Friday, April 03, 2009

HRC Press Release: Berry Confirmed

I received this press release from the Human Rights Campaign:

Human Rights Campaign Statement on Confirmation of John Berry as Director of the Office of Personnel Management

HRC President Joe Solmonese: “John Berry has an exemplary record of leadership in both the public and private sector.”

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, today praised the confirmation of John Berry as Director of the Office of Personnel Management. Berry, who previously served as director of the National Zoological Park, is the highest ranking, openly gay man to be appointed in the Obama administration.

“As the human resource agency for the federal government, OPM is responsible for implementing the Administration’s personnel policies. John Berry has an exemplary record of leadership in both the public and private sector. As Director of OPM we fully expect that he will apply federal employment policies fairly and equitably to all employees, including LBGT workers,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

At his confirmation hearing, Berry emphasized the need for the federal government to adopt policies which make it competitive with the private sector. Although the federal government has historically been a leader in providing strong employee benefits, it now lags behind the private sector because its lesbian and gay employees cannot take advantage of the high-quality family health insurance program and other benefits. By contrast, most Fortune 500 companies now reward their gay and lesbian workers equally for their equal contributions.

Before his time at the National Zoological Park, Berry was executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of the nation’s wildlife resources. Prior to joining the Wildlife Foundation, Berry served as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the Interior Department for three years.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

They also note that shortly after the House and Senate return from recess April 20, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act will re-introduced.

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