City Hall Backtracks on Snow Day Mandate to Workers

By Melissa Russo
|  Monday, Jan 31, 2011  |  Updated 10:45 PM EDT
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City Hall Backtracks on Snow Day Mandate to Workers

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City Hall has backtracked on a demand that NYC employees either come to work midway through last Thursday's snow day or forfeit a vacation day.  

 
Despite an early morning press release and widespread reports announcing that non-emergency government offices would be closed, the Mayor reversed course later in the day.
 
Emails went out from DCAS (The Dept of Citywide Administrative Services) and other agencies midday warning workers if they failed to show up it would cost them a personal day.
 
City workers and union leaders complained this was unfair and slammed the Mayor for sending mixed signals.
 
After NBCNewYork reported the story Thursday night it took Bloomberg's office four days to issue a comment.  Sources say City officials were in talks for several days with their lawyers about whether workers could be forced to come in midday and whether they could be charged a personal or vacation day if they didn't. Some officials said the Mayor should have simply postponed the opening of government offices until noon.  
 
Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith tells NBCNewYork future announcements of City offices closing in bad weather conditions are unlikely.  
 
Goldsmith says there will need to be a better plan for workers to obtain updates on line about the City's expectations during snow days.
 
In the meantime a memo went out from DCAS commissioner Edna Wells Handy Monday, informing agency heads that employees must submit a request in writing to be excused for last Thursday if they didn't make it into work. 
 
Handy, according to sources, was one of the agency heads who instructed her workers to head into the office midday, despite the Mayor's early morning announcement that the offices would be closed.

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