March 2, 2009

This morning…

Posted in The Angry, The WTF at 11:48 am by Dagny Taggart

I woke up to check the operating status of our area’s biggest employer.  Two hour delay/unscheduled leave?

Seriously.  This is absurd.

Mr. President:

I know you are from Chicago, and that Chicago is a place where people can handle snow.  I am ALL FOR the District and surrounding areas adopting policies that would make this lovely area more responsive to frozen precipitation.

But we aren’t, not by a long shot.  Chicago budgets for salt and sand and snowmelting truck/plow combinations, as does New York, as does Boston.  DC does not, likely due in no small part to the fact that its budget is set by Congress.

All that aside, I understand your frustration with the notion that the government doesn’t get anything done when it snows more than an inch.  Heck, even an inch can severely impact the region.  Why?

Because as I was driving home last night, it was snowing.  It was snowing hard.  And yet, not a single preventive molecule of salt or sand had hit the Dulles Toll Road, a major commuting route.  The main streets of Arlington had received a similar lack of treatment.

Residents in the outer suburbs are faced with even more difficult situations – for those who aren’t within easy walking distance to a bus stop, the lack of plowed local streets means that they simply cannot get to work.  As managers enact more flexible telework policies, some of them may be able to salvage some productivity.  For those positions where telework is not a possibility (not uncommon in this area), they are simply out of luck.

So the next time your administration decides to take a hard line on attendance during what is, after all, an unusually significant snowfall for this area (which was preceded by a lovely hour of freezing rain in some parts), perhaps you’ll think about whether telling workers that their safety is of less importance than their presence at the office is really the message you want your Office of Personnel Management to send.

And then maybe you’ll find a way to persuade those responsible for the budget of the District, and the surrounding areas, that proper preparation for wintertime weather is the kind of change we need, in order to effect the change we need.



  1. I-66 said,

    I’ll have you know, Ms. Taggart, that my two-story elevator ride to work was not affected by the inclement weather. So there.

  2. Beach Bum said,

    Amen to that. I delayed my start to a couple of hours, and even then almost fell on my walk to the metro — at well past 10am and Ballston’s sidewalks had not even been touched! Coming out in DC things were a tad better, but not totally clean yet and I slipped AGAIN.

    Today sucks.

  3. Lisa said,

    My office closed today, and I was so thankful. We are weather wimps, and the DC area turns into a grand disaster in the snow.

  4. Kevin said,

    I think we should also remember this: The president works from home. Seriously, all he’s got to do is take an elevator down from the Residence, walk along the Colonnade and BOOM, he’s at his office. I’m pretty sure all the snow was cleared from his sidewalk before he made this difficule commute.

  5. I-66: What was that about you not getting federal holidays off, again?

    Beach Bum: Ugh – what an awful commute! Hope you’re not too badly injured…

    Lisa: Well, I’m glad to hear you got the day off. It is COLD and NOT FUN outside!

    At least, it’s not fun until someone starts thinking snowballs. 🙂

    Kevin: Also a fair point, though I’m sure he walked a chilly, icy, slippery walk or two during his days as a professor at Chicago Law. My issue is more with being told that it can’t be that bad here, when it is that bad here, despite receiving about a foot less snow than they might in Chicago.

  6. vvk said,

    You know… Our office doesn’t follow the normal Gov’t closing schedule… we were business as usual this morning.

    I was amazed that my commute took less time than it normally does. The metro gods were with me today, and even though I didn’t leave early today, I got to work a few minutes earlier than I do on a normal day.

    I guess it’s just been a good couple of days for me. 🙂

  7. Brian said,

    I got to my office, after a treacherous trip through the Ballston metro (and that was just the escalator), and at around 9:30 an email went around saying, if you haven’t made it into the office, don’t bother, because it’s nasty out.

    So not only did I not get a day off, I got a kick in the shins about an hour and a half in. Awesome.

  8. vvk: Well, I’m glad to hear that you were able to get to work quickly and easily. And, of course, that you’ve been having a good couple of days otherwise. 🙂

    Brian: Wow – I’d be pretty annoyed, if I were in your position. One hopes your supervisor(s) remember your presence when review time comes around!

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