The Washington Post

Feds make their pitches for ‘essential’ and ‘nonessential’


Readers responded robustly to the Post’s call-out last week asking federal workers to make a pitch for why they are “essential” or “nonessential” during a potential shutdown.

Those controversial terms, which are unofficial, indicate whether employees would be required to work during a possible closure. The official term is “excepted” these days.

One supervisor with the Corporation for National and Community Service on-call at all hours to help AmeriCorps workers with emergencies said: “I am essential because I am the person responsible for answering the ‘3 a.m. phone call.'”

On the other hand, a NASA scientist wrote: “My work is essential in the long term in that it enables future missions and fundamental research … However, while the schedule between now and launch is aggressive, there is a margin. Waiting will definitely waste taxpayer dollars, but no lives will be lost.”

Below are more of the pitches, some of which will appear on the pages of the Post in coming days. Readers should feel free to continue making their cases on the response page.

For related news, check out these articles about federal-worker anxiety in the lead-up to a potential shutdown and possible next moves by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed or e-mail  josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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