Would shutdown cut the digital tether?

Furloughed workers would have to turn in government-issued equipment

If the government shuts down at midnight Friday, many furloughed employees may still have to come to work to turn in their government-issued tools -- including handhelds, laptop computers and other IT or communications equipment, reports the Wall Street Journal

However, that could be harder than it sounds, the Washington Post adds, because the government isn't exactly sure just how many BlackBerrys and other devices it owns.

According to the reports, it's certain that workers will have to turn in their electronic devices. What's still uncertain is just how agencies will enforce the rule. One possibility is to require workers to show up Monday morning long enough to drop off the hardware.

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Reader comments

Fri, Apr 8, 2011

Much "news" today is little more than uninformed opinion foisted on the unsuspecting and less informed observer. Reality is that government agencies do not exactly what non-expendable equipment they have. The efficiency with which that data can be accessed varies. The accurracy of in whose possession each non-expendable item of equipment is may not be less than optimal, and likely not efficiently accessed. We, through Congress, fund having work done but often not the tools and support it takes to perform the work efficiently or effectively. We spend billions to buy computers (making computer vendors wealthy) then refuse to budget the purchase of software to make the computers effective tools for performing the work. Data that is needed at an enterprise level often ends up stored in an file on one person's hard drive to which only they have access. Usually some person whose position does not meet the statutory definition of "essential" without whom all the "essential" personnel are deadwood.

Fri, Apr 8, 2011 Bill

The answer is simple. If you aren't being paid to report and turn in equipment, don't. In fact, it is AGAINST THE LAW (the Anti-Deficiency Act) to do ANYTHING for your federal employer once you are furloughed. Let those 'essential' employees who are being paid, come out and collect them. Or, as Don notes, just shutdown the networks they connect to until the Feds go back to work.

Fri, Apr 8, 2011

Semi misleading title that. But just on the title, the erosion of a private life due to portable electronics is very subtle and most folks do not notice how bad it is until something forces them off the air. Had a couple of neighbors who got caught in the (for lack of better words) "Blackberry Trap". I do not remember if they said what happened, but they ended up being cut off from the tether. After a few days of withdrawal (like a narcotic withdrawal they said) they realized how much that connectivity was ruining their lives and now limit their exposure.

On the body of the note - I will not get paid, yet I am supposed to get into work to give up stuff? Many of the folks with these toys appear to be in areas that take a LONG commute, not like those of us in the mid-west who live on the average 15 minutes out. I wonder how many of those people who turn in the toys will, after getting over withdrawal, refuse to take it back up?

As far as not knowing what toys are deployed, on this base they now have a list of who has what, and the next level management has to account for each billing for his subordinates (but then we are not back east among the power mongers, and I am a peon so what do I know...).

Fri, Apr 8, 2011 Don

WHY would the expense and effort be wasted collecting and indexing govt-furnished equipment...knowing that it would simply have to be re-issued in short order (as soon as the budget tantrums are over)? As a tax payer and career federal investigator, I think an answer should be provided. TGIF

Fri, Apr 8, 2011 Dave K

"However, that could be harder than it sounds, the Washington Post adds, because the government isn't exactly sure just how many BlackBerrys and other devices it owns."

Maybe a shutdown is needed then... and we can fire the heads of any organization that spends money but doesn't track it's assets afterward! Asset management is NOT a new idea.

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