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Zoo Director to Head Office of Personnel Management

John Berry
John Berry has been nominated to serve as director of the Office of Personnel Management. (The Washington Post)

Updated 3:47 p.m.
By Ed O'Keefe
President Obama has announced his intention to nominate John Berry to serve as the next director of the Office of Personnel Management. A veteran of the Treasury and Interior departments and current director of the National Zoo, Berry also once served as legislative assistant to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

"From turning around the National Zoo to fostering a more productive work environment at the Department of the Interior, John Berry has a tremendous record of effective management in key public service roles," Obama said in a statement. "I'm confident that he will provide that same leadership at OPM to help ensure that government works for the American people the way it should."

The OPM director basically serves as the human resources manager for the federal government's more than 2 million federal employees. Among many other tasks, the director decides when to close federal government offices in Washington, D.C., due to inclement weather.

While with Hoyer's office, Berry worked on federal government employment issues and helped craft locality pay reform, issues of importance to the Maryland congressman, whose district is home to many federal workers. Those experiences earned him wide praise from Federal workers unions when his name first surfaced as possible OPM director in January.

Following his congressional work, Berry served as the Treasury Department's deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary for law enforcement, later assuming the role of assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.

At the Interior Department, he served as director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, working with then-inspector general Earl Devaney to address several financial and management issues.

Appointed director of the National Zoo, Berry implemented a strategic plan, a management reorganization, a 20 year capital master plan and secured funding for infrastructural improvements. Under his watch, the Northwest Washington zoo has also renovated the popular elephant house and seal and Sea Lion exhibits.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 3, 2009; 3:01 PM ET
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This is most definitely NOT as impressive as the McKinsey director Obama had picked. McKinsey I trust. A lifelong bureaucrat -- and especially one for the Interior Dept. -- c'mon, Obama, what's going on?

Posted by: itchy1 | March 3, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse


412. Way too much information. Are you trying to tell us that he is "a credit to his race?" What the hell does his supposed sexual orientation have to do with his nomination?

You need to break out of your little shell.

Posted by: hisroc | March 3, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Not only in John Berry enormously qualified and one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, he is a fine representative from the LGBT community and adds even more diversity to the senior leadership of our government. Kudos to President Obama for his pick, to John Berry on being nominated, and to the nation for having such an able OPM Director.

Posted by: capcityman1 | March 3, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

John Berry is an awesome person. When he left the Department of the Interior, there was a standing room only goodbye for him in the auditorium. From the day he walked into the building, he made it clear that he cared about the employees. We still miss him at Interior. The OPM employees are very very lucky.

Posted by: postreader118 | March 3, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Clearly he is overqualified. I'm just worried about the rumors his staff has dart guns and l-o-n-g rubber gloves. But, the breeding program may be wildly popular.

Posted by: wildanimal | March 3, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I cannot think of a better resume for the OPM Director. From the National Zoo to the Federal bureaucracy, it will be a seamless transition.

Posted by: hisroc | March 3, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I think we would appreciate as his first act, to stop using the term, "human capital" to describe the workforce. It's about as repulsive as it gets to describe human beings people as "capital", i.e, currency that can be exchanged live slaves in the Confederacy. How about it, Mr. Berry, will you at least order your so-called HR experts at OPM to cease & desist with this idiotic term from the "W' years?

Posted by: pookiecat | March 3, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Sounds great, but do I REALLY have to be supervised by a zookeeper? We're really not that bad. Housetrained and everything. Geez.

Posted by: wildanimal | March 3, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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