FEMA Headquarters -- Return Back to the Office

Start Date: 2022-03-01

Description: Federal government is opening their offices this week, for the first time in two years. We have been invited to be on-site to help welcome employees back, at various offices. As opposed to similar event yesterday, at U.S. Secret Service, where they had gift bags, everyone gathered in lobby before going to their offices, one day only. FEMA was having employees continue remote work, some returned today, but not sure this was a big change. And they want us there all week long. But once there, ran into many road blocks. First, with current events being what they are, FEMA is on alert, so we could not visit their offices. Second, FEMA is in an office building, controlled by Government Services Agency, managed by a reality company. GSA had a problem with something from us, and wouldn't allow our teams to stay on their property, where FEMA employees might happen by and visit with our teams. Monday, our teams sat in an area remote from the FEMA side of the building, visiting with each other, and the random person that happened by. This morning, Tuesday, while driving in, we were assured that everything was ready. Under the thought that all of the people that we were dealing with were onsite. Once we arrived, found out that those people were remote. That not only was the GSA still not satisfied, the building management now would not allow our dogs in the building at all. We were to stay outside, in the cold! After a lot of conversations and stand offs, representatives from every part of this issue, except for our insurance company, that is on the west coast, everyone was at a halt. But meanwhile, some FEMA staff had discovered that we were there, and came down, and were on the floor, playing with our dogs. Even though FEMA had invited us there, they felt they were not in control of any of this, so they stepped aside. The building management saw the FEMA staff on the ground with our guys, and all of the good that was happening. That person then excused himself, and went just a few feet away, to the side of the building that was a hotel. He got us permission to set up there. This was only a few feet from where we might have set up to wait, but way down from where our teams were held up Monday. In addition, lots of people were taking pictures with our guys. We requested that they share those pictures with their fellow workers upstairs. Lots of folks did come down to visit. Including a nice lady, like the many other visits. Found out afterwards that she is the new head of FEMA. Also heard that DHS (Department of Homeland Security) wanted us to talk to them. This is probably the best that we can do now. The staff is really looking forward to our teams coming in over the next few days. Not sure if issues between us and GSA have gotten resolved. Net difference is probably just a few feet closer to their entry. We are pretty much as good off now. And on hotel side. But the staff absolutely love us. They keep talking about how important it was back in 2017 when we were there, twice a day, to support them, in a time of terrible hurricanes. Great that we could find a "work around".

Agency: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Teams: Shellie Goldstein & Emma / Janet Velenovsky & Image