Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Government Snow Day

If anyone needs to check the status of the government in the Washington, DC area and whether or not it is open due to snow or other inclement weather, check here.

And now for my rant...

So instead of just closing the government, they gave us a two hour delay and liberal leave, allowing people to use vacation time to not come into work today even if they weren't scheduled to do so. This was a pretty dumb move, in my opinion.

First, I'm on a flexible schedule. I can leave and come as I please, as long as I get my work done and spend 8 hours at work each day. But the work doesn't disappear by telling me I can only work six hours today, and it barely effects how late I'm allowed to come in to work anyway.

Second, the government is basically shut down. No one was here when I arrived, and I've maybe seen five people all day, and my building alone employs thousands of workers. The contractors I oversea haven't returned any phone calls, so I assume the rest of the city is shut down as well. So if its shut down, why not just call it shut down? Why force some small percentage of your workforce to come in anyway?

Finally, most government workers have massive amounts of sick time stored up. You can use sick time whenever you want. So liberal leave is pretty meaningless. But most schools are closed and roads are a deathtrap, so you're basically just penalizing 90% of the Federal workforce 8 hours of vacation time for no particular reason. And those of us who work on deadline usually just put in extra hours without getting comp time anyway, so its not as if they would be holding up essential activities if they gave us the day off. I would have just worked at home, where the food is better and my computer is faster.

Having said that, I've often wondered what would happen if we had a nor'easter that shut down non-essential functions of the Federal government for a few months. Social Security checks would still go out. The military and post office serve no matter what. But would anyone notice if Congress stopped passing laws?

On a tangentially related subject, I've decided that DC should stop pressing for the right to vote in Congress. Instead, they should press to be exempt from Federal income taxes like other U.S. territories. I think that given the choice between taxation and representation, most Washingtonians would take the cash.


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