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Likely OPM Director Earns Rave Reviews

By Ed O'Keefe
John Berry
National Zoo director John Berry, who is expected to be named the next director of the Office of Personnel Management (Photo by Post)

John Berry, the current director of the National Zoo, has accepted an offer to serve as director of the Office of Personnel Management, The Post's Al Kamen scoops today. There has been no official announcement and the news was denied by a National Zoo official earlier today.

While he's directed 240 employees and more than 2,000 animals since 2005, Berry is no stranger to Washington or the Federal bureaucracy. He previously served as executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, assistant secretary for policy, management and budget at the Interior Department, as the Smithsonian's director of government relations and senior policy advisor, as legislative director for Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and as an associate staffer on the House Appropriations Committee.

He's currently leading the National Zoo through a master planning process to renovate its buildings and overall infrastructure, experience that could prove useful since the OPM director normally deals with human resources issues including recruitment, compensation and facilities. The OPM director also has the unenviable (or cool?) task of deciding when Federal workers should stay home due to inclement weather.

Berry's impending appointment has already earned praise from several parties.

Hoyer, his former boss, called him “an incredibly qualified public servant who possesses significant management experience, great knowledge of government, and a high regard for our federal workforce. He would be an excellent choice to lead OPM, and I would strongly support his nomination.”

"John Berry will help return respect to the federal workforce and help attract the best and the brightest to public service. I look forward to his confirmation by the Senate," said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, called Berry "the perfect choice for the position of OPM Director. He has all the right experience in policy and in politics. He’s smart, courageous, and on top of that a really nice person. We look forward to working with him as he takes on the task of revitalizing the civil service after eight years of attacks by the Bush Administration.”

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 13, 2009; 4:39 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door, Workplace Issues  
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