Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: Inaugural holiday?

With some 4 million people expected to come to Washington, D.C, for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, and with only 600,000 hotel rooms, that day promises to be a commuting nightmare for federal workers. So will the federal government close offices for the inauguration?  

Some commentators are even suggesting that people avoid the Metro subway system, which is likely to be overwhelmed. Walking from nearby but outlying neighborhoods to the parade route is suggested as one alternative.

Closure of federal offices could even be a test of continuity-of-operations plans. Perhaps some essential workers could be on hand by telework. Others would necessarily have to be present in person, especially if they are involved in security. Regardless, whoever comes to Washington to be at work in the office stands a good chance of being caught up in the massive crowds.  

On the other hand, if a closure of government offices occurs, should it be only in Washington or should it be nationwide as a kind of federal holiday? After all, maybe federal workers from other locales want to travel to the inauguration festivities too, or at least be able to watch it on television.  

For inaugurations in recent years, government offices have remained open for some and closed for others. Depending on the location of an agency, the view to the parade route can be pretty good. Of course, it can be even better watching it at home on television.  

The historic quality of this inauguration makes a case for a different approach, even if it sets a precedent.  Do you think government offices should be closed for this inauguration or, considering the current economy, should the occasion be a massive test of telework?  

Posted by Judith Welles on Dec 02, 2008 at 12:13 PM


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