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News Release

Friday, April 30, 2004
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Discusses Emergency Preparedness Efforts with Chicago Federal Executive Board Chair

James says, "FEBs play a key role in emergency planning efforts throughout the nation."

Chicago, IL. -- Recognizing that the majority of Federal employees are located outside the Washington D.C. metro area, many of whom are crucial to the nation's emergency preparedness efforts, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James met today with Chicago Federal Executive Board (FEB) Chair James Martin and Vice Chair Martin Baumgaertner to discuss the FEB's role in emergency planning. James also discussed Federal activities that are underway to coordinate agencies' responses in the event of an emergency.

James emphasized the need for FEBs to be fully involved in emergency planning efforts, saying, "The role of the FEB in emergency planning is crucial, as agencies ensure they are prepared for a natural or man-made disaster. The FEB serves as the conduit to Federal agencies and employees, as well as the American people. The Chicago FEB is an example of an organization dedicated to excellence," James said.

Today's meeting gave Director James, Chair Martin and Vice Chair Baumgaertner an opportunity to discuss the progress Federal agencies in the metro-Chicago area and nation-wide have made with regard to their emergency preparedness efforts. James also focused on areas showing the greatest need for improvement, as Federal agencies determine how to best implement emergency preparedness systems and plans.

James shared highlights of this year's governmentwide Emergency Preparedness Survey, which highlights the need for agencies to focus more heavily on practicing shelter-in-place an evacuation drills regularly and on using telework for employees during an emergency. This spring, to assist agencies in their efforts, OPM will host two government-wide trainings addressing the areas where the greatest need for improvement exists.

"OPM is committed to the development and implementation of systems and protocols that will measure agencies' successes in their efforts to keep America safe in the event of national emergencies or threats to the homeland," James said. "In the days ahead, FEB leaders will heighten their focus on reshaping their work to meet the new challenges to the nation's security. Working together on new and existing systems will help transform the preparedness of the Federal government in times of emergency and help ensure that our employees are both safe and ready to respond."

Established in 1961, Federal Executive Boards link Washington and Federal employees nationwide on government policy and initiatives. Roughly 90 percent of Federal employees work outside the nation's capital.

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