Federal Diary readers add their voices to recent columns

By Joe Davidson
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Federal Diary gets lots of mail, some of it fit to print. We give readers a chance to speak out by occasionally presenting some of their letters related to issues we've covered, such as these:

Telework needs tailoring

I am not a particular fan of telework, and in my own position in the music division of the Library of Congress, the vast majority of what I (and most of my colleagues) do is impossible or difficult to do via telework.

However, during the recent blizzard closings, I was more than happy to answer e-mails, respond to reference queries and work on a writing project while at home -- although none of this was credited as telework when the recent reevaluation was made that determined how much work continued to be done remotely while local federal offices were closed.

To me, telework would be most useful and make the most sense if it were far more flexible so that individuals and organizations could quickly (or even retroactively) approve telework as circumstances require or projects allow. As it is now, the process is cumbersome, time-consuming, and set up to deal with only regularly scheduled telework or long-planned projects.

Why not have it set up so that during snowstorms, major problems on Metro, suddenly ill children or burst water heaters, employees could simply e-mail their supervisors and immediately make arrangements to do work from home to the degree that it's possible and appropriate -- perhaps with a bank of waiting projects.

I'm not suggesting it be a guaranteed option, but anything that enables us to be as productive as possible seems to me to be a good thing.

-- Mark Horowitz, Washington

Stranded Social Security

I had to write this to you to share another horror story with the Office of Personnel Management and the Navy.

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