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News Release

Monday, January 10, 2005
Contact: Scott Hatch
Tel: 202-606-2402

Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James Submits Letter of Resignation

Washington, D.C.United States Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James today submitted her letter of resignation to President George W. Bush effective January 31, 2005. Director James' original appointment by the President was announced on March 21, 2001, and James was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the United States Senate on July 11, 2001.

James stated, "The opportunity to serve President George W. Bush and the nation is a high honor. The President and his entire family have always been extremely supportive of my commitment to public service and I remain forever grateful for their many kindnesses and their trust in my abilities. I deeply respect and admire the President's personal courage, his focus on results over process and his demonstrated record of decisive leadership based on principle."

Commenting on the Federal civil service, James said, "I have been privileged to lead the American civil service during a period of great change, especially after the horrific events of September 11th. Public service is a noble profession and our Federal employees are true patriots charged with defending our homeland and servicing the taxpayer, often in the face of great personal sacrifice and danger."

Reflecting on her departure, James said, "Theodore Roosevelt once said ‘Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.' I have had the opportunity over the past three and a half years to lead a civil service team that worked very hard to elevate performance and results over outdated systems through President Bush's management agenda - and that is a special prize only a few experience." In regard to what James may consider after OPM, she said, "I intend to work equally hard and will look for opportunities that allow me to maintain a voice in national policy discussions while participating in private and non-profit solutions designed to improve the lives of our fellow citizens and further meaningful reforms."

Director James served as the primary advisor to the President on all issues regarding pay, benefits and personnel policies for the nation's 1.8 million Federal workers and over 2.6 million retirees and annuitants. As the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, Director James managed the largest employee health care and life insurance programs in the nation. During her tenure, James led Bush Administration efforts to implement major new Federal employee benefit programs including Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Savings Accounts and Long Term Care Insurance. James also directed the staff and systems responsible for conducting nearly 80 percent of the nation's personnel security background checks.

In 2002, James played a central role in Bush Administration efforts to conduct the largest government merger since World War II through the consolidation of 22 agencies representing 180,000 employees, 15 different basic pay systems and 17 separate labor unions into the new Department of Homeland Security. Working in close coordination with DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, James launched the collaborative process used for developing the new personnel system for the agency. In 2004, as called for in the National Security Personnel System legislation, Director James and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld began the process for transforming the Department of Defense personnel system under which 700,000 employees work.

Director James managed the Office of Personnel Management human capital efforts under the President's Management Agenda Scorecard -- a process designed to review and grade Federal Cabinet and independent agency efforts to link human capital recruitment and succession planning to agency needs and revised missions. As the Chair of the newly-formed Chief Human Capital Officers Council, James also led Federal efforts to implement government-wide policies that linked pay and performance, increased workforce safety, and improved agency succession planning.

Prior to her appointment by President Bush, James served as the Director of the Citizenship Project at The Heritage Foundation and held several appointments under President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. James also served on a number of corporate boards and as the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia under then-Governor George Allen.

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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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