Remember the contingency plans that agencies have to prepare for the event of a government shutdown?
Those documents have never been more accessible–now that the immediate threat of a halt to agency operations has passed.
Under a “What’s New” section of its web site dated April 14, the Office of Management and Budget has posted links to more than 50 agency plans. Had the government closed, for example, more than three-quarters of employees in the Executive Office of the President would have been furloughed. At least for now, the prospect of a shutdown has receded since Congress last week approved a government-wide budget for the rest of fiscal 2011.
The new-found availability of the shutdown plans is a shift from only a few weeks ago, when the Obama administration rebuffed pleas from federal employee unions to release them. Late last month, the American Federation of Government Employees sued for access under the Freedom of Information Act.
But while the OMB site suggests that the administration began posting links to the records in one place only last Thursday, budget office spokeswoman Moira Mack said the site actually went up April 8. On Monday, April 4, agencies began “reaching out” to federal managers to discuss plans for an orderly shutdown, Mack said in an email, and began fielding employee questions later in the week.
And even if many agency shutdown plans are now only a mouse click away, AFGE will pursue its lawsuit, a spokesman said, to set some “parameters’ for how to handle the information in the future.