John Berry was sworn in as the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on April 13, 2009. Nominated by President Barack Obama, Berry was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
As Director, Berry serves as the chief architect of the human resources agenda for 1.9 million Federal employees nationwide. Among his primary responsibilities are crafting improved Federal recruitment strategies, expediting the hiring process for Federal positions, and attracting a diverse group of men and women with a rich mix of talents to serve America in the civil service.
Berry has a solid familiarity with the issues, challenges and opportunities affecting the Federal workforce, as well as a good understanding of the challenges faced by OPM. He has had extensive experience on Capitol Hill, serving nearly 10 years (1985 – 1994) with Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) where he was primarily responsible for Federal employee and retiree issues. During that time, he played a key role in developing the Federal employee locality pay system which remains in use today.
Prior to accepting the OPM appointment, Berry was the Director of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. from 2005 to 2009. As Director of the Zoo, Berry was responsible for a small "city" with over 800 staff (Federal, Friends of the National Zoo, security and facilities), 2,000 animals, and a research program which conducts groundbreaking work in conservation biology and welcomes nearly three million visitors a year. During his tenure as Director, Berry addressed numerous management challenges such as fire safety, and implemented a strategic plan and 20-year capital master plan. As a result of his leadership, over $100 million in capital renovations are now under construction at this public facility.
From 2000 to 2005, Berry served as the Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit organization providing grants enhancing habitat for wildlife and developing creative partnerships benefitting wildlife.
Between 1997 – 2000, Mr. Berry served as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the Department of the Interior. As Assistant Secretary, Berry served as both Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for a Department of 66,000 employees. Berry successfully launched a Presidential Initiative called "Lands Legacy," created the DOI University for employee and manager training, improved employee morale, enhanced working conditions, rehabilitated Interior's budgetary position and improved diversity in every Bureau of the Department.
In 1995, Berry also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement at the Treasury Department with responsibility for managing 40 percent of Federal law enforcement, including direct line supervision over the Customs Service, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; IRS Criminal Investigations and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
Berry lives in Washington, D.C. with his partner, Curtis Yee. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in government and politics. In 1981, he earned a master's degree in public administration from Syracuse University.