OPM gears up for massive D.C. Metrorail rehab plan
- By FederalSoup Staff
- May 23, 2016
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.