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News Release

April 25, 2002

Contact: Edmund Byrnes
(202) 606-2402

Director Kay Coles James Discusses Her Vision for OPM
and the Importance of the President's Management Agenda
Address is presented at a special meeting at the National Press Club

Washington, D.C.
- With determined words, the Director of the US Office of Personnel Management, Kay Coles James, addressed the vital importance of implementing the President's Management Agenda (PMA). James, who appeared at the invitation of columnist John "Sergeant Shaft" Fales, reaffirmed her commitment to the reformation of the federal work force so that it can meet the challenges of the 21st century.

"By implementing the President's agenda, we will be able to attract the best and brightest, people with fresh ideas and who understand that government service is a noble calling and not just a job," said James. "We must be prepared for the future, especially in light of the fact that the government may lose up to 40 percent of the work force due to retirements over the next five years."

The PMA lays out President Bush's plan to give managers the tools they need to ensure that government becomes "citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-based." Specifically, the goals of the plan are to push decision-making down to the managerial level, to allow managers to make decisions regarding their own employees, and to free managers and employees from the micro-management and archaic rules that have "plagued and characterized federal service for too long."

"By giving managers greater flexibility in hiring, training, and compensating their employees, we allow them to be more responsive and nimble in their service to the needs of the American people," said James. "We give them the tools to get the right people, at the right time, with the right skills to get the job done for the American people."

And not forgetting where many of the best and brightest come from, James restated her strong support of Veterans' Preference, a hiring law that gives credit for serving in the military.

"I count it a high honor to be charged with protecting the principles upon which the federal civil service was built, including protecting Veterans' Preference," said James. "It is the law, and when you consider the sacrifices made by men and women who don uniforms and travel to foreign lands to fight for freedom, I count it a privilege to defend."

By passionately explaining her beliefs about where the government is going and what it protects, James has set a course for a new federal work force, one that is supported by all who know that fresh ideas must be listened to and acted upon.

James was joined at the head table by John Idoni, Chief Petty Officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Idoni, and USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Thomas O'Hanlon, participated in a rousing welcome at OPM's Theodore Roosevelt building today following their recent record-breaking deployment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Also attending were representatives of the major national veterans organizations.

The full text of James' speech is found at the National Press Club's web site,

- END -

OPM oversees the federal work force and provides the American public with up-to-date employment information. OPM also 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.

United States Office of Personnel Management

Theodore Roosevelt Building
1900 E Street, NW, Room 5347
Washington, DC 20415-1400

Phone: (202) 606-2402
FAX: (202) 606-2264