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

Thursday - 2/11/2010, 10:42am EST

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.