Some feds to get day off for NATO anniversary

Some feds to get day off for NATO anniversary

Federal employees who work in downtown Washington D.C. should be excused from work on Friday, April 23 to help relieve traffic congestion expected from the 50th anniversary NATO summit, Office of Personnel Management Director Janice R. Lachance announced Thursday.

Lachance is urging agency heads to excuse employees that work in the geographic perimeter around the Federal Triangle area without loss of pay or charge to leave on that Friday. The perimeter is defined by the following streets:

  • K street NW from the intersection of 19th street to 7th street
  • 7th street from K street NW to the Southwest Freeway
  • Southwest Freeway from 7th street SW to 14th street SW
  • 14th street SW from Southwest Freeway to Independence Ave. (Alt. 50)
  • Independence Ave. from 14th street SW to 17th street SW
  • 17th street from Independence Ave. to Constitution Ave.
  • Constitution Ave. from 17th street NW to 19th street NW
  • 19th street NW from Constitution Ave. to K street NW

OPM's web site has a map of the affected perimeter.

Employees responsible for national security, defense, or other critical public services will not be excused. The request does not apply to employees at the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, or other federal museums located within the defined perimeter.

Summit organizers expect at least 2,000 NATO delegates and 3,000 international media at the event. The plan to control traffic includes closing both federal and D.C. government offices and streets around the summit area. By allowing federal leave that day, organizers expect to reduce the number of federal workers in the area by 90,000.

"Make no mistake about it, even with a significant number of federal workers reduced, it will be far from a routine traffic day in the district," a NATO summit staff member said.

Authority to excuse employees from duty rests with individual agencies, Lachance said, but she expects most agencies will comply with the request.

Feds with offices elsewhere in D.C. and Arlington, Va. are also encouraged to stay home that Friday, but those employees must take a vacation or personal day to do so.

Supervisors and managers should permit workers to use Friday, April 23 for annual leave or compensatory time off and should encourage use of worktime flexibilities on that day, Lachance said. Telecommuting, work-at-home, and flex time are three options managers should promote. Workers who do decide to show up at the office that day are strongly encouraged to use public transportation to get there.

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