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What should OPM do about Thursday?

By Ed O'Keefe

Near white-out conditions at the U.S. Capitol as employees try to clear snow from stairs and walkways. (Linda Davidson/Post)

We've only got a few hours left before the Office of Personnel Managment is likely to decide what to do about Thursday's operating status. The decision will likely ripple across the region's academic institutions and the private sector, so basically it'll impact everybody.

The Capital Weather Gang
already predicts federal offices will be closed on Thursday -- and The Federal Eye agrees.

What do you think? Vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 10, 2010; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Next: Federal government shutdown extends to Thursday


Hey Ed! It won't help me any but STAY CLOSED!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 10, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

How in god's name would someone think that the Feds or Schools will be open tomorrow?

Will Metro even remotely be open tomorrow?

The better question is Friday because the chances of being open tomorrow are 0%

Posted by: Bious | February 10, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

You forgot to tell us that staying closed will cost $500 million!

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

You also forgot to say how much it would cost to even try and open for business! It would be ridiculous and with broken plows, poor or non-existent metro service it wouldn't even be realistic. It's probably cheaper to stay closed.

Posted by: mia_101mail | February 10, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Any chance they would close tomorrow and then swap the federal holiday on Monday for Friday - or at least give offices the ability to do so?

Posted by: clarekelley | February 10, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading these comments the past few days as I sit at home, wishing I could telework. I keep reading about the cost of shutting down, but very few sources have discussed the fact that most of the work of the federal government is conducted outside of DC - in field offices across the country. HQ offices in DC are charged with policy and program development and policy oversight and analysis. So, that position paper that has been being worked on for the past five months will be another four days behind. Not a big deal when you consider the big picture. In addition, the leadership of the agencies are connected and are working. Teleconferences are happening and decisions are being made. Emergency employees and those dedicated to keeping us safe are working as hard as ever. We're doing just fine. DC should remain closed on Thursday - and crews should work to get the region ready for an unscheduled leave day on Friday. Then, three day weekend with President's Day on Monday!!!

Posted by: a_fed_at_home | February 10, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The answer lies with the metro...will above ground stations be open tomorrow, operating as close to normal as possible? I can't imagine the government being open yet metro operating trains every 20 minutes - metro center would overflow.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 10, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo Get There blog is already saying that it is unlikely Metro will be running trains above ground on Thursday. So that basically takes care of that. I work for a nonprofit that follows OPM's operating status...there is no way I am commuting from Old Town to Foggy Bottom tomorrow...

Posted by: frankhobbs | February 10, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

To answer an earlier comment, OPM can't swap Friday for Monday; the Monday holiday is fixed by statute -- 5 U.S.C. 6103(a). Besides, eliminating a holiday on such short notice would wreak havoc on employees' plans.

Posted by: Ejote | February 10, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Can't OPM make the Monday holiday an *optional* workday? Once the Metro's running, I'd like to get caught up on work.

Posted by: clarkjerome | February 10, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Stay closed for the rest of the week. With temperatures remaining below freezing through the weekend, Metro only operating below ground and buses ground to a halt, that seals the deal. We'll probably need close to a week just to dig out of the snow we've gotten, and that's assuming the gale-force winds let up. Trying to open the Federal government anytime before Tuesday would be reckless and dangerous.

Posted by: linguist64 | February 10, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Between almost all of the major school systems closing for the week, which means parents must find babysitters, metro only running underground, buses not running at all, and developments unlikely to be plowed till the weekend, at the earliest, it makes zero sense to try to open on Friday, let alone Thursday. The OPM should just call it a week at 7pm today.

Posted by: quentoncassidy | February 10, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm a federal employee and here are my options. I telework, take leave, or the govt closes for a 4th day. For all of you people who say get back to work, let me explain to you the complications. Even if I wanted to report, Metro is not running above ground, so no go there. I'm not driving b/c it's way too hazardous. And telework? Have been, but if the server connection for my govt agency is having issues, what am I to do? Feel bad b/c people think I'm a lazy bum? Don't think so. It's a blizzard. Extreme circumstances. Deal with it! And for you people from Alaska or wherever else that has volumes of snow, you need to understand that it is cost-INeffective to dedicate funds to snow plows, etc if this is not the environment in which the county/city occupies. This blizzard is an anomaly, so of course we are struggling. But to blame the fed govt for an act of nature, get real and get a life!

Posted by: emvs01 | February 10, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Forget the daily poll about whether the Feds are closing, we need a poll about moving the entire government to Florida. I vote YES. With enthusiasm.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 10, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

What emvs01 said. I'm a federal employee but can't telework because I've been at my agency less than a year (my agency's rules, not sure if that is government wide). I brought some things home to read for Monday but never dreamed we'd be off for three or possibly four days. I will probably come in on President's day because I'm now behind on a project. I may not officially get credit for it, but that's ok with me. Most feds I know are now wanting to go back to work to get back on track.

Posted by: kateg1 | February 10, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Florida is full.

Move it to Nebraska.

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping to stay home as long as possible. I hate my job but I have no choice given the economy and my commitment. This is the best vacation ever. snow on.

Posted by: Canton55 | February 10, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

We need to work. I am not Fed but follow Fed. Get the Metro running. Whatever it takes.

Posted by: mmad2 | February 10, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Florida is full.

Move it to Nebraska.

Posted by: member8 | February 10, 2010 4:51 PM

I'm originally from Nebraska, and the state knows how to deal with snow better than DC simply based on experience. But Nebraska in an entire winter only gets 20-40 inches of snow. This mess would even cause Nebraskans issues.

If Florida's full, I'm sure there are places in Texas that we could move the federal government in to.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | February 10, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I live in Upper NW DC. The roads are covered in snow. Metro isn't running. If this is what the roads are like in DC, I can only imagine what they must be like the suburbs.

Posted by: jiacinto | February 10, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

And also that many government workers live out in the outer exurbs in places like southern MD, the eastern shore, Baltimore suburbs, Loudoun County, Prince William County, and other areas where there is little to no public transportation, I can't see how the government opens.

Posted by: jiacinto | February 10, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

There is already a lot of pressure on Metro physical plant and staff from the effort it will take to bring both the bus and train systems up to full operating capacity. Metro doesn't need, and can't yet handle, a bunch of us Fed workers trying to come in - even if a lot of us take the liberal leave OPM will have to offer, with all schools closed.

Posted by: --sg | February 10, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how they can open with roads, rails, planes still having issues. This area isn't geared up like say Buffalo, NY to handle large snows. I say stay closed all week and open again Tuesday (as Monday is a holiday).

Posted by: rusty6 | February 10, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Um, yeah, I'll just take the chopper in tomorrow morning. Here in Rockville, we haven't seen a plow since Sunday. Two feet drifted snow on the streets.

Posted by: martintomsal | February 10, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, I just got back in from a walk around Reston, Virginia, about 20 miles northwest of the District of Columbia, and, ironically the roads RIGHT NOW look better than they have at any other time since Friday evening. People were getting stuck everywhere as recently as last night BEFORE this latest storm hit (contrary to the bellyachers who thought we should have been at work yesterday because the roads were "fine"). I saw pavement all over the place just now, even though there was also a TON of wet slush---about six inches thick---that will probably start to refreeze later now that the sun has set.

My opinion? I truly do wish we could have work tomorrow, but I see no way they can justify NOT closing when the snow is just winding down in Maryland as I speak. With some people leaving for work at 4:30 AM can they really have above-ground Metrorail stations and buses running and all roads passable by then? I think not. Tomorrow will be closed. Friday will be unscheduled leave.

Posted by: Restonian23 | February 10, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

What are you talking about? Of course the government will be shut down tomorrow. Have you looked outside? These stupid (and unscientific) polls you are conducting this week do not reflect well on you or the Washington Post.

Posted by: bgoodman32 | February 10, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Ed, how do I put it, your posting is a complete joke...

1) Have you been outside? Not only are non-major streets piled high with over a FOOT of snow and ice (not sidewalks, streets) but major streets like Dupont circle are ridiculous.

2) I know you are getting tired of hearing this, however, I must repeat it. That $100 million reference is getting old. Not only is that number outdated but it is not practical. Why are you referencing a number that is so old and is not based on actual data?

3) How much money do you think it costs the American Tax payers when all these private businesses deceide to stay open and create havoc on the roadways only to be in the office for a half a day due to delays. I am not talking about them being unproductive, I am talking about the amount of additional costs created from all the accidents created?

4) We all would love to be able to telecommute, believe me I miss the days when I could work from home. However, this is a winter for the ages, when will it happen again? My question here is this, how much would it cost the American tax payers so that all federal employees could telecommute? Basically making every current workstation into a portable workstation? Are we talking in the BILLIONS?

In conclusion, you are a reporter, it would be awesome for you to do some actual investigative reporting vs. throwing out your opinion. If I wanted to read opinions and not real news I would just jump over to FoxNews.

Why don't you take a page out of your friends over at the "Capital Weather Gang" should definetely take notes on how real reporters act. They not only offer their "opinions" on the upcoming weather, but THEY DO THEIR HOMEWORK, they study the facts they do research. It would be easy for them to just watch the local news and copy/paste what the reporters are saying. However it is quite clear they do not do that....

Posted by: SkinsForever22044 | February 10, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

stay closed.. funny the estimate of $110 million in lost wages due to employees not available to work.. since when did federal workers do any work tssk tssk.... no difference whether we keep the gov open or closed we are going to lose the same. I think we save more when the fed is closed, since the 'hard working' federal worker does not need to waste energy (gas $$) to get to work..

Posted by: joethefarmer | February 10, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

so any word whether OPM will close tomorrow. I think the roads and commute will be horrible, so probably a good decision to close tomorrow.

Posted by: jason79 | February 10, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

With all three MARC trains cancelled for Thursday (VRE hasn't updated their site yet); Metro most likely running limited service; and many roads still unplowed, it seems very unlikely that the Gov't would or even could open. Only those who live within walking distance of their office or a below ground Metro station would likely attempt to go to work.

Posted by: sudorf | February 10, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: a_fed_at_home | February 10, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

To joethefarmer: Put aside that every Federal worker I know works their butt off. How much of your income is in Federal farm subsidies or similar assistance? Stay on the farm.

Posted by: stanimano | February 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse says Federal Government is closed on Thursday!

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

Keep it closed and pave it over. The bureaurats are just a giant circle of teabagging after all. What a waste of life.

Posted by: member8 | February 11, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse




ohjesusplease ohpleasemary ohpleasegod pleaseplease

Posted by: lquarton | February 11, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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