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Eye Opener: Cherry Blossom time at OPM

By Ed O'Keefe

The peak blooming period for the Cherry Blossoms will be Thursday and Friday (Post)

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! Workers at the Office of Personnel Management can take an hour break on Thursday or Friday to walk a few blocks south to see the Cherry Blossoms, according to a memo issued late last week.

OPM Director John Berry told his almost 1,500 staffers that they can take one hour, workload permitting, to walk the few blocks from agency headquarters to the Tidal Basin. (The memo was first reported by Stephen Losey of The Federal Times.)

It's all part of OPM's "Feds Get Fit" campaign, designed to promote health and wellness for all federal workers. Keeping feds healthy is a noble goal, but why can't the workers just use their lunch break to take the walk? Or why not wait out the evening commute by walking over to see the trees right after work? Agree or disagree?

The National Cherry Blossoms Festival continues through April 11.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: Have you applied for a federal job whose application period closed very shortly after it was announced? If so, tell us what happened. E-mail your answer to and please include your full name and hometown. We may use your answers in Friday's Post.

Must Click: Kudos to The Post's Laura Stanton for this fantastic interactive history of the U.S. Postal Service.

Cabinet and Staff News: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar infuriates green groups. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tells Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that she should send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor writes her first dissenting opinion. Even former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has to wait in airport security lines. A fantastic Post profile of Census Director Robert Groves.

Census day is near, carrying a weight far beyond the raw numbers: The deadline will put to test a months-long campaign by antigovernment activists who are encouraging people not to complete the questionnaires.

Bush-era facilities-upgrade rule faces repeal: The agency on Tuesday proposed rescinding a last-minute Bush administration rule change that narrowed the situations in which companies had to install state-of-the art controls when upgrading power plants and other facilities.

Militia probe included undercover agent: An undercover agent played a role in the investigation that led to Monday's indictments.

Ex-FDA scientist alleges agency discounted concerns about radiation exposure in medical scans: A former agency scientist said Tuesday his job was eliminated after he raised concerns about the risks of radiation exposure from high-grade medical scanning.

Immigration activists denounce quota memo: They call for the ouster of the head of the agency after a top department official lamented that the pace of deportations was falling behind a goal of 400,000 annually.

Government set to unveil offshore drilling plan: The plan could pave the way for a significant new domestic source of energy, helping to reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports and boost supplies of natural gas used to displace coal in power plants.

DOJ creates human rights and special prosecutions section: It's merging the Office of Special Investigations and the Domestic Security Section into the new Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, approved by President Barack Obama in December.

Defining 'inherently governmental' jobs: What kind of tasks should be performed by federal workers and which ones can be handled by contractors? In other words, what are "inherently governmental" tasks?

End of Saturday mail service is only the beginning: So says Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein.

In blueprint for Haiti, U.S. takes new approach to aid: An internal Obama administration assessment concludes that the U.S. government has provided $4 billion in aid to Haiti since 1990 but "struggled to demonstrate lasting impact.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 31, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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"...Keeping feds healthy is a noble goal, but why can't the workers just use their lunch break to take the walk? Or why not wait out the evening commute by walking over to see the trees right after work? Agree or disagree?"

I disagree! We are talking mostly about GS service support workers (or GS workers). They are NOT production workers where they are standing at a machine 8 hours producing x amount of widgets a day. Many workers have down time during the day because that is the way the govt operates. You want every govt worker to be required to be chained to their desk 8 hrs a day so you can feel like you're getting you money's worth? I thought with the Obama presidency we moved out of that 19th century thought. Just because a fed workers puts in 8hrs a day does NOT mean they are grinding or producing widgets every second of the day. C'mon Ed, get realistic! And people wonder why the feds can't move to tele-work... cause many mgrs are walking around with YOUR same attitude and ancient beliefs. Many fed workers can be very productive and help accomplish the agency mission without having to be chained to their desks 8+ hours a work day!

What is happening with you people? I remember back in the 70's and 80's... most federal workers were respected and many common folk admired the fed workers for sacrifices they make to be a public servant. You rant just rakes the coal on the fire! Thanks alot!

~ Navy Civilian Worker (30+ years)

Posted by: darbyohara | March 31, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind them taking an hour off. It probably improves morale. And it is a mob scene after work.

Posted by: chiquita2 | March 31, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Just call it a smoke break.

Posted by: jiji1 | March 31, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

REAL WORLD NEWSFLASH Navy Civilian Worker:

Out here is the real world of business and capitalism, where money and profit are the goal and responsibility of every employee, YES, WE DO WORK 8 HOURS IN A DAY.

It doesn't matter whether you make widgets or work in an office, WE HAVE TO PRODUCE out here in the real world. If you have down time on your hands your managers either aren't managing their personnel and project/workload well, or they aren't paying attention to their employees 'down time'.

30+ years of gubbmint work has left you with little sense of what we do out here in the world of capitalism where profit is the driver of personnel and procedure.

Come visit my high pressure data center job sometime and sit next to me for 8-10 (or more) hours monitoring banks of systems across the country, hoping nothing goes to hell in that final hour that causes me to be troubleshooting a system from my 8th to 9th or 10th hour of work.

What a quaint concept that is - down time.


Posted by: lquarton | March 31, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

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