Federal employee groups along the East Coast are working with regional agency offices, as well as state and local governments, to coordinate efforts to get federal employees back to work.
“I always like to say we try to have up-to-date, accurate and consistent information so agency leaders can make informed decisions,” said Kim Ainsworth, executive director of the Boston-area Federal Executive Board, a nationwide network dedicated to intergovernmental collaboration for the federal workforce outside the Washington area.
While Ainsworth said the Boston area was not as hard hit as many others, she still has worked to provide information to agency leaders faced with the decision of whether to bring employees back to the office. All regional offices in Boston have reopened, despite many homes that are still without power in the region, according to Ainsworth.
In New Jersey and New York City, however, the situation remains precarious.
The regional FEBs could not be reached for comment, but federal buildings in Newark as well as Trenton, N.J., remain without power and will be closed tomorrow, according to a spokesperson at the Office of Personnel Management. The FEB in New York also has recommended that nonessential personnel in Lower Manhattan not be required to report to work Thursday.
The spokesperson added FEB advisories are not final rulings, just suggestions to regional agency directors who make the ultimate decision.
In making these suggestions, the executive boards rely on the National Weather Service and other resources employees may not have access to on their own and may be “more factual than just turning on the TV,” Ainsworth said.
No additional regional offices are reporting closures due to the storm. The federal government in the District of Columbia area reopened Wednesday after remaining closed for two consecutive days.
An OPM survey from earlier in the year estimated that one-third of all affected federal employees work during crises such as Hurricane Sandy, be it through telework or because they are designated as “emergency” personnel.