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Former Boss, Unions Applaud Berry Nomination

By Ed O'Keefe

As he did when his name first surfaced, John Berry has earned the praise of his former boss, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and the top federal workers unions he will work with should be win confirmation as director of the Office of Personnel Management. Read the full statements below.

From AFGE:


The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the nation’s largest union of federal employees, today applauded President-elect Barack Obama’s nomination of John Berry to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

“John Berry is the perfect choice for the position of OPM Director. He has the right experience in both policy and in politics. We look forward to working with him as he takes on the task of revitalizing the civil service – which been attacked for eight years by the Bush Administration.” said John Gage, AFGE National President.

AFGE worked closely with Berry throughout his service in the federal government, particularly when he worked for now-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

“Clearly, Hoyer’s legislative leadership on federal workforce issues is unparalleled; Berry’s work on federal employee issues for Hoyer required him to be an expert in virtually everything that concerns federal workers and retirees. In particular, during the development of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (FEPCA), which set up the locality pay system for General Schedule employees, Berry was the primary negotiator on behalf of the Congress and won accolades for his professionalism from all sides,” said Beth Moten, AFGE Legislative and Political Director.

After a particularly tense negotiating session, a senior Democratic committee staffer observed that without John Berry, the legislation could never be enacted.

AFGE also cited Berry’s service at both the Department of the Interior and at the National Zoo. “His work with federal employees and their unions to support the agencies’ missions has been a model for every federal department and agency,” said Gage.

From NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley:

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) welcomes the nomination of John Berry to be the new director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Mr. Berry is an experienced and respected public servant, and I am confident that under his leadership, OPM will foster a collaborative labor-management environment. I believe he will play a key role in helping return respect to the federal workforce, which in turn will help attract talented and dedicated employees to public service.

In his work as legislative director for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Mr. Berry demonstrated his grasp of issues important to federal employees while earning the respect of both management and unions. In addition to that work, his previous federal service includes a respected tenure as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the Department of the Interior. This exposure to the federal workplace and the issues impacting it will serve Mr. Berry well in his new capacity. It is clear that Mr. Berry brings a great deal of valuable experience to the position of OPM Director, and I look forward to his confirmation by the Senate.

Every decision at OPM impacts the lives of federal employees and their families. That makes effective leadership at the helm of this agency a matter of paramount importance to federal workers. NTEU has confidence in Mr. Berry’s demonstrated leadership capabilities, and I look forward to working with him to improve the federal workplace and the delivery of government services to the public.

From Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.):

“I can think of no better person than John Berry to lead the Office of Personnel Management. John is an incredibly qualified public servant who possesses significant management experience, great knowledge of government, and a high regard for our Federal workforce. Anyone who has worked with him knows how very bright and positive a person he is. He is an excellent choice to lead OPM, and I strongly support his nomination. “Altogether, John brings to this job almost three decades of experience working with Federal agency employees, management, and unions. As Legislative Director in my office for 10 years, he served as a valued advisor and was the policy lead on Federal employee issues. “One of John’s most notable achievements was in helping pass the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, signed into law in 1990, to restructure the pay system for Federal employees and work towards pay fairness and comparability. “In addition, he has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Assistant Secretary of Interior for Planning, Management and Budget, and in his most recent position as the Director of the National Zoo. “Federal employees should feel very good about this nomination and that somebody as knowledgeable and positive as John Berry is about the Federal workforce has been appointed to this position.”

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 3, 2009; 4:02 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Workplace Issues  
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