Eye Opener: Snow days cost $71M each
Happy Big F-@#!-ing Wednesday! Last month's snow days that kept the federal government closed for almost a week cost taxpayers much less than initially feared.
The government lost $71,074,495 worth of productivity for each snow day, according to updated estimates released Tuesday by the Office of Personnel Management. The figure dropped from an estimated $100 million because roughly 30 percent of federal workers in the Washington area teleworked during the storm, OPM Director John Berry told members of a House subcommittee.
OPM bean counters recalculated the losses by reviewing each agency's remote network usage during the storm, analyzed savings from the employees who teleworked and emergency personnel that were on duty and then assumed that part-time employees were scheduled to work 80 percent of the time during the closings.
"We believe that this is a conservative estimate and that the actual amount of employees working during this period may have been higher," Berry said.
As colleagues Jonathan Mummolo and Ann Marimow write today, Berry said he is trying to increase the number of federal workers eligible to telework by 50 percent from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2011.
"I believe we can move telework forward to the point where snow emergencies are a relatively small disruption, and instead of 'closure' we simply have a 'mobile work day,'" Berry said.
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• Question of the Week: There's been a lot of talk -- and action -- lately regarding health insurance reform for the nation. If you're a federal worker, are you satisfied with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program? What changes, if any, would you propose? E-mail your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name, home town and the agency for which you work. Your answers might be used in Friday's Washington Post.
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• Fed cracks down on gift card abuses: It issued new rules on Tuesday to protect Americans from getting stung by unexpected fees or restrictions on gift cards.
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• Justice Dept. accuses Daimler of paying bribes: prosecutors said Daimler made improper payments between 1998 and January 2008 to officials in countries including China, Egypt, Greece, Nigeria, Russia, Montenegro, Turkey, Thailand and Vietnam.
• NASA to devise new spending plan to placate Congress: Members of the appropriations subcommittee have told the agency in recent weeks that they won't support the White House's proposed budget.
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