my street to go to my federal workplace, or my mother's street--to get to the closed above-ground Metro station--to get to hers.

HeatherD1--thanks for sticking up for us at the Smithsonian. I love what I do, and I've missed doing it this week, but a "cushy" position it isn't.

Posted by: museum_lady | February 10, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Just so people have all of the facts, some feds (myself included) have been working from home via telework, and I went into my office yesterday, despite the official closing. Work needs to get done whether the government is officially open or not.

Posted by: jschrag | February 10, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Now if we could just get the Administration and Congress to stay home for the rest of the year, the nation would be a heckuva lot better off.

Posted by: txpenguin | February 10, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

There is no need to be so angry towards federal employees or angry towards those in private industry. All of us in some way or another benefit from both. Who are we to judge (from the insularity of our computers) anyone that we don't know? We all have families, we're all God's children, whether you are a conservative or a liberal, government worker or a company man or woman. Let's all take our anger down a notch in these tough times and find the best in each other

Posted by: chmick50 | February 10, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

chmick50--

Well put. I signed up to post b/c I got tired of the fed bashing here and I thought I'd argue back. I think I took my point too far earlier.

I really wish people would put their political views aside and realize that this is about safety more than anything. And if you look at the situation pragmatically, there really is not much money wasted.

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

The Federal Government -- great "work" (and I'm using that term very loosely-- if you can get it. For us poor schmucks out in the occupied provinces who have to pick up the tab, it's not so good. Any word on where/how we claim our rebate for taxes paid for serives not rendered? (or is it actally true that they don't do anything anyway?)

Posted by: Marks1153 | February 10, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Avoiding the several mouth-breathers who have nothing better to do than try to insult a bunch of folks they don't know, I offer this:

It may be true that a few feet of snow in 1899 or 1922 didn't close the government, but keep a few things in mind:

1. It wasn't possible for someone to live in Fairfax or Gaithersburg and work for the Federal Government. They were probably in walking distance.

2. In times of primitive heat and no air conditioning, the productivity of the workers was probably ridiculously lower. Let's not even talk about computers vs hand-written reports.

3. A government shutdown back then would have gone without notice. Much of the land around was still farmland. Pete's sake, let's think of all the productivity that was lost in the government and out with 3-martini lunches.

Please go back to beating down trolls who don't realize what work we do based on the laws their own representatives passed.

Posted by: kevincostello | February 10, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Hi: I believe the graphic is incorrect. In 1996, the storm struck Jan. 6-8, but the government was closed Monday-Wednesday, Jan. 8-10 and again on Friday Jan. 12.

Posted by: Marchak | February 10, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

To all the salaried and hourly federal workers I say thank you for a job well done. Here's hoping you are all safe and warm until this storm passes. However, as far as I'm concerned, send the politicians away for a one year paid vacation. That's right, Democrats and Republicans, just leave. It would be less damaging to the economy and the federal budget to simply pay them to stay away from the White House and Congress for an extended period of time.

Posted by: txpenguin | February 10, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Someone please buy some snow chains or studded tires for Metro Buses. You can fund it by taking a few bucks off the stimulus bill's high-speed rail projects. Also, buy an air compressor and deicer spray rig mounted on a diesel railway engine to make the rounds all night blowing the snow off the third-rail of the above ground MetroRail runs.

Posted by: MBA2005 | February 10, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure why anyone would get offended at the Fed bashing here. I am a Federal Employee and I kind of laugh at 95% of those bashing me and my work.

You can tell the type of person they are just by the way they type. Either they are some high school child still being paid by mommy or daddy or a political party extremist who can't stand a certain party currently in the White House. Pathetic really on either end.

Heck, if we want to get specific....take comfort in the fact that the chances are good that you are making more than them AND they are paying for you to stay home the last few days (at least, according to them)

Smile and have a drink....it's being paid by those mad at you

Posted by: Bious | February 10, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, one person asked what "those" people are doing on our payroll. My husband, a fed, is on travel so he's continuing to work 80 hour weeks for 40 hours pay as he always does. I am a fed and I've been working from home while managing the snow damage to my house and shoveling during breaks because my responsibility to the taxpayer doesn't end just because it's snowing in DC. I take the metro to work and I appreciate OPM considering my safety. Sorry, this isn't enough for some folks.

Posted by: monstergirl | February 10, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

OK, so here I am in Tulsa and looking to see if I can get back to DC on Thursday. Has anybody looked at the lame FAA homepage? The airport status map shows that all the DC airports have delays of 15 minutes or less (even though the airports are closed). What gives?

Posted by: DrBob48 | February 10, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

The Federal Government -- great "work" (and I'm using that term very loosely-- if you can get it. For us poor schmucks out in the occupied provinces who have to pick up the tab, it's not so good. Any word on where/how we claim our rebate for taxes paid for serives not rendered? (or is it actally true that they don't do anything anyway?)

Posted by: Marks1153
---------------------------
You do realize that Federal employees pay just as much in taxes as you do right? We don't get our salaries tax-free, so enough with the "we pay your salary" garbage.

Posted by: bmp246 | February 10, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Ok so with the $100 million a day. There's about 20 work days a month, times 12 months, times $100 million a day. Does that mean the DC federal govt workers make the country $24 billion a year? The govt doesn't produce anything, it's overhead! So please stop saying that its losing money when it's never actually MAKING money. The work will still get done, it will just be a week or 2 late.

Posted by: TrustMe2 | February 10, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Monstergirl-

Just consider the inconsistencies in the complaints. Someone wanted Feds to shovel snow because we are being paid by the public. Of course, wouldn't that get in the way of the private companies trying to make a buck on this opportunity? Nah, forget the entrepreneurs. No need to be philosophically consistent when there is a tea-party sound-bite to be had.

Posted by: kevincostello | February 10, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

CBone;
No need to apologize. None of the whiners rate the courtesy of your apology. I did my time where deriliction of duty meant something serious and also was a contractor on the other side of it many lifetimes ago. Now with a GS rating - I just wonder. I have an employer (again) that cares about my welfare. If people are so concerned about the X-million of dollars - then tell me if one human life is worth all that?

Posted by: MDL7 | February 10, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Would you federal employee-bashers like some whine with your cheese? I'm SO sorry that you work for an employer that would require you to commute in such horrible weather conditions.

Now, for my two cents as a federal employee...I started my career in the federal government, moved to the private sector for some years, and then returned to federal employment. I was a hard worker in private and I'm still a hard worker as a fed. In fact, I work harder BECAUSE I'm on the government's payroll. That's my work ethic.

@bmp246: Tell me about it. I'm not sitting in some cushy, high-paying position either.

There are slackers and goof-offs in EVERY segment of our working population. I've seen both sides. So please spare me.

Posted by: klmarshall_md | February 10, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Why can't POTUS/OPM un-declare Monday a Federal Holiday? It's a gimme holiday anyway and people's long weekend plans are not going to be an issue - they can keep them and take annual leave if they want - and the rest of us can get a day in at work.

Posted by: ACNonPro | February 10, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

For those upset about the "lame government workers getting skate time off who are a bunch of buffoons who never work anyway andwon't be missed if they never show up again"--those not showing up in the office tomorrow also includes the tens of thouseands of military/civilian DoD employees who work at the Pentagon/HQ USMC/Navy Yard/Andrews AFB/Bolling AFB/Ft Meade/Ft Belvoir et al, and tens of thousands others in the intelligence (DIA, NSA, CIA) and other defense agencies in the DC area. Most of the military and many of the civilians have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tell me how they are a bunch of slackers and losers who are too scared to make their way to work through a little bit of snow.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: usafa75 | February 10, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, the chart showing 3-day snow totals and the government operating status is wrong regarding the 1996 storm. The dates shown for the government closure are actually the dates of the storm itself, which started on Saturday, 1/6 and was over by the morning of Monday, 1/8. The government was closed Monday-Wednesday, 1/8-10, and reopened on Thursday, 1/11, only to be closed by another storm on Friday, 1/12. See http://www.weatherbook.com/1996.htm

Posted by: ktriarch | February 10, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

To jabwtv:

I am from ND, and moved to the DC area a year ago when I graduated from UND. While I've never felt temps as cold as those back home, I can tell you that the current weather is worse than anything I ever saw during my 23 years in ND, and we have some pretty awful storms there! Adding to that, the DC area doesn't have the equipment to deal with any relatively large snowstorm. It's extremely dangerous out there; my husband and I tried to drive a mile to the Safeway and had to turn around because the road conditions were so bad yesterday. I can only image what they are like now with all the snow accumulation from today! Please, don't insinuate that we are "wimps" because the government is shut down, because you are obviously not informed about the severity of the situation to be throwing around such unfounded insults.

Posted by: Alex251 | February 10, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say, I'm just loving this. On behalf of all federal workers in the dc area, this is like heaven on earth!

Posted by: billthorp | February 10, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Shut the government down!!!

Posted by: houston123 | February 10, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see all those who are b!tching do so to John Berry, OPM director, during tomorrow's live chat. He is, after all, the person who decides to close the government -- not the federal employees. Perhaps just reading the chat will enlighten your grossly uninformed minds.

Posted by: JillC | February 10, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

There are only 1100 miles of streets in DC and if each federal employee resident here spent today clearing just the street in front of their house, there wouldn't be a problem. All it takes is a shovel and shoes to get to work, so what's the excuse? I am a Democrat and am very supportive of the Administration's initiatives, but if we can't even deal with a little snow, how can we handle the really big problems? Come on guys, pull up your bootstraps and get out there tomorrow, be happy you have a job, and be an example for the nation by clearing the snow and getting back to work.

Posted by: ndmyr | February 10, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The fed bashing is from people that obviously don't live in the DC area. If they lived here they'd realize that NO ONE went to work today. And when metro stops running, neither private nor public workers can get to the city. So please, keep your Midwestern comments in the Midwest.

Posted by: tristesse27 | February 10, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually glad I don't work for the Federal Government. First, I have a job that I actually like, so I don't look forward to lots of downtime. If anyone really enjoys not being able to work for several days, then they probably hate their jobs.
Second, my job is important and so I (and my bosses) find a way to work, because the rest of the world is not taking four days off work.

Posted by: privacy3 | February 10, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I have to say after reading some of these (ridiculous) posts for the last few days, some of you people are way off base. Obviously, closing the government is not an easy decision, but OPM needs to think about the safety of all individuals when deciding to close. Keep in mind that this town is NOT equipped to handle multiple snow storms of the magnitude that we have had, much less a single snowstorm.

Being from MN, I have say, yeah if this storm happened back home the city might be closed for a day. But this is not MN, NH, MI, NY, Manitoba, or Ontario – this is D.C., and this area simply does not have the capability to handle this type of storm. Have any of you tried driving recently? The roads are a mess, and are likely to stay a mess until the snow starts to melt.

Declaring a snow emergency has little effect too, because a snow emergency here does not allow some of the primary and secondary streets to be plowed like they should (just ask someone from a snow state how much of a nightmare it is to try to remember which side of the street you are allowed to park on during a snow emergency, and believe it, the streets are clear in 24 hrs).

An overwhelming majority of Feds work hard, even if that means working from home on a snow day (s). If the schools are closed, and public transportation is not at 100 percent, then the government should be closed too.

I think it is safe to say that quite few Feds are able to get some work done during these snow days – thus that $100 million a day figure should be recalculated, b/c there is no way that number is accurate.

Posted by: judabomber | February 10, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Recharged 95 - "Really, you're kidding me, are they really going to be trying to catch up. Have you been to a DMV lately?"

DMV is run by the STATE of Virginia. If you're going to criticize the federal government, at least get your facts straight.

Posted by: annapolitangrl | February 10, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Have there been spikes in birth rates after previous snow storms? I foresee a baby boom in Washington in early November ;-)

Posted by: vfine11 | February 10, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

You're also aware that 90% of the federal govt jobs are located outside the DC area, right?"

It's just that the the 10% of jobs in DC are:
a. the highest paid ones (all GS-11+ positions)
b. the positions that make the decisions (e.g. Congress).
c. And they're all paid in full for these snow days. It's basically a vacation for the top-tier of gov't employees.

Posted by: recharged95
---------------------------------
Recharged 95,

Again it seems Fox News has failed to enlighten you on some key points. All DC area federal employees are not GS 11 or higher. I was a GS 7 and then GS 9 in DC for 3 years. Why don't you puruse www.usajobs.gov and take a look at all the GS 3 through GS 9 jobs there are in DC? While you're at it why don't you brush up on all the federal agencies that exist in DC that are not Congress - Dept of Ed, Dept of Transportation, Dept of DEFENSE, etc. Before spreading misinformation about federal employees, a group of people that are dedicated to serving YOU and the rest of the American people, please do your homework.

Posted by: annapolitangrl | February 10, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I just want to say that not all of the people who are getting all this time off are enjoying the experience. We have deadlines that are hard. A lot of us will have to work ten to twelve hours a day and weekends for weeks to catch up. We will not get paid overtime for a job that is expected that we complete on time. No matter what hand Mother Nature has dealt us, we still have to get the job done and on a budget.

Posted by: shop4man | February 10, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

To those who made the ridiculous suggestion that federal workers shovel enough snow to be able to work tomorrow: the majority of federal workers in DC do not live in DC. They live in VA or MD and commute in. Please familiarize yourself with a map of the DC area and you'll see that magical "Beltway" you've heard so much about - it's that big highway circley thingy running around DC. Yep - many federal workers live outside of that thingy! Also google DC and commuting city - you'll see that DC is in the top cities in the US for commutes - that's because of federal employees! After doing those things, you'll see why it's ridiculous to suggest DC federal government workers could all get together and dig out DC.

Posted by: annapolitangrl | February 10, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Three days without the highly paid DC federal workers and the earth hasn't veered out of its orbit or spun off its axis. I wonder just how many of their person/days we could do without?

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 10, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I only recently began coming to this site because my employer follows the opm guidelines, and I have to say I am so shocked and embarrassed to see some of these posts bashing the federal workers, the city, and all basic govt functions. It really makes me laugh that people who seem to have no involvement with the federal govt or apparently don't even live in the city come here to trash talk. This storm was crippling for DC...it wasn't simply just "a little snow". Yes, historically we panic at an inch, but this goes above and beyond anything we've seen. John Berry has been using good judgment whether anyone agrees with him or not. If you cannot walk to work you likely will not get there tomorrow and possibly not Friday, why take the chance? Please people, have all of your facts in check before you start spewing hateful things on a news article!

Posted by: justice19 | February 10, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

The chart does not include the closure due to Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Wasn't the federal government closed 4 days back then? I'd say the infrastructure damage back then is somewhat similar to what we are seeing now, so I hardly think 4 1/2 days is unprecedented (especially given that we are dealing with 2 large storms now).

Posted by: dc121 | February 10, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey dork. Maybe you wouldn't be complaining about the Government shutting down IF YOU ACTUALLY LEFT YOUR HOME COMPUTER TO GET TO WORK. Jesus, you're agenda is ridiculous. You're a glorified blogger, you putz.

Posted by: ryscavagem | February 10, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

All of the federal employees who have been at home and not telecommuting for the past 3 days should be fired. If the government can do without them for a week, it can do without them permanently.

My office has been closed this week, too. But guess what? I've put in a full day, every day, from home!

Posted by: arlingtonresident | February 10, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Ok, first, to arlingtonresident, I'd just like to say this:

a lot of Fed employers don't allow for telecommuting. This blog itself has touched upon that.

Second, I want to correct my typo of using "you're" instead of "your" in my previous post.

Posted by: ryscavagem | February 10, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I think we can debate whether government is too big or wasteful, but it's not fair to say because someone hasn't done their job for four days that they don't provide any value. For the majority of us, most people could survive for several days without the services we provide. Maybe it's one day or ten days, but at some point there are negative consequences if most of us don't do our jobs.

Posted by: privacy3 | February 10, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

to recharged95 -- the DMV is a state agency, not the federal govt. typical ignorance of how the government runs. you probably think the postal service is government run too.

I don't know if govt employees get a "free" day off or not. Even if they do, most of the federal workforce around DC consists of contractors, not direct employees.

Federal contractors, of which I am one, have to use our vacation -- meaning we're paying for these days off, not you. So quit whining.

However, in my case I have a connection to work and have been workign every day. I'm lucky in that regard. I'd be angry if I had to burn a week's worth of vacation time to *not* be on vacation but to sit at home unable to go anywhere or do anything.

Of course, we could always buy the snowplows and salt that it would take to keep the govt open for a week, but you'd probably complain about spending that money too.

Big snows happen once or twice a decade, and snows like this a few times in a lifetime. For the last few years we haven't had any snow at all!! During those snow-less years we could have spent a pile of taxpayer money to buy a fleet of snowplows and tons of salt against the day we might get a freak snowstorm like this one. Then you'd have video cameras in warehouses showing the plows collecting dust and the salt caking up, unused. There would be complaining about that too, you'd be calling it a govt boondoogle, etc.

Bottom line: people don't want to pay for their government. But they yell and scream when the government is not there to plow their roads and otherwise rescue them during times of dire emergency.

Posted by: xcrunner771 | February 10, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey all you government haters. Crawl back to South Succotash or wherever it is you came from and see how well you and Goober can run the government.

Posted by: tiger_caddy_31 | February 10, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Ok, one more time. So everyone is clear. These are not FREE paid days off. Gov't and contract employees have to use whatever accrued leave they have.

If you want to complain about anything, complain about the insane rate at which gov't employees accrue leave.

But for those who don't have the leave to use...it is leave without pay. Just like every other worker.

Posted by: keithrjackson | February 10, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I see idiots are out in full force tonight...spouting nonsense. Dmedman is here, again, not knowing anything about DC and the federal workforce. I guess he is a contractor who cannot get a permanent job with the feds....By the way, I dont work for the federal government.

When a Mother Nature causes chaos in another part of the country (Florida, Louisiana, and the midwest), the local federal offices close b/c it is unsafe to operate. The only difference between DC and these areas is that the DC metro area has a higher concentration of federal employees.

The statement that all the federal employees here make so much more than other areas, is both true and false. Most employees here are not GS-11 or higher...there are a ton of GS-6 thru 10. DC area employees do make more compared to the good ole midwest because the cost of living (COLA adjustment) in DC is much higher (but lower than LA and NYC).

DC has now broke the snow fall record set back in 1898...this is one hell of a winter here and is not common. Also, the DC Metro area has the second highest snow fall rate behind Syracuse for this winter. It is important to note that Syracuse is below its average and DC area is over 50 inches above its noral 13 inches. Also, almost everything is closed (private and public sector). My local 7-11 is even closed...i've never seen that.

So, if your not here, show some compassion and PRAY that we can dig out of this quickly. If not, the next time you get that 100 year flood or super twisters roll through the midwest, make sure you get to work and don't ask the feds in DC for any help!!!

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | February 10, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Everyone who works for the government does not have a 'computer job.' Some people, like engineers and scientists, work in labs. Shall they bring their chemicals home and brew experiments in the basement? Should the NIH researchers bring their viruses home to study? Oh, but I guess we don't 'need' them since Joe in flyover country hasn't seen the impact of them not being at work this week.
Also, for security reasons, some work can only been done on government computers that are maintained and monitored on-site. You know, to protect us from those 'evil-doers.'

Posted by: 1Reader | February 10, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

It's a good thing we don't have to actually depend on the government. I'm wondering what would happen if the government closed permanently and nobody even noticed.

Posted by: brewstercounty | February 10, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

So, arlingtonresident, you think all of the TSA workers should be telecommuting? How about the railroad workers? Department of Transportation? How about Capitol Police? Air traffic controllers?

It would be interesting to see your business plan for those "telecommuters."

Go to work tomorrow, grunt. How's YOUR 401K?

Posted by: NoWayNotNow | February 10, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

"

The federal workers who had a day off today should have been required to shovel snow. I spent all day outside doing this and it really wasn't too bad. It was shocking to see that almost no one ventured out and helped clear the walkways and roads. What are all those people doing on our payroll?

Posted by: ndmyr | February 10, 2010 7:35 PM"

And just who would oversee this "requirement"?

As a former Federal employee, I'm happy the Government has the sense to shut down, and if I were still working there I'd like to see them TRY to make me do any snow shoveling.

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 10, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully all the liberals who are missing work because of the weather will wrap up in the snuggies and not burn fossil fuels. According to Washington, fossil fuels are bad, bad, bad. They cause heat.

Posted by: johntu | February 10, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I love my job and actually can't wait to get back to work. Most of us would rather be at work than dealing with this damn blizzard. Everyone in my office takes pride in their work. Some people must just enjoy hating the government. I guess it would be impossible to do anything 'right' according to them, because their whole world-view depends on the government being 'bad.'

Posted by: 1Reader | February 10, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Reading some of the fed-bashing comments here, I'm wondering why I spent the last 29 years trying to make our country a safer place to live.

I guess it was for my family.

Posted by: joe_b_stanley | February 10, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Why are all these people saying the federal employees should be shoveling snow?!? When you make uneducated comments, you look like a putz. The majority of federal employee live in VA and MD and commute by train or car (bc DC is so expensive!!). Some travel over 60 miles to get to work. I guess the employee would need to start up in the Eastern Panhandle of WV (where they now 7 to 8ft snow drifts), Eastern Shore of MD (3-4 ft snow..drifts higher), or somewhere out in VA to get to work in DC.

It might help to use this new little invention called google before you post.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | February 10, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@arlingtonresident

I am not allowed to nor are MANY employees due to sensitivity issues.

Should I be fired?

Posted by: Bious | February 10, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Why are all these people saying the federal employees should be shoveling snow?!? When you make uneducated comments, you look like a putz. The majority of federal employee live in VA and MD and commute by train or car (bc DC is so expensive!!). Some travel over 60 miles to get to work. I guess the employee would need to start up in the Eastern Panhandle of WV (where they now 7 to 8ft snow drifts), Eastern Shore of MD (3-4 ft snow..drifts higher), or somewhere out in VA to get to work in DC.

It might help to use this new little invention called google before you post.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | February 10, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

this is an excused absence (paid), no leave use is required

Posted by: bmp246 | February 10, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

To Cbone:

I did 23 years in uniform and was also in 2 wars--the 1st being Vietnam. I'm pretty sure that earned me the right to "whine" about the ongoing waste of taxpayer money, Sir.

To KeithrJackson:

My wife has been a GS worker since 1987...yes, it IS free time off--no use of leave is required unless the buildings reopen. At that point the "liberal leave" policy kicks in if you can't/won't/don't get there.

To that 35-40% of you who do actually have a work ethic:

I apologize for painting with such a broad brush, However, I daily see roughly 1000-1500 people who "earn a living" by hiding in plain site. Statistically, that tells me that roughly 84,000 DC area employees have joyfully taken advantage of all of us for the past week--it is toward them that my anger is intended, and I beleive justified!

And with that, I bid you goodnight-- jealous or not, I have to go to work tomorrow morning, treating the medical needs of those same federal employees that mostly I disrespect... Peace

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I worked for the Government before when it was closed due to weather, and now I work for the private sector. So, I like to pretend I have an unbiased view.
If I were a Fed, I would say: "Please don't attack me because my bosses told me not to work. I hate being stuck at home and really wish I could be working."
As I private worker I say: "Please don't gloat at the fact that you don't have to work. Express some frustration that you can't telecommute (if this is even possible). Or, tell me you would rather be working.".

Posted by: privacy3 | February 10, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah... and to you DCJUSTICE, such a strongly resentful reaction only serves to make me VERY grateful that you aren't one of those federal "employees". :-) Chill, dude.

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

PS

"Shoveling snow" is merely a metaphor to reflect that those being paid should be doing SOMETHING productive... yes, I am a Conservative. (Would someone please tell DCJustuce what "metaphor" means?)

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr O'Keefe--

With all due respect, what do you expect people to do? [The U.S. has a $14 Trillion GDP.] The federal government is acting with consideration of human life. Metro is not running at above ground stations. The roads have reduced-lane capacity--the intersections have huge snow piles, interfering with sight lines, and pedestrians have to walk in the street (with cars that have minimal traction themselves). Let's not talk about the subdivisions, with unplowed streets (I do not blame local govts, they're doing the best the can). On top of that, families have a huge job of digging out also--with nearly 5 feet of snow.

With all of this Mr. O'Keefe: Is a bit of humanity, consideration, compassion, and reasonableness too much to ask?

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

in response to arlingtonresident:
we would telework if we did not deal with sensitive data like our employee's SSN, birthdates, banking info or their addresses. That makes alot of sense = lets work at home with that info

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

ba ba boey
ba ba boey
ba ba boey

Posted by: privacy3 | February 10, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Man, nothing like a thread about federal employees getting a day off to bring out the teabaggers.

Sorry we get a day off and you have to clock in tomorrow at that dumpy old used furniture store in Bugtussle, OK, for yet another dreary 12-hour shift. Suckers.

Posted by: 20009matt | February 10, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

OK, so here I am in Tulsa and looking to see if I can get back to DC on Thursday. Has anybody looked at the lame FAA homepage? The airport status map shows that all the DC airports have delays of 15 minutes or less (even though the airports are closed). What gives?

Posted by: DrBob48 | February 10, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Their closed. LOL

Posted by: askgees | February 10, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

See? Even God wants to stop this wretched health care bill of Obama's. lol

Posted by: prossers7 | February 10, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

20009matt, when you are done teabagging your mom, askgees would like some too.

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

member8, that was an awesome joke. You must be an awesome person.

Posted by: 20009matt | February 10, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Man, nothing like a thread about federal employees getting a day off to bring out the teabaggers.
Sorry we get a day off and you have to clock in tomorrow at that dumpy old used furniture store in Bugtussle, OK, for yet another dreary 12-hour shift. Suckers.
Posted by: 20009matt | February 10, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse
I’m and IT Manager and have worked every day. I’m fortunate because I live about 5 miles from where I work. They have also done a pretty good job moving the 4.5 foot of snow so we have a good portion of the parking available. DC is a little bit tougher they have to move the snow to open the streets for parking. Metro is unable to operate and most back roads are covered with 2 feet of snow. Closing is the right thing to do to give the road crews time to handle the snow.
But I do find your remarks quite funny considering the majority of the idiot’s posting here are clearly LIB youth with no clue but you seem to fit that mold as you appear to be as ignorant as they are. It’s a good thing you have a job with the Gov. chances are you aren’t smart enough to make it in the private sector. Oh and by the way, I probably make twice what you do and haven’t used any of my vacation time over the past week. Have a nice evening.

For all we know this id10t’s the janitor.

Posted by: askgees | February 10, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

20009matt, when you are done teabagging your mom, askgees would like some too.

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I busy doing your sister at the moment. I'll get back to you.

Posted by: askgees | February 10, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

The airport status map shows that all the DC airports have delays of 15 minutes or less (even though the airports are closed). What gives?
===

No schedule flights => no delayed flights. The airfields themselves may be "open", but with such restrictions that it becomes logistically too hard for the airlines to fly out of them. Thus the airlines cancel the flights to avoid airplane/aircrew scheduling issues.

Could also be a browser issue. I've found that the FAA delay page doesn't play nicely with all browsers.

Posted by: mason08 | February 10, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Okay, member8 is awesome, but askgees is awesomer. I bet askgees, as "and IT Manager," had his snooze button replaced with an awesome button. He just sits there in bed all day, getting just a little awesomer every 10 minutes.

I'm glad I'm off tomorrow. The wine rack has taken a severe hit in the last few days, and it's time to replenish.

Posted by: 20009matt | February 10, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I posed this question the other night and NO ONE responded: Why is it that Federal employees who can't get to work have their salary paid by the taxpayers? But...contractors who work at the same Federal agencies and who also can't get to work don't get paid (i.e., they must use paid leave or go without pay). What is the fundemental difference between these two types of employees besides who pays their salaries? If it is fact to dangerous to get to work why should the taxpayer compensate ONLY the federal employee?? PLEASE.....someone answer this simple question.

Posted by: danlarson | February 10, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

You know, the greatest thing about this is that we'll probably get Friday off too...oh, my bad, the greatest thing is that this coming Monday is a Federal HOLIDAY! I love this and thanks to all of the tax payers out there. Keep on keep'n on!!

Posted by: SF271 | February 10, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

On the one hand, I am jealous that my old coworkers are getting a 4th day off while I'm try to figure out how to make it through another 12 hr work day. On the other hand, when I get off of work, I go outside and sit on my lanai because I transferred to a job in Hawaii. I didn't move out here soon enough though, I spent a long time digging out my car back in December.

Posted by: zan20 | February 10, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow will be the fourth day without DC's federal workers being on the job.

If I notice any degredation in my quality of life, I'll create a twitter account under the name "HamiltonWantsGeithner" and tweet prodigiously.

If I'm not mistaken, the federal government does three things no one else could do:

1) Takes peoples' money
2) Gives people money
3) Wages war.

I know, it also predicts weather and manages air traffic controllers and makes sure you doff your shoes at airports. But those are sidelines.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 10, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

danlarson, it used to be that contractors were relatively rare. Under the Bush II administration, the number of contractors soared. For two reasons -- to hide the growing number of people working for the federal government, and to create a cohort that wasn't eligible for the job security, salary, and benefits (like, for instance, paid admin leave on snow days) that career feds enjoy.

Hope that answers your question.

Posted by: 20009matt | February 10, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

The only government workers who are glad to be not working and making fun of others are the ones who are lazy and truly not needed. The others wish they could be at work.

Posted by: privacy3 | February 11, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

douglaslbarber, actually we do have another very important function:

4) Giving chubby middle-aged white guys in Flyover Country something to complain about ineffectually and anonymously on the internet for hours on end, distracting them from searching their souls for what's really bothering them, an honest accounting of which would be, you know, humiliating, and potentially life-changing, and not necessarily in a good way.

You're welcome!

Posted by: 20009matt | February 11, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for chiming in Matt 20009. But how does your response answer my question about why a certain class of people who can't to work are given a taxpayer-funded day off while others who work in the exact same position (but with a different employee) have to take a day of leave?? It doesn't matter to my argument how hard or dangerous it is to get to work but rather why some employees get a paid day and other equal empoyees dont. I'm STILL waiting on an answer. Four days now...

danlarson, it used to be that contractors were relatively rare. Under the Bush II administration, the number of contractors soared. For two reasons -- to hide the growing number of people working for the federal government, and to create a cohort that wasn't eligible for the job security, salary, and benefits (like, for instance, paid admin leave on snow days) that career feds enjoy.

Hope that answers your question.

Posted by: danlarson | February 11, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Very wise. As I recall back in 1996 we were home for the Monday and Tuesday and were brought into work on Wednesday. That was an unmititaged disaster as the main arteries were fine but getting to them was murder. It took folks forever to get to and from work. So OPM shut everything down on Thursday to allow further clean up. Can't remember whether we worked on Friday.

I don`t really care what they say about $100M in lost productivity because that is hogwash. There will be no work that goes uncompleted. It will get done. It is not like the feds are producing widgets you know.

Posted by: KarenLS | February 11, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

So with a week off and $500 trillion in lost productivity, will the bureauRats spend less time teabagging each other next week or more?

My money's on more.

Posted by: member8 | February 11, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

All government agencies are not closed(have not been closed). Many agencies in MD and VA are open and their employees were(are) required to be at work the whole week.

Posted by: redskinsgirl | February 11, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Regarding KarenLS comment:

"I don`t really care what they say about $100M in lost productivity because that is hogwash. There will be no work that goes uncompleted. It will get done. It is not like the feds are producing widgets you know."

If four (or five) days doesn't result in "lost productivity" why not take an entire year off?? What amount of time of lost work then does result in lost productivity? Six days?? Six weeks? Forever? If this is true why should we require our dedicated public servants to work at all?
Please someone return with a coherent argument against my position.

Posted by: danlarson | February 11, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

To CBone:

I work as a contractor at a huge Federal office building in the Midwest. You may be able to sell that "we poor people will be working our butts off catching up" nonsense to your fellow slackers, but it just rarely works that way!

You should go into politics; the President himself would be proud of that distortion of the truth!

Posted by: dmedman50 | February 10, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I find it humorous that government contractors like to call government workers lazy. Its like the kettle calling the pot black.

Posted by: redskinsgirl | February 11, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

danlarson, it used to be that contractors were relatively rare. Under the Bush II administration, the number of contractors soared. For two reasons -- to hide the growing number of people working for the federal government, and to create a cohort that wasn't eligible for the job security, salary, and benefits (like, for instance, paid admin leave on snow days) that career feds enjoy.

Hope that answers your question.

Posted by: 20009matt | February 10, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse


If you work for a big government like Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop etc. they actually get the same or even better benefits and pay. Also they technically get more vacation time. They earn 4 hours every pay period like government workers, get the same holidays off, but also get Christmas Eve to New Years Day off (free paid vacation paid the federal government).

Government workers aren't the only ones "mooching" off the government.

Posted by: redskinsgirl | February 11, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse


"If four (or five) days doesn't result in "lost productivity" why not take an entire year off?? What amount of time of lost work then does result in lost productivity? Six days?? Six weeks? Forever? If this is true why should we require our dedicated public servants to work at all?
Please someone return with a coherent argument against my position."


I think we can debate whether government is too big or wasteful, but it's not fair to say because someone hasn't done their job for four days that they don't provide any value. For the majority of us, most people could survive for several days without the services we provide. Maybe it's one day or ten days, but at some point there are negative consequences if most of us don't do our jobs.hb

Posted by: privacy3 | February 11, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

privacy3 is hitting the nail on the head:

If the offended federal workers didn't detest their jobs, they wouldn't be so excited about this time off.

Likewise, if the "jealous" posters liked their work, they wouldn't be so outraged at others getting paid time off at no cost to them.

This may come as a shock, but some people like their work so much, that they even come in on weekends or work late hours without pay. I highly doubt that such people would be so deliriously happy at this unexpected free paid time off.

...Do you like your job? Or do you go to work everyday hoping it's Friday? If you do, hmmm, at 104 Saturdays and Sundays for every 365 days in a year (~52 weekends in a calendar year), you're set to only be happy for less than 1/3 of your adult life.

Yikes.

Posted by: kolya02 | February 11, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

>I work as a contractor at a huge Federal office building in the >Midwest. You may be able to sell that "we poor people will be >working our butts off catching up" nonsense to your fellow >slackers, but it just rarely works that way!

Perhaps that's how it's done in the Midwest. I'll have to take you word on that. In DC, however, deadlines rarely change based on a reasoned response to external events. What's gotta get done will get done, when it is required to get done. Period.

Yes, that may not be the case for low level service jobs (whatever those might be around here), but then those folks are getting paid GS-7 or below salaries. I suppose that you're not griping about subsistence-wage employees getting an unfair break due to a record snowstorm.

I'm also guessing your not preposing the Fed govt spend even MORE of the taxpayers hard-earned money gearing-up to respond to a storm-load that is only actually experienced one year out of 10. Not terribly efficient, that.

Perhaps you should demand your representatives slash the roughly 1/6 of govt spending devoted to what's left of all govt expenditures not devoted to defense, welfare, medicare/medicaid, and and SSI. You could save a big 16% at the minor cost of brining all Fed govt services (and largess) to a grinding halt. Might have the salutory side-effect of reducing vehicular traffic in the area, too.

Posted by: pdqlmnop | February 11, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

So many moronic posts to respond to, so little time…

>There are only 1100 miles of streets in DC and if each federal employee >resident here spent today clearing just the street in front of their house, there >wouldn't be a problem. All it takes is a shovel and shoes to get to work, so >what's the excuse? I am a Democrat and am very supportive of …

That last line may explain the ignorance shown, but I gotta ask: Where are the shovel’ers supposed to PUT all that snow? And that leaves aside the obvious false-assumption that every inch of those 1100 miles is populated by a Fed employee young enough to shovel, by-hand, 1600 cu/ft of snow. Both my neighbors on either side are in fact private sector (if you can consider welfare a private sector job). That would make my share at least 4800 cu/ft and counting… Care to help?


>All of the federal employees who have been at home and not telecommuting >for the past 3 days should be fired. If the government can do without them for a >week, it can do without them permanently.

I see. So, by substitution, and following your train of logic exactly:

All people who have been out of work for the past week should be permanently separated from their jobs. If they can do without work for one week, they can do without a paycheck permanently.

And please note that our telecommuting policy strictly forbids telecommuting if a child is in the house young enough to need watching. Since public elementary school’s are closed, I cannot by policy (and probably law) telecommute. Ran into that problem just a month or two ago, when there was nary a flake of snow on the ground.

Posted by: pdqlmnop | February 11, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Can you think of a more absurd phrase than "lost productivity by government workers"?

Posted by: thebump | February 11, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

As a federal employee, I am very entertained by ranting idiots who hate government workers but don't know what it is that we do or why it matters. These is nothing finer than an absence of fact married with the political indignation that comes from a hyperpartisan 24/7 news cycle.

So what is it that I, this imaginary lazy, overpaid person do with my life? Well, I work for the Marines in Quantico, which has also been closed since Friday. I have three graduate degrees and work in a highly specialized, technical area that none of you anti-government posters would qualify for.

The work I do supports the Marine Corps while they are fighting in Afghanistan and preparing for other conflicts and contingencies that could bring Marines into harm's way. I often work weekends. Last week, I was there past midnight because I wanted to get what I could done before the storm and I cannot take work home with me. At work, I am surrounded by Marines and many civilian federal workers (many of whom are ex-military) who are motivated to get it right because of what is at stake.

Why does what I do matter? Well, I hope you are not one of those people who hate their country and want the terrorists to win.

Posted by: yh132 | February 11, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

GLOBAL WARMING? TO BIG TO FAIL? QUAKE IN ILLINOIS? SNOWLESS CANADA? NAW, NOT TO WORRY.

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | February 11, 2010 4:46 AM | Report abuse

Private-sector employees who have to work on Thursday should direct their anger at their employers, rather than federal workers. My employer gave us the day off as well. I've had 3 days off (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday). Perhaps your job sucks?

Although I don't have to work on Thursday, I was thankful on Wednesday when the federal government was closed. The light traffic actually allowed me to get to work and find parking, despite the challenges from heavy snow.

Our outdated transportation system simply could not handle the high volumes. We need more investments in Metro.

Posted by: dc_attorney | February 11, 2010 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Remember all that money that we spent preparing for disasters and 911 style terrorist attacks? Yet it SNOWS and we shut down for almost a week. Does anybody honestly think this region could handle a real emergency?

Federal employees should get the same deal as the rest of the workforce: you work you get paid, you don't work you don't get paid. Then maybe people would have shoveled their own neighborhood streets on Saturday and Sunday rather waiting for the snowplow that never came.

Posted by: afpre42 | February 11, 2010 5:38 AM | Report abuse

Impact on the deficit: the government actually expends more money when closed than when open? Please do explain.

Posted by: Sutter | February 11, 2010 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Uh, lazy ass government workers? Hope you realize that "federal government" includes all military members in this case.

Posted by: shorele17 | February 11, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Don't blame federal employees for not being able to work from home, blame the dinosaurs who believe allowing an employee to "telework" is not acceptable because they can't watch the employee work if they are at home. One group in the VA Central Office has been "Working" on developing a telework policy even while the central office has a telework policy in place for ALL employees.. Get rid of the managers who refuse to change with the times and allow us to work from home. Even with internet access at home, if you are not authorized to have access to systems at work, which must be granted by your management you sit at home for 5.5 days unable to do any work. Unless telework is "Mandated at the VA" expect more of the same. I love how the perception is each individual fed in the area took it upon themself to stay home for the last week and oh for good measure I won't telework... Get a clue people.

Posted by: grpthink | February 11, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

4 and 1/2 days Four and One-Half days but who is counting anymore

Posted by: syoung29 | February 11, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it, other than essential services: (fire, police, military, infrastructure, defense, etc.) the rest of the government is not necessary. These people who work for the government should be ashamed of themselves because they know they are stealing from the American Taxpayer.

What really gets me is government workers who drives a foreign car, uses citgo gas and shops at Walmart. I guess these people would be described as obama voters. Useless, worthless people.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | February 11, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Though not surprised, I am amazed at the frustration and cynicism I’ve read this morning about the closing. They say a lot about our society. The presumption seems to be that the time off is something federal employees want. I’m not sure that is the case. For those of you who want to see federal employees fired for being off (pdqlmnop being one), please tell me that you are not serious, and that you are just angry at something or somebody else. Please don't confuse tempoary disruption with permanent paralysis. Hate the message, not the messenger. You can write the president and the congress, perhaps they can rememdy your displeasure.

Posted by: mikeinova | February 11, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Tell you what, all you armchair meteorologists out there in the "occupied provinces" who continually claim the federal government does no work and is better off being closed permanently... why don't you either petition your state governments to secede, or form a colony in Antarctica where there's plenty of wide open space for you snow lovers? And once you do and find out that the fed actually DOES help you out quite a bit every day, don't bother asking for aid from the US. You won't have to. We'll be there for you anyway, just like we are now, because unlike you we actually care about EVERYONE in this country and not just ourselves. We also understand that no matter how selfish and ridiculous your ranting gets you are still human beings and deserve assistance in times of need. I somehow doubt you would reciprocate, but that fact won't stop us from doing our jobs. Now shut up and stop using the internet that the federal government developed. After all, you wouldn't want to look like hypocrites, would you?

Posted by: icemachine79 | February 11, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"Let's face it, other than essential services: (fire, police, military, infrastructure, defense, etc.) the rest of the government is not necessary. These people who work for the government should be ashamed of themselves because they know they are stealing from the American Taxpayer.

What really gets me is government workers who drives a foreign car, uses citgo gas and shops at Walmart. I guess these people would be described as obama voters. Useless, worthless people."

Typical teabagging retard...I guess the researchers at NIH who are trying to find cures for cancer and AIDS don't fall into your category of useful workers. Hopefully you family gets cancer/ AIDS or suffer from some terrible incurable disease. Sorry, but scum like you deserve such things to happen to them.

Did you clock back into your local Walmart time sheet yet? Tool.


Posted by: sbhaskar002 | February 11, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Joethefarmer:

You seem to really despise federal workers. By the way, how are all those USDA programs and benefits working out for you?

Posted by: oycrikey | February 11, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Joethefarmer:

You seem to really despise federal workers. By the way, how are all those USDA programs and benefits working out for you?"

He probably works in Walmart and posts anti fed comments on his breaks and attends teabagging events on weekends.

Posted by: sbhaskar002 | February 11, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Can we ship our 26 inches of snow to DC so we can KEEP the fedgov shut down? :)

Posted by: tenorlove | February 11, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

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