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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Contact: Brendan LaCivita
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Deputy Director Dan Blair Hosts Meeting with Veterans' Service Organizations

First 2004 meeting another step in OPM efforts to drive veterans' preference hiring governmentwide

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Deputy Director Dan G. Blair recently met with representatives of Veterans' Service Organizations (VSO) to discuss issues affecting veterans' preference in federal hiring, and to build on the outreach efforts initiated by OPM Director Kay Coles James to strengthen relationships with VSOs.

Commenting on the VSO meeting, James said "Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices in defending our freedoms. It is our responsibility to ensure that federal agencies and departments meet not only the letter of the law, but its spirit as well, when it comes to hiring veterans. Veterans' preference is not a hindrance- it is the law, and it will be enforced. These quarterly meetings serve as an important forum for the Bush Administration to gauge our progress in the ways we recruit and hire veterans. I encourage direct feedback and appreciate the excellent ideas and outside accountability VSO leaders bring to OPM and agency operations."

"We have seen general improvement in the hiring of veterans by federal agencies and departments during the course of this Administration," said Blair. "This progress has taken place against the backdrop of Director James' commitment to the enforcement of Merit System Principles granting veterans' preference where it applies to federal employment. Agencies are being reminded of their obligation to follow the law and honor those who earned the hiring preference."

OPM representatives also briefed the VSOs on improvements to the USAJOBS website, www.usajobs.gov. The website hosts a feature specifically for veterans, including information on the application of veterans' preference in federal hiring and other information for veterans seeking jobs in the civil service.

The veterans' feature on the USAJOBS website was created specifically at the request of veteran feedback to OPM. Further, OPM has provided military Transition Assistance Program location centers across the country with employment brochures, cards, and posters that direct veterans to the website.

"Veterans will find the website an invaluable tool when searching for a federal job," said Blair. "We intend to continually upgrade the site to make sure it meets the needs of veterans as they seek federal employment."

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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