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Our Director Director's Blog

Public Service Recognition Week

As one of my favorite weeks of the year comes to a close, I’d like to reflect on how we honored our incredible Federal employees through Public Service Recognition Week. One of my goals as OPM Director is to make sure we recognize our Federal workforce each and every day. But it is especially important to set aside a week each year to thank our public servants for their dedication to the American people.

Every PSRW is unique and special, and this year was no exception. The week began with a Presidential Proclamation announcing the observance of PSRW. In his proclamation, the President reminds us that, “Public service is a calling which has meant so much to so many. It embodies our sense of shared values and reflects our drive to serve a cause beyond our own -- to give back to our nation, leave our mark, and nudge history forward. There is no greater opportunity to help more people or to make a bigger difference.”

To acknowledge this opportunity, we launched the #HonorTheOath campaign. This collaboration with a group of Excellence in Government fellows invites Federal employees to reflect on the oath that they take on their first day on the job. I encourage you to visit to see how employees honor the oath of office each day through serving the American people.

Across the Federal Government, agencies took the time to thank and recognize their employees. Here at OPM, we had a fantastic week of celebrations. We cheered at the Washington Nationals “Salute to Public Service” game, focused on health and wellness with a nutrition seminar and fitness walk to the Washington monument, highlighted employee resources at an information fair, and hosted a mentoring roundtable. We also used social media to honor our Federal family, including Federal retirees, veterans who have transitioned to civil service, and Federal employees who have fallen while serving the American people.

I was especially delighted to present our OPM Director’s Awards at a special town hall. More than 600 employees were singled-out by their peers. Our winners remind me of how privileged I am to work with so many talented and passionate individuals.

Employee engagement is one of the foundations of the Recruitment, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion – or REDI – strategy that guides our work at OPM. Through events like PSRW, I want to make sure that our Federal workforce knows that their voices are heard and that their experiences matter. Each employee has an important role to play, and I embrace the challenge of helping workers rise to every opportunity.

One week is simply not enough time to fully celebrate the passion that Federal employees bring to their jobs, or the impact that they have on the lives of every American. I hope that PSRW is just the start of an ongoing conversation about the vital contributions of each member of America’s workforce.

Director Archuleta with Federal employees on Nationals field

Quote from Barack Obama stating 'I am committed ?to lifting up the outstanding work that is done every day and to fostering an environment where all our employees feel valued, engaged, and included.'

Federal service is public service. That’s easy to forget sometimes because so much of what Federal employees do goes on behind the scenes. But America’s workforce affects every American every day.

Each day, all across this country, many Americans are fortunate to wake up in a society where they have clean water to drink, safe food to eat, beautiful parks, affordable and quality health care, and a growing economy.

Providing these and countless other services to the American people requires a Federal workforce that is talented, well-trained, and engaged in the workplace, is led by executives who inspire and motivate, and draws from the rich diversity of the people it serves.

The President is committed to supporting the model Federal workforce. In his proclamation on Public Service Recognition Week, the President said:

“In the face of difficult challenges, public servants give new life to the values that bind our Nation together. Civil servants are scientists and teachers, social workers and first responders -- they are the leaders of today's progress and the innovators of tomorrow's breakthroughs. With determination and resolve, they defend our country overseas and work to widen the circle of opportunity and prosperity here at home. And despite tough circumstances -- including pay freezes, budget cuts, sequestration, and a political climate that too often does not sufficiently value their work -- these exceptional leaders continue to make real the fundamental truth that people who love their country can change it.

With more than 2 million civilian workers and more than 1 million active duty service members, our Federal workforce represents extraordinary possibility. Our Government can and must be a force for good, and together, we can make sure our democracy works for all Americans. We know there are some things we do better when we join in common purpose, and with hard work and a commitment worthy of our Nation's potential, we can keep our country safe, guarantee basic security, and ensure everyone has a shot at success.“

We could not agree more. Federal service attracts people who are passionate about what they do. The mission of their agencies and their commitment to serving the American people are what drives them. And they come from – and work in – every corner of the country, reflecting the rich diversity and talent of this great country.

From the recent college graduate to the mid-career professional to the soon-to-be retiree, our employees are here to make a difference and to serve their country.

As we kick off Public Service Recognition Week, we hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on how America’s Federal workforce makes your life better each and every day.  And we hope you’ll join the President in recognizing the hard work and dedication of our nation’s public servants. They deserve our gratitude and appreciation.

Katherine Archuleta is the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Beth Cobert is the Deputy Director for Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget.


Tonight is the Washington National’s “Salute to Public Service” game, and I’m excited to share the names of the five Federal employees I’ve asked to join me on the field when I throw out the first pitch.

For this year’s Public Service Recognition Week, OPM, with the support of a group of Excellence in Government fellows, decided to shine a light on something each and every employee does the first day on the job -- take the oath of office.

Being a Federal employee is about more than having a job. The #HonorTheOath campaign reminds us of the commitment each and every Federal employee makes when she or he begins a new job in the U.S. government.

Each of these individuals submitted a video explaining how they #HonorTheOath of office each day through serving the American people. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating them on when the Washington Nationals play the Miami Marlins this evening.

Francisco Leija, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, joined the White House Fellow program and the Department of Homeland Security after bravely serving his country during many tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He chose a life of public service to honor his parents, who immigrated to the United States seeking a better life for their family.

Margaret Miller Lenart is the recipient of multiple Director’s Awards at the Office of Personnel Management, where she works in Human Resources Solutions. She is passionate about helping other Federal agencies carry out their missions, recognizing that although she is “a little part in a big government…every day, [she helps] in a big way.”

Gail Morgado serves the Department of State in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, Office of Overseas Operations. In the midst of working in South Sudan during their self-determination vote, Gail was thrilled to be able to return to Washington, D.C. to take her oath of office in the presence of her family.

Michael Odle is a Public Affairs Specialist for the National Indian Gaming Commission in the Department of the Interior. As both a member of the Federal civil service and the Armed Forces, Michael believes it is his duty to represent and serve the American people.

Yajaira Sierra-Sastre is a researcher at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Department of the Treasury. Prior to joining the Bureau, she was part of a six-person crew that participated in a four-month-long Mars analog mission funded by NASA. She is excited to use her knowledge of science and technology to secure U.S. currency at home and abroad.

Simply put, the submissions from these devoted Federal employees inspired me. Their passion for their country, their stellar work ethic, and their pledge to the American people reminds me of why I am so fortunate to be the Director of OPM. If you have a story to share, I encourage you to participate at

Let’s make PSRW a true celebration of America’s workforce. Thank you again to all of the women and men who make our country strong.

Director Archuleta practices her pitch for the Washington Nationals PSRW game.

As the celebration of Public Service Recognition Week quickly approaches, I’d like to tell you about an exciting opportunity for you to connect with fellow Federal employees that could possibly land you a spot next to me on the field at Nationals Park!

Starting this week, OPM, in collaboration with Excellence in Government fellows from the Partnership for Public Service, is inviting Federal employees to record and submit 30-to-60 second videos that answer the question, “How do you honor the oath of office each day?”

Despite our differing roles across government, we are all connected by our oath of office. On our first day as Federal employees, we did more than start a new job. We responded to the call to serve the American people. From scientists addressing global energy challenges to doctors serving America’s veterans to inspectors keeping our food safe, we share the oath we took to support and defend the Constitution of this great country.

And as Federal employees who work hard each and every day to serve the American people, we live and honor that oath. The #HonorTheOath campaign is your opportunity to tell us why you chose a career in public service, what the oath of office means to you, and what you do each day to honor that oath.

And the best part is, I’m going to invite five Federal employees, whose #HonorTheOath videos best represent the spirit of Public Service Recognition Week, to join me on the field as I throw out the opening pitch for the Washington Nationals “Salute to Public Service” game next Monday, May 4.

So get your cameras rolling and tell me, how do you #HonorTheOath? Submit your video today at The deadline for participating in the video challenge is 12:00 noon ET on Friday, May 1.

A quick note: The invited Federal employees will be responsible for their transportation to the ballpark and for getting tickets to the game.

What a week!

This year we took Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) to a new level. Each year, PSRW is our opportunity to thank Federal employees for all of the work they do for the American people. This year we did things just a little differently.

We went big on social media. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram we asked Federal employees to thank their colleagues, friends, and neighbors using the hashtag #FEDSpirit. We received so many creative, funny, and heartfelt thank you’s.

On Tuesday I was invited to throw out the first pitch at National’s Park as a part of Federal Employee Recognition Night. We invited five of the employees that were recognized for their #FEDSpirit to join me on the field for the first pitch. While it wasn’t the best night for our home team, it was a truly great night out with each other.

You don’t see that every day.

And right here in OPM we’ve been showing our spirit throughout the building and in our offices around the country. We’ve been taking pictures showing off our #FEDSpirit. We’ve shared food and ice cream. And we’ve taken the time to give our employees brown bags, webcasts, and other useful information. These kinds of activities didn’t just happen here. Every government agency honored their Federal employees in their own way.

It’s important to honor not only the work Federal employees do, but the people who do it. The people who care for our veterans, manage federal programs, and fight forest fires. The people who keep our skies safe, our water clean, and our mail flowing. The people who discover new medicines, protect our children, and represent us around the world.

They put in the extra effort to get the job done. 

I wrote an Op-Ed this week to highlight their great work. Variations of it ran in the Washington Post and in other newspapers around the country.

I’ve been traveling the country for the past few months meeting with Federal employees from nearly every agency and hearing their concerns, their dreams, and their ideas. And I always say thank you.

I am getting the word out in every way I can. I want Federal employees to know just how much they matter.

I don’t believe we should thank our Federal workforce only once a year. All our Federal employees deserve thanks and recognition year round.  

So join me. Help us keep it up. Take time to thank you colleagues, your friends, and your neighbors.

I am so honored to lead such a dedicated, talented and strong workforce.

Happy PSRW. Thank you for all you do each and every day.

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