It\u2019s that time again; to count how many of the federal government\u2019s 1.7 million employees are teleworking. The Office of Personnel Management\u2019s just-released annual report reveals federal agencies are still maddeningly slow to promote telework, and a million miles away from complying with the federal mandate. However, there are signs things could start turning around.For one, OPM\u2019s getting better at dealing with employee eligibility, a loophole agencies exploit to duck compliance. For instance, citing the new 2003 report, four employees of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board are eligible to telework, and all four are teleworking. That means with only four teleworkers, the agency is 100% in compliance with the law. On the other hand, of the 25,803 employees of the Department of Homeland Security eligible to telework, only 392 are actually doing so. That\u2019s .015% compliance, yet adds 392 teleworkers to the rolls.This is why OPM\u00a0 needs to track two numbers: eligible employees and eligible teleworkers. Or rather, how many workers can do their jobs at home or from a telework center, and of those, how many actually are. Agencies need 100% of their eligible employees teleworking to comply with the law.\u00a0While a few agencies reported a decline, overall the number of eligible employees increased about 20% in 2003, to 751,844 (43%), up from 625,313 (35%) in 2002. Also good to see is what looks like honest eligibility reporting. In dozens of cases, agencies reported high numbers of eligible employees but low numbers of teleworkers. (The report will be made public in the coming weeks.)With accurate reporting, OPM can now think up ways to hold non-compliant agencies accountable. That\u2019s a good idea, given the number of eligible workers that actually teleworked in 2003 remained \u201cstable\u201d at 14% from the previous year. Telework center use also declined 5% in 2003.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Until now, OPM\u2019s played good cop. Promotional efforts include creating training modules for managers and employees in conjunction with the General Services Administration available on the telework.gov site. OPM spent an additional $500,000 in 2003 to provide problem agencies - those with less than 2% compliance, which number 12 out of 74 - with special consultation, training, promotional materials and an all-day seminar.But now, maybe it\u2019s time to play bad cop. The report states: \u201cTo emphasize agency responsibility and bring telework\u00a0 into the scope of expected human resources flexibilities, rather than have it remain a new or \u2018special\u2019 program, OPM began laying the groundwork for including telework in evaluations of agency human capital management.\u201d A veiled threat that has something to do with money?\u00a0\u00a0Of course, OPM can\u2019t penalize other agencies; that\u2019s Congress\u2019 job. In a story first reported last week by WTOP Radio\u2019s Steve Eldridge, telework advocate Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said he\u2019s disappointed in agencies\u2019 slow progress, and plans to reduce the appropriations of those that don\u2019t allow their employees to telework.