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Federal Government Closed on Monday

Federal Government Closed on Monday

Courtesy The Washington Post

Ed O'Keefe | The Washington Post via YellowBrix

December 21, 2009

Federal government offices in the Washington region will be closed on Monday. Nonessential government workers will be granted excused absences.

Emergency employees are expected to report for work on time, and some employees who telework may be expected to work from their telework sites, as specified in their individual agreements.

The Office of Personnel Management made the announcement Sunday afternoon, well ahead of Monday morning commutes.

“I think it was obvious for the safety reasons that we made the decision early,” OPM spokeswoman Sedelta Verble said.

The early decision is consistent with promises made this month by OPM Director John Berry, who decides when to close District-area federal offices. Berry said previous administrations have waited too long to make a decision to close, often after many federal workers have already left for work.

The government loses roughly $100 million in productivity and opportunity costs each time it closes D.C.-area offices, Berry said at a briefing for reporters earlier this month.

“It’s not an insignificant number. We do not make this decision lightly," Berry said.

Though Berry decides when to close District-area federal offices, federal executive boards make the decision in other parts of the country.

Washington-area federal offices have not closed for weather since the 2003 blizzard. The government this year has twice operated on an unscheduled leave or “liberal leave” in late January and early March.

This is already scheduled to be a shorter workweek for federal employees, because of Friday’s Christmas holiday and an early dismissal scheduled for Thursday.

Monday’s closing will have no impact on President Obama’s meeting with the Department of Veterans Affairs employee who won the government-wide competition that solicited cost-savings ideas from rank and file federal workers. Nancy Fichtner will meet with Obama, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on Monday morning in the Oval Office, the White House said.

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