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Home-stretch shake-up in D.C.

August 27, 2011 - John D'Agostino
As Hurricane Irene tracks up the East Coast this weekend, there is still time to reflect on the earthquake centered near our nation’s capital.

The tremor, felt throughout the mid-Atlantic, shows the real difference between the public and private sector, especially in the federal offices. After the quake in the Washington, D.C., a number of residents and workers flowed out into the streets. But federal workers, shaken up after working during one of the "slowest weeks," were ready to call it quits.

On Aug. 24, The Wall Street Journal reported: "The White House and Capitol reopened later, but other agencies sent employees home for the day."

In other news in our capital that day, grocery stores remained open as did other retailers, auto shops, factories, small businesses and media outlets.

Yet those in government went home early, thank you very much.

Maybe those workers scurried away from their jobs early because the quake happened, as the Journal reported, "during one of official Washington’s slowest weeks of the year."

If that’s the case, maybe vacations should be mandatory for a number of federal staff members at this time. If there’s no work — or little — the staffing of fewer workers should be mandatory.

Of course, those fewer workers would resemble many of the county’s local governments who work around Thanksgiving.

Though the fourth Thursday is the official holiday, watch the number of clerk, village, town and city offices that close early the Wednesday before and completely the Friday after Thanksgiving.

It is just another one of those "unofficial holidays" — or five-day weekends — granted to far too many working in the generous public sector.


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