I want to address "Michael" above re: the 1996 storm. The govt DID NOT close for FIVE days. They colsed for three and then told us to come in on Thursday with liberal or unscheduled leave (whichever term they used back then). That was the SAME SITUATION AS THIS PAST FRIDAY. I think that was the ONLY DAY Berry made a mistake because he actually addressed that day on WTOP last Tuseday stating that the decision to come in that day was wrong. Therefore, I cannot understand why he made the same wrong decision 3 days after talking about the 1996 storm. Of course in 1996, when we got back to work on that Thursday, the NWS issued a Winter Storm Warning for that night and we got 8 " and were shut down that Friday.
In Frederick County, if you were caught on roads in the county before noon on Friday (even if commuting to your fed job), you were issued a $500 ticket because the county CLOSED the roads. Noon is later than the 2 hour delay called for by OPM.
Side note: OPM web site is INCONSISTENT in stating what is inclusive of the DC area.
Teleworking would have been the better option for many government employees, in my opinion. Unfortunately though, government-issued laptops are still treated as a "status" device in my agency, which means that the people who would actually use them to get work done are not the people they are issued to. Yes, I'm bitter. I have a deadline and I could have been working productively all week, but my boss, who will likely hold me to my deadline and who was glad to have the week "off," is the one who had the equipment and I did not.
There was one major snowstorm in 1996 and OPM closed the gov't for a full five days. Now that we had two major storms in one week, with one being the biggest in history, John Berry only closed it for a meager 4 and one half days. The first half day didn't really count much because there was enough snow to begin with. Then there's the derail. I think John Berry did a bad job handling the crisis. The OPM director in 1996 was more sympathic to the federal employees than the current one by placing safety first.
I think it was the correct decision. It was time to get back to work. I think that the government should have made it clear that we would be off but working. During the swine flu crisis, there were several agencies testing working at home during a major outbreak. It worked with some problems. The point is that we knew this storm as coming. Last week there should have been a decision or some procedure in place so that the employees could have been working from home.
I worked for 12 hours during my 4 days off and that is only because I ran out of work. I was out of town on a case the Friday when the offices closed at noon.
We need to do better. Maybe by next winter the Gov will come up with a plan when there is hazardous conditions just like there was a plan for the swine flu. I will gladly volunteer to help...I have ideas.
This city was not ready for hundreds of thousands of people to come back to work today. The streets are a mess, Metro service is spotty, surface parking lots are half full of snow. It's crazy. One more day plus the President's Day holiday would have been plenty of time to get the city ready for everyone to come back.
I have yet to see a comment on what was plain for all to see. Commuters stuck in 2 hour long paths in Virginia that were COMPLETELY CLEAR of ice and snow. Yes it was CLEAR and dry as can be all the way to the bridges...The reason for the 2 hours commute from hell? "The bottleneck in DC." And that says it all.
If Virginia can plow and clear its major thoroughfares from side to side, hello DC...Montgomery County...P-G County...
Possibly the decision was based on METRO's promise that ALL stations would be open at 5:00 AM Friday morning - when I got to my station at 5:15 AM, I heard on WTOP that this was not the case. So I returned home and teleworked today - glad I did.
I lived in the D.C. during the last major snowstorm and also during the Florida airline crash. The decision at those times were done way too late. This decision to open on Friday, in my opinion, is correct as it did not snow for one entire day and systems were able to function to a modified extent. You adapt to the modified schedule. The derailment could have happened on a good commute day so don't relate the derailment to the snow decision. This does not compute to those of us who live outside the beltway area.
John Berry has been RIGHT on this entire season UNTIL LAST NIGHT. Early bulletins in the fall about a bad winter coming and how decisions would be made. First off, I want everyone to know that I did not miss a beat this week working at home. The decisions this season have been the best ever made in my 30 years of Federal service (until last night). Last Thursday--"UNSCHEDULED LEAVE FOR TOMORROW"--BRILLIANT!!!! Eary dismissal last Friday announced AHEAD OF TIME. Every previous dismissal I've experienced in my 30 years have been TOO LATE--SNOW COMING DOWN--COMMUTES OF 12 HOURS OR MORE TO GET HOME!!
WAKE UP GOVT!!!!! WORKING AT HOME IS THE ANSWER!!! Managers afraid of losing productivity--there is WAY TOO MUCH LOST right under their noses in the office!!!!! MANAGE PROPERLY AND HOLD SUBORDINATES ACCOUNTABLE!! If you WORK at work, you'll WORK AT HOME!! If you don't work at work well EVERYONE KNOWS THIS SITUATION!!!!!!!!
Just this past Tuesday when John Berry talked with WTOP for an hour on this issue he stated that in 1996 the decision to come back was too early and the conditions were the very same as today!! I would DARE say John Berry was FORCED to open today somehow--I would guess from the WHITE HOUSE!!
FINALLY, AS USUAL, THE WORST STREETS IN THE ENTIRE METRO AREA ARE IN DC--NO CHANGE IN THE PAST 30 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!
Look at the derail, OPM! You based your decision on cost saving first public safety last!