My first day back was … interesting. It took up to an hour for people to log in to their computers. After about 90 minutes of clearing through my backlog of emails and making some replies, I noticed that I had 4 emails in my outbox, meaning that for some reason, the system was unable to send them. After leaving a message with IT services and getting a call an hour later, I spent about 45 minutes with my IT specialist and gave up when I had a meeting. Interestingly enough, when I returned, everything was working again. The IT person had made some tweaks. Apparently, some certificate had expired during my 35-day furlough. Meanwhile, I had some other certifications that had expired and I had to get them restored. Finally, there were notices posted EVERYWHERE telling us NOT to sign into our time and attendance system. Our Agency is doing them centrally so that everyone can get their two missing paychecks on Thursday.
On the other hand, we were treated like returning victorious warriors. We were feted with donuts, home made muffins, coffee… and then pizza for lunch. Our Agency Administrator stood by the elevator banks, greeting everyone personally as we entered. He later walked through the building chatting with all the staff. It was something.
I also actually got some actual work done. It felt good to be back.
On a lighter note, the Capitol Weather Gang of the Washington Post has been providing updates for the winter storm we’ve been been experiencing in the DC area. I am going to quote this section from the comments on the article.
msfenriss: Any idea when the OPM will make their decision about tomorrow?
Svalsbard: I’ve been wondering…what happens if the government is closed…when the government is closed? Like…if you are excepted I thought you couldn’t go in a leave status without being on furlough.
Rex Block: It’s double closed.
ArlTeacherSnowman: Rex: Is that like super secret double probation?
Sneakyfeets: I think it’s more along the line of “double-dog dare ya.”
Bob S.52 minutes ago (Edited)From the OPM director’s blog on Dec. 16th, 2015: “We work from information we know could change, but we are committed to making a call no later than 4 a.m., in time for commuters to plan their day. If we are confident in a forecast, we will make the decision sooner – if possible, the night before.”
Bob S: Actually, at the moment OPM has kinda thrown in the towel, and decided it’s every agency for itself! 🙂
“Washington, DC Area Applies to: All Federal Government, until further notice STATUS: DUE TO A LAPSE IN APPROPRIATIONS, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS VARY BY AGENCY. Employees should refer to their home agency for guidance on reporting for duty.”
I understand that OPM is affected by the lapse in appropriations. It will be interesting to see whether certain OPM staff are considered “excepted” (i.e. essential) and told to report to work today to provide guidance.
Addendum. I received the following communication from the Office of Personnel Management:
FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED. Emergency employees and telework employees continue to work.
This announcement does not apply to furloughed employees impacted by the lapse in appropriations, as they are already in a non-work status.
Excepted employees (e.g., those excepted from the furlough to protect life or property or those who must support them or other non-furloughed employees “by necessary implication”) will follow the operating status announcement, except any time in a non-work status will be considered to be furlough time.
Employees who are Funded or Exempt from Furlough
Non-emergency employees generally will be granted weather and safety leave for the number of hours they were scheduled to work. However, weather and safety leave will not be granted to employees who are:
emergency employees who are required to report for duty;
telework program participants (with certain narrow exceptions);
on official travel outside of the duty station;
on preapproved leave (paid or unpaid) or other paid time off (applicable to Funded or Exempt employees only); or
on an Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) day off or other non-workday.
Except as noted in the discussion above: Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.
Telework Employees (i.e., employees who are participating in a telework program, including those who perform telework regularly and those who telework on an ad hoc basis) generally may not receive weather and safety leave. They must account for the entire workday by teleworking, taking unscheduled leave (paid or unpaid) or other paid time off, or a combination, in accordance with law, regulations, agency policies and procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).
Leave. In general, an employee on preapproved leave (paid or unpaid) or other paid time off should continue to be charged leave or other paid time off and should not receive weather and safety leave.