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News Release

Friday, March 11, 2005
Contact: Edmund D. Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Acting Director Blair Thanks 1000 Senior Financial Managers, Auditors and Analysts for Achieving Bottom-Line Results

Address is given at the annual JFMIP conference

Washington, D.C. -- During his address at the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program's (JFMIP) 34th Annual Conference and Award Ceremony, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Dan G. Blair thanked the audience for the opportunity to discuss governmentwide progress in improving the federal government's financial management systems.

"I certainly want to congratulate each of you on the progress you have made to date turning the President's Management Agenda into a well-recognized success," said Blair. "It's already becoming a legacy of achievement for President Bush. You accepted the challenge to improve the management and performance of our government and in a short time, you have made tremendous accomplishments in improving both the timeliness and the quality of the financial information you provide."

In particular, Blair discussed the "human" aspect of the federal government and its programs. "I want to reflect on that for a few minutes as we focus on the people side of government. As you well know, it takes people to run the numbers and oversee the systems that are so critical to your job. The federal civil service is in the midst of a great transformation. We're discovering new and better ways to provide the services that our nation needs and expects. Just as the financial community has been doing, we are engaged in the pursuit of excellence.'

The cornerstone of OPM's efforts is the President's Management Agenda, which has served as both a guide and an inspiration in streamlining the management and performance of our government.

"There is no ambiguity in the President's challenge to us," said Blair. "The federal government needs to adapt to a rapidly changing world by becoming more citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-based. As a result, we will provide a higher level of service to the taxpayer."

OPM, as the President's chief advisor in human capital, has been the driver for the first item on the PMA - the strategic management of human capital.

Significant changes that have taken place over the last three years to update the federal civil service include assigning a senior official in every agency serving as the Chief Human Capital Officer and participating in regular CHCO council meetings, granting additional hiring flexibilities including a targeted, direct-hire authority for a several shortage of candidates or a critical hiring need, and providing leadership in streamlining the hiring process by developing hiring models for both General Schedule and SES positions.

"OPM is continuing to look for ways to streamline the process," said Blair. "We've made numerous recruitment tools available and now we have to work federal agencies - and you as managers - to make sure you take advantage of them. Once we have people on board, we have to make sure exceptional people have exceptional recognition and reward. New employee benefits like long term care insurance and flexible spending accounts will help keep us competitive in the labor market. We must be certain that no agency is left behind - or disadvantaged by a system that provides flexibilities to some agencies and not others. What we must never compromise, however, are the core values - the merit principles - on which our civil service is based."

In closing, Blair said: "The progress, the results and the record of excellence we have seen, could not have been made possible without you who serve in the civil service. In my mind, there can be no finer calling than to drive change and results for our Nation. Keep up the good work."

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.

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