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DorobekINSIDER poll: What should the federal government’s operating status in DC be for Tuesday?

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Many people in the Washington metro area are dreading the thought of being on the roads Tuesday, particularly after the nightmare that was DC traffic on Friday. And on Friday, OPM Director John Berry defended the decision to open government at the end of the week.

It is snowing once again here in Washington — yes, again. And while forecasters are saying that this storm is really tiny compared to what the nation’s capital went through last week, the roads still aren’t back to normal yet.

As we have done over the past week (herehere…) — we are asking you what you would do if you were OPM Director John Berry:

Written by cdorobek

February 15, 2010 at 4:19 PM

DorobekINSIDER poll: Did OPM make the right decision to open DC offices on Friday?

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For those outside the Beltway, sorry for yet another snow post, but… it has been a long week. And already tough DC traffic got much worse this morning.

DC's snowy roads

(WTOP Photo/Kristi King)

And, as we’ve said all week, the decision to close the government is a thankless job — and as we said yesterday, the decision about whether to open today (Friday) was the toughest one. OPM Director John Berry told us on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris that he makes the close/no close decision purely on the facts. Yet it seems almost inconceivable that there wasn’t some pressure — spoken or unspoken — to get people back to work. No doubt that is why OPM felt it was necessary to put out a statement last night defending this week’s decisions to close government for most of the week.
From listening to traffic reports on WTOP radio‘s traffic coverage (more here), Twitter reports, anecdotal accounts from people I know, and traffic cameras, it is a mess out there. One person said her 20-minute commute took 95 minutes.

So how was your commute? Share your stories here… or Tweet them to me @cdorobek or on Facebook.

And while hindsight is always 20/20, we’re going to ask the question: Did OPM make the right decision to open the government on a 2-hour delay today?

(WTOP Photo/Kristi King)

Written by cdorobek

February 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM

DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for FRIDAY?

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Washington, DC is pretty much paralyzed again today — again, after being pummeled by snow storm after snow storm. (At least we hit the record — if we’re going to go through this torture, we might as well get the bragging rights of saying that we survived snowpocalypse 2010.)

NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.

The federal government is closed for the fourth day running — and that comes after DC feds closed early last Friday in anticipation of the last storm. Wednesday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management and the guy who has to make the call as to whether the federal government is open or not — on his 51st birthday, no less. And we got to talk to him about making that decision.

Several interesting points from Berry. He tells Federal News Radio that OPM is going to reexamine the often mentioned figure of $100 million per day cost of the federal government closing. He notes that figure is 20-years-old — and doesn’t take into account all the people who are working nor people who telework.

But we’re also looking into telework questions such as whether agency policies don’t fully take telework into account.

Regardless, the decision to close the federal government today seemed relatively easy, particularly when DC’s MetroRail announced that above-ground stations would be closed. But — the decision about Friday seems more difficult as there is increasing pressure to open. That being said, everybody is cognisant of 1996 when the federal government opened before the system was able to handle it.

So the question today — if you were OPM Director John Berry, what decision would you make about the federal government in DC’s operating status?

What say you?

The most remarkable thing about this story is how people really are getting some work done. People are so much more mobile these days — and while they can’t do everything, work is getting done.

As one person posted on my Facebook page:

Instead of emphasizing that the federal govt is closed for the 4th straight day someone in the fed govt should get out the message that while Headquarters offices are in DC, there are regional offices of every branch in every agency that are up and running and keeping the govt working. This happens when other areas around the country when there are hurricanes, tornadoes or whatever emergency happens. Those govt officials are every bit as competent as those that are in DC.

Point taken.

Written by cdorobek

February 11, 2010 at 10:42 AM

DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for Thursday?

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Washington, DC is pretty much paralyzed today — again, after being pummeled by snow storm after snow storm.

Luckily, I live near Federal News Radio 1500 AM — so I’m able to talk to work. That being said, even that relatively short 1.2-mile trek was torturous this morning. (Assuming I have kids, it will be one of the stories that I tell my kids.)

The federal government is closed for the third day running today — and DC feds closed early on Friday in anticipation of the storm this weekend. Federal News Radio’s senior correspondent Mike Causey told us that is really unprecedented.

Earlier this week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management and the guy who has to make the call as to whether the federal government is open or not. And we asked him about that decision. It always strikes me that it is one of the toughest decisions because it is so easily second guessed. As Berry told us, there is a real cost to closing the federal government in DC. But there can also be extreme costs to keeping it open.

The difference these days is that so many people can — and are — mobile workers in one way or another. As one person tweeted, there really aren’t any snow days because most people can — and are — connected in one way or another. It is an important difference. Not everything can be done — but work is being done.

So the question now — what will the federal government do for Thursday?

What say you?

Written by cdorobek

February 10, 2010 at 1:20 PM

DorobekInsider: Federal News Radio Countdown for January 29, 2010: What are the top government stories for the week?

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Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose each Friday features the Federal News Radio Countdown where Francis Rose counts down the top stories for the week from a panel of experts. And we ask you too — What are the top gov stories for the week for January 29, 2010?

The panel of experts this week include:
* John Salamone, Senior Consultant for Federal Management Partners and former Executive Director of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council at the Office of Personnel Management
* Julie Myers Wood, President of ICS Consulting and former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
* Amy Morris, Co-anchor of Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

What do you think?

Written by cdorobek

January 29, 2010 at 2:38 PM

DorobekInsider poll: Grade President Obama’s first year — from a insider’s perspective

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Today, of course, marks the anniversary of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States — and there are all sorts of assessments of his first year going on right now. (Some of the assessments have been muted because of the coverage of the Haiti earthquake and, of course, the Massachusetts Senate race.)

But what is your assessment of the Obama administration’s first year — the government community? The insiders who have seen presidents come and go…

So it’s time to grade.

How has President Obama done overall?

How has President Obama done on technology issues and open government?

How has President Obama done on management, government performance and procurement issues?

Written by cdorobek

January 20, 2010 at 2:59 PM

DorobekInsider: What are the top government stories of the week?

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Each Friday, Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Francis Rose is asking the question: What are the top stories of the week? And at 2p ET on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose, he culls three experts to offer their thoughts.

Here are the stories that his guests suggested this week — vote for yourself or suggest your own.

Written by cdorobek

January 15, 2010 at 12:29 PM