OPM gears up for massive D.C. Metrorail rehab plan

The Office of Personnel Management has established an interagency working group to assess the potential impact that a massive, recently announced Metrorail maintenance program will have on federal employees and agency operations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

The working group, established through the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, will be responsible for discussing agency concerns, developing options, and sharing agency best practices for maintaining productivity and continuity of operations during the weeks-long maintenance-and-repair project.

The aggressive “SafeTrack” maintenance plan—announced recently by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which oversees the Metro system—addresses growing concerns over the safety of the system. The soon-to be-implemented plan calls for continuous single-tracking on certain segments of the rail system for several weeks—and shutting down segments entirely for up to several weeks. The plan also calls for weeknight and weekend track work, which will include closing the system at midnight on weekends.

“Given the scope, duration, and nature of the disruptions, the impact to agencies in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will vary,” OPM acting Director Beth Cobert said in a May 20 memo to human resource directors. “That means, instead of imposing a single approach for the entire Federal Government, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will provide guidance to agencies on how to utilize various workplace flexibilities. Ultimately, individual agencies are best positioned to determine the impact that the SafeTrack project will have on their workforce and therefore agencies should make decisions regarding how to adjust.”

Cobert said that “agencies should carefully review their current telework arrangements, determine whether employees are eligible to telework, renew telework agreements older than one year, and establish written agreements with interested employees who are eligible to telework.”

“Similarly,” she stated, “agencies should review their policies for alternative work schedules.”

Cobert said that because the project will take place over an extended period and affect agencies differently, OPM did not anticipate the need for the widespread use of excused absence.

Reader comments

Sun, May 29, 2016

Will need to telework for the three weeks blue line will not make it to the Pentagon.

Tue, May 24, 2016

Interesting article.

Tue, May 24, 2016

Very Interesting article. The nurse has asked if she may park if the outcome is not good for her.

Tue, May 24, 2016 Steve Singal Germantown, MD

METRO is a perfect example of how not to run an agency since it is not administered by any one government. The non-profit created by DC, Maryland, and Virginia is governed by a Board of Directors selected by the three governments. These Board members have no background in transit and are jockeying for power. METRO is not accountable to the people it serves. It is expensive and wasteful. Its current and past GMs have little or no transit experience. It would be run better if it was run by a single jurisdiction, even DC or y the Federal Government. It is pathetic to see that METRO ignored all maintenance recommendations of the designers (DeLew Cather and company)that led to the disaster that METRO has become! A trip by METRO Board to the much bigger and superbly run London Tube system should be done and a new GM from some large transit agency should be hired to run this troubled agency going from bad to worse every single day!!

Tue, May 24, 2016

How is this "gearing up"? Agencies already have all the options available. And many are famous for ignoring OPM "advice". Wow, they have established a work group to make observations. Stunning.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
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