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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Contact: J. Porter
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Thanks Veteran Service Organizations; Veteran Employment Increases 7 Percent in Two Years

Veterans: 33 percent of full-time permanent new hires in the Federal Government

Washington, DC - U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Deputy Director Dan G. Blair hosted a recent meeting with Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) and reported that for the third consecutive year, veterans' employment in the Federal government has continued strong progress, increasing to 33 percent of full-time permanent new hires -- a seven percent gain over FY 2002. OPM will issue its annual report on the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government FY 03 in the next few days. This report to Congress highlights veteran hiring trends and statistics in the Federal government.

OPM Director Kay Coles James joined the meeting to say goodbye and to thank the VSOs for their commitment to America's veterans. "From the very beginning, veterans' issues have been important to me on a very personal level," James said. "I view fighting for and protecting veterans' rights and preference as a core part of the mission of the Office of Personnel Management. There are some things that you don't shed easily and these issues fit into that category. As a result of that it is my intention to continue to write about these issues and speak about these issues because I believe that the men and women who serve this country deserve no less."

Other items on the meeting agenda included an update briefing on Department of Homeland Security Personnel System by Steve Cohen, Senior Policy Advisor on the Department of Homeland Security. During his briefing Cohen said, "What is just as important as the changes in the new DHS system is what isn't changing. The core values of the civil service system remain intact." Cohen continued, "The new system still preserves the fundamental merit system principles, prevents prohibited personnel practices, ensures due process, protects whistle blowers and honors and promotes veterans' preference."

George Nesterczuk, Senior Policy Advisor on the Department of Defense also gave an update briefing on the National Security Personnel System.

"It is essential that we keep the VSOs fully engaged in OPM's outreach efforts," said Blair. "These meetings ensure a collaborative effort for America's veterans. They have earned their preference in Federal employment and it is our responsibility to make sure they get it."

The quarterly meetings are part of the continuing efforts made by OPM to maintain the close working relationship with the VSOs and to gain the valuable input they have to offer.

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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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