OPM: Federal agencies open Thursday

Wednesday - 8/24/2011, 8:49pm EDT

By Julia Ziegler
Federal News Radio

Federal agencies in the Washington, D.C. area will be open Thursday, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

"Employees are expected to report to their worksite or begin telework on time," per the agency's website.

However, OPM also advised all employees to check with their individuals agencies and supervisors for the "most up-to-date information on the status of individual workplaces."

Some federal buildings, including the National Building Museum, Interior Department, and the National Archives facility in Suitland, Md., had been closed Wednesday following the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the area Tuesday afternoon.

Of the federal buildings that Federal News Radio confirmed were closed yesterday, all but one now report on their agency websites they will be open Thursday, including the Federal Aviation Administration's headquarters buildings 10A and 10B.

However, the National Archives Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Md., will remain closed Thursday, according to the Archives website.

In an interview with Federal News Radio, Angela Bailey, OPM's associate director for employee services, discussed the issue of timing in posting the closures.

"We did have conversations with GSA and with ourselves on it's not really necessarily in OPM's swim lane to do building closures," Bailey said. "That's not what we do for a living…but we just felt that in this particular situation it was really important for us to stand up and take a leadership role in this particular case. We clearly understood that it was a fluid situation. We clearly understood that we were probably going to get a few buildings wrong in the process, but we thought it was in everyone's best interest to take a leadership role and step up and do the best that we could to help and provide the list as we knew at that point in time."

The information on OPM's website came directly from GSA, Bailey said, and she added that OPM went through the list of closures one-by-one before posting to the site.

"We started double-checking, we started triple-checking," she said. So anything that was coming in from GSA, we were following it up with phone calls to the chief human capital officers to say, 'Is this your confirmation? Do you have the same information?' So we could reconcile everything that was going on."

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