DOT pushes D.C. telework
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Oct 29, 2000
The Transportation Department set an ambitious teleworking goal last week
for agencies in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater asked cabinet secretaries and
agency heads to have 20 percent of their eligible employees in the area
teleworking by 2005. This replaces the current 3 percent goal.
If realized, the new goal will mean that about 70,000 federal workers
will be working from home or a telework center on any given day.
Meanwhile, the fiscal 2001 DOT appropriations bill signed last week
by President Clinton requires telecommuting programs in federal agencies.
Over the next four years, agencies must permit all eligible federal employees
Albert Eisenberg, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy
at DOT, said the department will use its position as the principal owner
of the telework issue to promote the practice. "We have the power of the
bully pulpit," he said.
Teleworking has not taken off in the government as it has in the private
sector, primarily because it represents a dramatic culture change. But it
is necessary if government is to compete for skilled workers, according
to David Bibb, associate administrator for real property policy at the General
"It's not just nice to have," Bibb said. "The federal government has
downsized; it's aged. We have no chance to compete for the best and brightest"
if agencies don't offer teleworking, he said.
Slater's letter supports the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
(COG) campaign to have 20 percent of all eligible employees in the Washington,
D.C., area telecommuting by 2005.
"There's no other region in the country that has set goals like that,"
said Gerald Connolly, a Fairfax County, Va., supervisor and chairman of