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News Release

Thursday, September 02, 2004
Contact: Brendan LaCivita
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Issues Memorandum to Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies in Advance of Hurricane Frances

Memorandum provides guidance on available personnel flexibilities

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James today issued a memorandum (attached) to the heads of executive departments and agencies on actions OPM is taking with respect to Hurricane Frances and its aftermath, and to reiterate various human resources personnel flexibilities already available.

"As you know, many people in the state of Florida and adjacent areas continue to suffer from the results of Hurricane Charley and are now confronted with additional potential loss and destruction from Hurricane Frances and its aftermath," James stated in the memorandum. "Many parts of the Federal Government already are being mobilized to respond to this disaster and to assist you in those relief and recovery efforts."

Consistent with President George W. Bush's recognition of the generosity and responsiveness of his team of federal employees, Director James strongly encouraged managers to grant excused absence to employees who are requested to assist in emergency law enforcement, relief, and clean-up efforts in affected communities authorized by federal, state, or other officials having jurisdiction, and whose participation in such activities has been approved by their employing agency. Additionally, Director James has asked that excused absence be granted to employees who are prevented from reporting for work or who are faced with a personal emergency because of the hurricane and its aftermath and who can be spared from their usual responsibilities.

"The anticipated severity of Hurricane Frances, coming so closely as it will on the destruction caused by Hurricane Charley, makes it absolutely essential that our federal managers have available the full range of human resources flexibilities to produce the most effective response," stated James.

Available personnel flexibilities include premium pay for employees performing emergency overtime work; emergency leave transfer; emergency critical hiring; Direct-Hire Authority; and other personnel flexibilities including private sector temporary employment and temporary competitive service appointments. Agencies also may request authority to conduct special solicitations for charitable contributions in support of victims of such emergencies and disasters.

James suggested agency Chief Human Capital Officers contact their OPM Human Capital Officer for needed assistance, and agency employees should contact their agency human resources office if they have questions or concerns regarding personnel matters.

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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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