Hoyer Thanks John Berry for His Service and Leadership

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Transcript: 

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a wonderful individual who has served our country in government service for many years and spent the last four overseeing our federal workforce as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management. I am speaking of my dear friend John Berry, who retired last week as Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

“America, Mr. Speaker, is blessed with a federal workforce composed of hard-working, talented, and dedicated men and women. Too often, however, their contributions are overlooked or even denigrated by those who would use our federal employees as an easy target to attack the institution of government. John Berry made it one of his central missions at OPM to stand up for federal workers’ achievements and remind the American people of the true value we get from recruiting and retaining the best public workforce in the world.

“He came to OPM with plenty of experience fighting for federal employees and their families. When he served for ten years as my Legislative Director, John was instrumental in crafting the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act and making sure Congress passed it into law. Mr. Speaker, that was a bipartisan law, and it was President George Bush, the first, who signed that piece of legislation into law in 1990. On that undertaking – and in many others – John Berry made a real difference for the more than 62,000 federal workers and everyone else who call my district home.

“Just as we look to our federal workers to watch out for us, our federal employees have looked to John to watch out for them – to make sure that they have a safe work environment, that their paychecks arrive on time, and that the benefits they earn are the ones they receive.

“Under President Clinton, John served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement at the Treasury Department, overseeing the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. And he later moved to the Interior Department, where he was Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget. Essentially, the manager of the Department of the Interior.

“Before coming to OPM, John spent nearly a decade working on conservation as Director of the Fish and Wildlife Foundation and then arguable the job he perhaps has enjoyed most, he became Director of the National Zoo. At the National Zoo, he was so successful at turning around a faltering institution that after he left, they named a lion in his honor. John indeed was a lion: a lion on behalf of the federal employees, a lion on behalf of good government, a lion on behalf of integrity.

“Those who know John can attest that he is not only a true leader and effective manager but also an incredibly warm person with an unfailingly positive outlook. Mr. Speaker, John Berry will be greatly missed by all who serve our country in its civilian workforce, and I wish John and his partner, Curtis, all the best as he begins the next phase in his career.

“I hope my colleagues will join me in thanking John for his service; for his leadership; for his insights; for his inspiration; and for being an example to all of us of a positive, constructive, supportive, and successful career in federal service. Mr. Speaker, our country has been the beneficiary of his character, integrity, and extraordinary ability. We wish him well in all that he will be doing and I'm sure it will be extraordinarily productive, and of service to our country, as he moves on from federal service at the OPM to a new challenge and a new career.”