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News Release

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM and South Florida Federal Executive Board Brief Agency Leaders on HR Flexibilities for Use in Hiring and Emergency Preparedness

OPM Director James highlights need to keep Florida's 74,000-plus federal employees safe and on-the-job for essential services during terrorist attack

Washington, D.C. -- The federal government is looking to hire talented people into its Florida offices, and once on the employment rolls, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James wants to keep them safe in the event of an emergency, while maintaining essential operations.

Under James' direction, OPM and the South Florida Federal Executive Board (FEB) last week held a symposium for 50 managers, human resources professionals and other officials from 10 agencies to reinforce the use and value of personnel flexibilities that can be used to expedite the hiring of qualified veterans and students; other HR flexibilities, such as the use of telework and alternate workplace sites, can help officials plan for the continuity of operations during an emergency.

James has been firm in highlighting the need to use existing HR flexibilities in recruitment efforts, and OPM has hosted a number of symposiums in Washington for agency staff. As Chair of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, she also has made the case for flexibilities to top HR officials, as well as taken it directly to agency heads.

"Eighty-five percent of federal employees work outside of Washington, D.C., in cities big and small," James said recently. "With this in mind, it is important to have field meetings to help train recruiters and to prepare HR officials in case of challenge to our homeland that requires adjustments to employee safety measures or work environment."

As of March 2004, more than 74,300 federal Executive Branch employees worked throughout Florida, making the state home to the sixth-largest number of federal workers. 

The symposium's focus later turned to a discussion of the manpower and logistical needs agencies must consider during emergency preparedness planning and implementation. James has a primary role in communicating with agency leaders on contingency planning should the nation and government services be threatened by terrorist attack.

"Not only must the federal government be prepared to keep our employees safe, but we must be positioned to respond with continuity of service," said James. "And as America looked to its federal government for leadership after the September 11 attacks, we must be ever vigilant so that we can respond to the needs of our citizens and to our nation in times of challenge."

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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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