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News Release

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Associate Director Tells Federal Managers of the Bush Administration's Respect of Their Leadership and Performance

Says OPM Director Kay Coles James insists HR reforms will be linked to observance of veterans' preference

Washington, D.C. -- A senior executive from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management today credited federal managers for implementing human resources reforms of the Bush Administration which have made the government better prepared to support a post-9/11 America.

“Many of these changes are historic; most of these changes will affect all federal employees; all of these changes are necessary,” said Ron Sanders, who spoke on behalf of OPM Director Kay Coles James at the 66th Annual National Convention and Management Training Seminar of the Federal Managers Association. “And none of these changes would have been made possible without your hard work and the equally magnificent efforts of federal managers such as yourselves throughout government.”

Acknowledging their heroism, Sanders said the leadership of federal managers among those they have “mentored and managed” over the last 30 months is likely responsible for thwarting an untold number of terrorist attacks and saving countless lives.

He also commended federal managers for their diligence in getting 180,000 employees from 22 diverse agencies working together at the Department of Homeland Security. He said their efforts would be a model for future significant HR changes.

Under the National Security Personnel System, OPM and the Department of Defense are jointly tasked by Congress to develop a modern personnel system for DOD civilian personnel. Sanders said “OPM Director James is firmly committed to assisting Secretary Rumsfeld and Navy Secretary Gordon England in developing a new and more responsive personnel system.”

OPM also is working with the Central Intelligence Agency to review and advance potential changes in pay and HR systems. With changes in major human resources systems, Sanders quoted Director James in a message that is welcome news to veterans and current servicemen and servicewomen.

“And as part of this change... it is all the more important that we adhere to those fundamentals which do not change -- the foundational principles of our merit system. I take very seriously my solemn responsibility to protect a system in which individual merit and a person’s honesty and capacity to do a job are prized as honorable assets -- where Prohibited Personnel Practices are prevented and Veterans’ Preferences are honored.”

Sanders said managers and employees have benefited from the Bush Administration’s Management Agenda, which has helped them focus on the President’s commitment of bringing results to America’s taxpayers.

“What really matters in the end,” said Sanders quoting President Bush, “is competition... performance... results. Not just making promises, but making good on promises. Progress is good, but results are better.”

In this spirit, OPM recently has been recognized for its hiring of 17 members of the Senior Executive Service through an accelerated hiring model which has been offered to agencies governmentwide.

Sanders later recognized OPM’s efforts to promote federal public service careers among the college population and said the proposed Human Capital Performance Fund -- which pays top dollar to top-performing employees -- would help attract new employees and improve performance.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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