John Berry at OPM?


The Washington Post’s Al Kamen reports this morning that John Berry, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park, has accepted an offer by President-elect Barack Obama to become director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Berry previously served as executive director of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the nation’s wildlife, and before that, as assistant secretary of the Interior Department for management. In the mid-1990s he directed government relations for the Smithsonian and, between 1985 and 1994, served as legislative director for Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

John Berry

John Berry

Among the first to welcome the news was the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley. In a statement released today, the union leader hailed Berry as someone who will “help return respect to the federal work force and help attract the best and the brightest to public service.” Kelley said she worked with Berry while he was an aide to Hoyer in the creation of the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, which created locality pay rates and customized pay scales for specialized groups of federal employees, such as administrative law judges and certain law enforcement officials.

What do you think of the choice of Berry as OPM director? What will be his biggest challenges?


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  1. Every new administration deserves the opportunity to appoint the leaders who will use the executive branch to implement the administration’s policy. Thus, it was not unexpected that Mr. Obama would eventually appoint his own selectee to Direct OPM. Having said that, had he gotten to know Mr. Hager, he would have discovered that this man had impeccable credentials burnished in the trenches of the Veterans Administration, and that he worked incredibly hard to accelerate decision making at OPM. His Sunrise Meetings (sometimes referred to as Sunshine Meetings) got the information flowing first order of daily business, and he accelerated the decision making process at this agency. I for one will miss the departure of Mr. Hager.

  2. Pingback: Fedline » Berry to OPM? Not so fast

  3. I think it is WONDERFUL that Obama has nominated Mr. John Berry as OPM Director. He is the perfect man for the job.

  4. Various Union and GLBT groups have issued approving self-interested comments, but I would like to speak on behalf of a still larger interest group — those who want good managers in the Federal government. I have seen first hand that John Berry is an excellent manager, quick to understand, open to hard data whether it supports his position or not, and able to work successfully with an amazing variety of individuals. I am sure that Federal personnel management will improve under his direction.

  5. Pingback: Fedline » White House names John Berry to head OPM

  6. Proud Soldiers Mom on

    Of course he should be a great pic for OPM. First off, he is experienced with animals, and coordinating the animals at the zoo’s vetrinary care, and …….(drum roll) …..
    He graciously donated at least $2.300.00 to the Barack Obama Campaign. And even more donations to the DNC.
    Pay to Play?

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