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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld and OPM Director Kay Coles James Address Bush Appointees

Several Prominent Bush Administration Leaders Brief Appointees on Administration Vision and Goals

Washington, D.C. - Secretary of Defense (DoD), Donald Rumsfeld and U.S. Office of Personnel Director Kay Coles James delivered addresses at a recent Schedule C Briefing held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Amphitheater. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in coordination with the White House Office of Presidential Personnel conducts these executive briefings for new Schedule C appointees to train them in ethics, Hatch Act provisions, the President's Management Agenda (PMA) and the unique opportunities and special trust afforded to them as public servants.

In her introduction of Secretary Rumsfeld, OPM Director Kay Coles James praised Rumsfeld for his strong leadership and highlighted the work the two of them are doing to implement the new National Security Personnel System at DOD. Under the National Defense Authorization Act, Director James and Secretary Rumsfeld have been charged by Congress to serve as partners and jointly develop DOD's new National Security Personnel System - a system under which 700,000 DOD employees will operate. Presently, high level staff from both agencies are working with unions and other stakeholders in the developmental stage of the new system.

"The war on terror is being waged against a backdrop of major change within the Department of Defense, and the Secretary has been a driving force behind development of a new defense strategy," James said. "The Office of Personnel Management is playing a key role as a full partner in helping Secretary Rumsfeld reorganize personnel systems at the Department of Defense. This is a huge undertaking by any standard and one which will well serve the Department's employees."

In her remarks, Director James urged the political appointees to take seriously their oath to defend the Constitution, to honor civil service principles and the ethics of public service, to stay focused on the objectives laid out by President Bush and to work together as a team with all employees across departmental and agency lines to succeed during their time of service.

Secretary Rumsfeld and Director James were joined by other prominent Bush Administration officials; Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, and other official who delivered presentations on high-priority domestic and foreign issues, ethics, and the Hatch Act.

"The joint efforts of all leaders and members of the executive branch and agencies represented today are a perfect example of what it takes to accelerate the progress toward fulfilling the goal of the PMA: a more citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-based government," James said. "As public servants we are working together to serve the American people and to serve them well; while providing for the smooth and uninterrupted operation of government services to those who rely on them - all part of the job of protecting America."

Director James Kay Coles James and OPM played an instrumental role in helping design the process and system through which nearly 170,000 employees from 22 different agencies, each with different cultures and human resource services and represented by 17 separate labor unions, were brought into the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - one of the largest personnel mergers in history. Under the Homeland Security Act, Secretary Tom Ridge and Director Kay Coles James were charged by the United States Congress to jointly develop the personnel system for DHS.

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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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