Government ending telework center funding
Despite a new law allowing federal employees to work from home or other sites outside the office, about a dozen telework sites across the Washington region are losing federal funding.
The reason? Only about 300 federal workers -- less than one tenth of one percent of those working in the Washington area -- use the "telecenters" in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the General Services Administration. The agency provided about $3 million annually to help fund the sites -- or about $10,000 per user.
"Today telework has become less about where work gets done and more about how work gets done," GSA said in a statement. The wider availability of smart phones, Internet services in the home and wi-fi in public areas means the government no longer needs to rely on a federally-funded room full of computers, GSA said.
President Obama in December signed a law requiring federal agencies to appoint a telework manager and establish rules making it easier for eligible employees to work from home or other locations. Telework advocates argue the work-at-home option is an economical, environmentally-friendly option that should also ensure continuity of government operations during major weather events or other emergencies in and around Washington.
Here are the sites scheduled to either close or remain open with new sources of funding:
Bowie -- closing
Frederick -- continuing
Hagerstown -- continuing at a different location
Laurel Lake -- closing
Prince Frederick -- closing
Waldorf -- closing
Fairfax -- continuing in GMU space
Fredericksburg -- closing
Manassas - continuing on George Mason University Manassas Campus
Stafford -- continuing - run by George Mason University
Winchester -- closing
Woodbridge -- continuing - run by George Mason University
Kearneysville -- closing
Agree or disagree with the decision? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
• Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama and Jeb Bush to discuss education in Florida on Friday. First Lady Michelle Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan reads Dr. Seuss to kids. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. is losing the "global P.R. war." Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates plays down the idea of sending troops to Libya. Supreme Court considers former attorney general John Ashcroft's liability in lawsuit.
• Federal agriculture, education programs among the first to face cuts: An Agriculture Department program was supposed to bring broadband to rural areas that didn't have it. Instead, it often brought broadband to suburbs that already did.
• 2 U.S. airmen killed, 2 hurt in shooting near Frankfurt airport:
Early reports suggested that the alleged gunman, Arif Uka, 21, was a Kosovar Albanian and a devout Muslim who worked at the airport.
• Petraeus apologizes for deaths of nine Afghan boys: They were collecting firewood to heat their homes in the eastern Afghanistan mountains when mistaken as insurgents by NATO helicopter gunners.
• Navy fires destroyer commander, top aide after port troubles: The Navy said it lost confidence in the commander's to address what it called a pattern of unprofessional behavior by his crew that included fraternization, orders violations and disregard for naval standards.
• Soldier in WikiLeaks probe faces more charges: The Army says it has filed 22 additional charges against Pvt. 1st Class Bradley E. Manning, the soldier suspected of providing classified government documents published by the WikiLeaks antisecrecy group.
• Spy bloggers not 'friending' U.S. targets, Centcom says: A new social media "infiltration" software is designed to cozy up to extremist bloggers overseas, not law-abiding Americans chatting on Facebook or similar sites.
• FDA cracks down on unapproved cold and allergy drugs: About 500 products that had never been formally evaluated by federal regulators will be removed from the market.
• Fed's 'beige book' shows improvement in U.S. economy, moderate growth: The economy continued growing at a moderate speed at the beginning of 2011, with conditions improving gradually in a wide range of industries.
• White House has plan to increase sales of vacant, underused federal buildings: It hopes to recruit outside help to determine which office towers, courthouses and warehouses the government no longer needs.
• IRS announces new policies, programs to help taxpayers avoid liens: Since 1999, the IRS has increased annual lien filings by 550 percent, from 168,000 to last year's 1.1 million.
• TSA staff blew it: A passenger managed to waltz past JFK's ramped-up security gantlet with three boxcutters in his carry-on luggage -- easily boarding an international flight while carrying the weapon of choice of the 9/11 hijackers.
| March 3, 2011; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener, Workplace Issues
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