Did feds’ early dismissal contribute to gridlock?

Mike Causey, senior correspondent, Federal News Radio

wfedstaff | June 3, 2015 8:20 pm

Wednesday night’s heavy snow fall in the D.C. region created the perfect storm for gridlock — or “a huge melting pile of ridiculousness,” said Adam Tuss, sprawl and crawl reporter for sister station WTOP.

Tuss said a number of factors coming together contributed to what was for many an hours-long commute home — the snow coming just as feds were leaving work two hours early and the snow falling “so fast that it really froze you in place when you tried to go anywhere,” Tuss said in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

He added that staggering the time that everyone leaves would help mitigate the traffic congestion.

The Office of Personnel Management’s announcement to allow federal workers to leave two hours before they normally leave work came earlier on Wednesday when the snow had not started falling.


“All day long I was holding my breath because when you make a decision like that and there’s not snow on the ground and no flakes falling, you run the risk of somebody saying, ‘Boy, are you over-reacting!'” said John Berry, director of OPM, in an interview with Federal News Radio.

The snow call — whether to delay or cancel work due to weather — is probably the toughest decision as OPM director, said Mike Causey, senior correspondent of Federal News Radio.

Some feds perhaps did not leave as soon as they should have because they were “hedging their bets,” waiting to leave work because the snow had not started falling, Causey said.

If everyone left when they could have, “Things could have been better.” he said.

In his interview with Federal News Radio, Berry said that most federal workers these days don’t work 9-to-5.

“If that was the case, it was over 20 years ago. Now feds come in – some come in as early as 5 o’clock in the morning,” often to accommodate long distance commutes, “and they start leaving from 1 o’clock on.”

The silver lining of the ordeal is to strengthen the case for telework, Berry said.

However, Wednesday’s storm also left thousands without power.

Take the poll! How long did it take you to get home? Did OPM make the right call? And, are you more likely to telework now?