Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Live-blogging Shutdown 2013

Yes, I may have a lot more time on my hands next week for blogging so I'll get started a little early. I do not see a way to avoid the government shutdown. This is not a stand-off between the Republicans and the Democrats or the Republicans and the President. This is a stand-off between the tea-party extremists and the main-stream conservatives of the Republican Party. And I don't see a way out.

So, here goes from a work perspective. First, an email from our DC office this morning:

If you have not already done so, please submit the following information to S   and T   by the end of the day on Friday:

1) the name of cases with October 1-15 litigation deadlines,
2) a brief description of the case,
3) the date of the litigation deadline,
4) a brief description of deadline,
5) the name and contact information of the lead SOL attorney,
6) the name and contact information for lead DOJ attorney, and
7) the name and contact information for any agency officials who may be needed to make litigation-related decisions.

For cases with October 16-31 deadlines, please just provide:

1) the case name,
2) the date of the litigation deadline,
3) a brief description of the deadline, and
4) the name of the lead SOL attorney.

This report will help us to manage litigation matters that may need attention during the government shutdown if it happens.

Also, as a reminder, please make sure your phone trees are up to date and S   and T   have copies of them before the end of the day on Monday.


And this just in from the Secretary of the Interior:
To: All DOI Employees
From: Secretary Sally Jewell
Subject: Potential lapse in appropriations
In follow-up to my message from September 18, 2013, I am providing you with an update on our planning for a potential lapse in appropriations at midnight on September 30. The Administration continues to believe that a lapse in funding should not occur. There is enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations and the Administration is willing to work with Congress to enact a short-term continuing resolution to fund critical Government operations and allow Congress the time to complete the full year 2014 appropriations. However, prudent management requires that we continue to prepare for all contingencies, including the possibility that a lapse could occur at the end of the month.
As part of our effort to keep employees apprised of planning efforts, we are providing further information on how a potential lapse will affect our staff and operations. Under a lapse in funding, our actions and decisions about what operations continue are governed by legal opinions issued by the Attorney General and the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice.
In consultation with our Solicitor’s Office, we are working to determine which of our activities may continue under these legal requirements. Similarly, we are working to determine which employees would continue to report to work in the event of a lapse in funding and which employees would be placed on furlough. Should a lapse occur and depending on the length of the lapse period, these determinations may change over time as circumstances evolve.
Importantly, the categorization of employees and whether or not someone is furloughed is not a reflection on the quality of their work or their importance to our agency. It is merely a reflection of the legal requirements that we must operate under should a lapse occur. 
Managers will begin reaching out to employees tomorrow, Thursday, September 26, to provide additional details on our contingency plans and your status under a potential lapse. These conversations are designed to provide clarity on how a potential lapse will affect you, but they do not constitute an official notice of furlough. Official furlough notices will only be issued on October 1 if a lapse in funding has occurred.
The uncertainty of the current circumstances puts our workforce in a difficult situation. If a lapse occurs, it could impose hardships on many employees as well as the people that we serve every day. We will work closely with all staff to do our best to support you throughout this period. In addition, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has created a document to address some of the questions related to a lapse that may be on your mind. The document can be accessed on OPM’s website.
Thank you again for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for your continued service to the Department, the Nation, and the American people. I am proud of the work you do to conserve America’s resources, power our economy, and uphold our Nation’s responsibilities to the First Americans.
At least the Secretary loves us.

Well, I probably won't sit here the whole time typing away, but I will give you updates as I continue my potentially major award-winning, political commentary.

Continue to:
 Live-blogging the Shutdown Update No. 1

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