John Berry, the director of the federal Office of Personnel Management, said his decision to close the federal government early yesterday — in anticipation of the wet winter storm that coated the D.C. region — was “just right.”
Meanwhile, federal workers today are operating under a two-hour delay. And, because of the telework bill, passed late last year by Congress, federal employees have the option for unscheduled telework.
Berry told The Washington Post the two-hour early departure decision was made “without a flake in sight,” and he, at first, worried OPM would be accused of overreacting.
“As late as 4 p.m. I was worried with nothing happening if the exact opposite was going to occur, [becoming] a laughingstock story of over reaction,” he told The Washington Post in an email.
“This is never easy,” Berry said, “but I’d say we called it about right,” because, with the early departure, most employees were on their way home before the snow, ice and rain really began falling.
In an interview with Federal News Radio, Berry also had praise for the National Weather Service, which “nailed” the forecast, he said, making the decision that much easier.
Even so, he said the storm was still surprising.
“I’ve lived here my whole life . . . and I think it’s the fastest I’ve ever seen a storm accumulate,” he added.
The Post reported that last night’s wintry weather led to one of the “worst evening commutes in recent memory,” with some commuters stranded for up to 13 hours.