Browsing: John Berry

Archuleta sworn in as OPM director

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Katherine Archuleta officially became the 10th director of the Office of Personnel Management this morning following a private swearing-in ceremony, the agency said in a news release. Archuleta, confirmed by the Senate last Wednesday to a four-year term, began the day  by greeting employees in the lobby of OPM headquarters. “OPM touches so many lives and has such a significant impact on government service,” Archuleta said in the release. “I look forward to getting to know the many dedicated, hard-working men and women who serve the public every day.” Archuleta replaces John Berry, who left in April en route to…

Obama: OPM's Berry 'a champion for federal workers'

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President Obama this afternoon bid farewell to departing Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry today in a statement: John Berry has served the American people well as Director of the Office of Personnel Management.  He’s streamlined the way federal employees are hired, modernized the workplace, made the federal workforce more diverse, and increased the number of returning servicemembers hired by the government.  John has been a champion for federal workers – men and women who devote their lives to vital tasks like securing our borders, curing disease, and keeping the American people safe.  This country is better off because…

OPM's Berry: 'We are close to the edge of the cliff'

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As we reported yesterday, the members of the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations sounded a red alert Wednesday on the state of the federal government’s recruiting and retention efforts. With the ongoing pay freeze, furloughs, sequester budget cuts and threats to cut benefits, union leaders and administration officials alike fear the federal workforce could crack under the pressure. Longtime feds with decades of experience could throw in the towel and retire, they fear, and talented young up-and-comers could conclude that the federal government isn’t a good place to work and take their skills elsewhere. Office of Personnel Management Director…

Health insurance: What the Postal Service has in mind

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Lest anyone forget, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe remains keenly interested in creating a stand-alone health insurance plan for about 1.1 million U.S. Postal Service employees and retirees. The latest reminder came at last week’s Senate hearing on the USPS’s financial crisis. Although lawmakers’ attention was predictably focused on the agency’s decision to end Saturday mail delivery, Donahoe also stressed the urgency of pulling out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. “An astonishing 20 cents of every revenue dollar the Postal Service takes in must go toward health care costs,” Donahoe said in prepared testimony.  “By moving away from the…

Hoyer: John Berry in the running for Interior

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Since Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Jan. 16 that he plans to step down at the end of March, federal government watchers have speculated that Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry may be in the running to replace him. When I asked Berry that day about the job, he wouldn’t even say whether he had talked to President Obama. “No comment,” Berry said. “At this point, I stand ready to serve the President in any capacity he desires.” But his old friend and former boss, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, is far less reticent about Berry’s possible…

John Berry: 'No comment' on Interior secretary post

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to step down at the end of March opens up one more Cabinet position in the second Obama administration — and may present an opportunity for Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry. While Berry is most known these days for his focus on federal hiring, pensions and other personnel matters, nature issues are especially close to his heart. He was director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park before Obama tapped him to run OPM, and prior to that, served as executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He also served as…

After critical audit, Washington-area CFC manager gets back more than $100K

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The non-profit firm that runs the nation’s largest Combined Federal Campaign has recovered about one-third of the $308,000 it had to repay earlier this year after auditors questioned spending for such items as meals for loaned executives, flowers and a night out at a Washington Nationals baseball game. Global Impact, which manages the National Capital Area CFC, had sought reimbursement for about $294,000 of that total; Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry agreed to return $$102,100 after reviewing additional documentation, according to an Aug. 14 letter released today at Federal Times’ request. Among the expenses that Berry decided were…

Appeals court strikes down DOMA as unconstitutional

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The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan today ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, the Associated Press said, becoming the second federal appeals court to do so this year. DOMA requires the federal government to define marriage as between one man and one woman, and as a result blocks federal spousal benefits — such as health and retirement benefits — from going to the legally-married same-sex spouses of federal employees. The case in today’s ruling — Windsor v. United States — is not related to federal employee benefits. But other cases challenging DOMA have centered…

OPM's Berry: Justice Dept. opinion ties my hands on gay spouses' health benefits

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Last week we reported that even though lesbian federal employee Karen Golinski won health coverage for her wife — courtesy of a February court ruling — the Office of Personnel Management is still instructing federal agencies to deny the same coverage to all other gay and lesbian feds’ spouses. Today I asked OPM Director John Berry how his agency can legally extend Federal Employees Health Benefits Program benefits to only one couple, and treat thousands more differently. He said, basically, that the Justice Department’s legal opinion on the Golinski ruling has tied OPM’s hands: As someone who’s openly gay and…

USPS pension puzzle (revisited)

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Attentive (and we mean really attentive) Fedline readers might remember a post from last month about the apparent disconnect of the Office of Personnel Management’s charging the U.S. Postal Service more for its current pension contributions at the same time the Obama administration is proposing a big refund to the Postal Service on past contributions. We’d asked OPM for comment and finally received an answer yesterday.  So, in the interest of thoroughness, we’re rerunning the original Feb. 22 post, with  the OPM response appended verbatim. Here’s an intriguing nugget from the U.S. Postal Service’s latest quarterly report: Even as the Obama…

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