Today, I was amazed, flabbergasted, surprised, and amused when in a press conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized to House Speaker John Boehner for hurting his feelings. He said Boehner said that’s the reason we have a government shutdown.
This afternoon, shots fired at the Capitol. Is this frustration from a disgruntled federal employee? Or someone directly or indirectly impacted from the shutdown of government services. In the meantime, we wait with hopes that no one was injured or killed.
We also watch as the Congress debates and we see no Progress in sight. The richest nation in the world doesn’t have an approved budget to pay 800,000 workers or provide services to those in need. Each week the government is closed the economy directly loses 1billion dollars that would go toward paying these employees. Some economists estimate that can translate upwards of 10 times when businesses are impacted.
Today, DC streets are empty, highways from the suburbs during rush hour are like Sunday morning. But what was the cost associated in the days leading up to October 1, 2013. On that day, federal employees reported for four hours of work to change voicemail messages, lock up files and shutdown computers and printers.
One federal employee working for an agency directly overseeing government agencies shutdown activities leading up to the shutdown shared some of the work they were involved in during the weeks leading up to the shutdown.
- Weekly meetings with Politicals and General Counsel preparing for government-wide calls with agencies and various Councils (CFO, CAO, CIO, CHCOC, PMC), labor unions, and state government offices.
- Some Councils required separate calls (for various reasons– e.g., to review IT-specific policies with agency CIO shops, etc.) which required scheduling pre-meetings and meetings to discuss guidance, identify any anomalies prior to the call (researching regulations and policies for clarification), responding to emails, calls from leadership prior to the calls– then the gov-wide conference calls themselves.
There was daily work with teams across the agency to prepare and review draft guidance and FAQs for agency – budget, procurement, human resources, and IT shops.
- Updating the agency’s internal guidance in draft, posting online.
- Reviewing all agency contingency plans (before they were allowed to post on their intra/internets). Coordinating the primary agency conference calls and town hall with the Director.
When adding up the number of meetings, conference calls (some operator assisted — no telling how much that contract costs), government-wide calls with up to 200 Feds, plus all the salaries (of SES, political appointees, GS employees, etc.), staff staying up late to post shutdown guidance (and I’m talking past midnight), not to mention our daily work which we had to set aside, the costs are high.
So as the days led up to the #GovernmentShutdown it is hard to assess the cost associated with the shutdown.
- We would have look at ongoing projects that were tabled and pushed aside.
- The cost of shutting these projects down, in some cases flying people home.
- And the cost of getting them going again and flying people back to the places they were.
We may never know the exact cost to shut the government down. We do know that it added work, hours and more importantly did nothing to advance the mission of our government agencies.
Congress continues debating the trivial matters of getting government restarted based on ideological differences.
So Now We Wait…..