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Congress approved a cost of living increase for Federal retirees.
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As I work with the President to build a world-class Federal management team, I have launched an important series of meetings that we are calling Thought Leader Talks.
The three-part series is bringing together inspired and innovative leaders from a wide array of sectors -- government, business, good government groups, academia, and global organizations -- to discuss the future of executive leadership. These discussions will give us an opportunity to leverage our combined expertise to advance senior leadership for the Federal government. We will work together to not only address the challenges we are currently facing, but also to share best practices from our individual worlds.
During our inaugural session on September 12, we discussed the future of leadership. Specifically, we explored the qualities successful leaders need and ways to succeed in tight fiscal times. We also discussed the difficulties of engaging multiple generations of employees.
The meeting quickly zeroed in on millennials. They are the future of the Federal workforce and of the leadership of that workforce. We addressed our responsibility to recruit them to public service and to prepare them to take over for the current generation. We know from studies that these young people are driven by a desire to make a difference in the world. They want to help people and bring change in the policy areas they care about. In short, they are perfect for public service. Now we need to tackle the challenges of bringing them on board.
At our meetings in October and November, we will address two additional topics: ways to develop leaders using simulations of actual workplace situations and the future of assessment and performance. Both discussions are vital to understanding how we develop the strongest leadership teams possible, which is a key priority for the President and for me.
I am thrilled that these meetings are bringing together a diverse and talented group of leaders to tackle such an important topic. Regardless of our missions, we all face many of the same complex challenges. We all have a need for excellence in leadership. Together, we will continue to combine our unique expertise, experiences, and perspectives to move us toward a future that raises the bar for leaders, for the Federal workforce, and for executive performance across the nation.
As we launch the 2014 Combined Federal Campaign, I’m excited to let you know about a new feature this year that will make it possible for all Federal employees to give to the causes and charities you care about, regardless of where these organizations are located.
Year after year, Federal employees have been incredibly generous in giving to the CFC. Since the first campaign was conducted in 1964, Federal employees have contributed more than $7 billion to the charities of their choice. Last year alone, more than 800,000 Federal employees donated about $209 million. This force for good has made a real impact on so many lives.
This year marks the launch of “universal giving” in the CFC. This means that you are no longer limited to donating to the charities listed on your local CFC Charity List. You can now choose from more than 24,000 participating charities throughout the United States and overseas. Each of these organizations has been vetted by Federal employees, so you can be confident that they meet the CFC eligibility requirements and public accountability standards.
The CFC has simplified things by adding an online search function to its website. You can search using a charity’s five-digit CFC code, its name, keywords, taxonomy code, or all of the these elements. You can even limit the administrative and fundraising rates of the charities you view.
I am particularly excited about Universal Giving because it will allow me the opportunity to support charities in my hometown in Colorado that have assisted my family and neighbors over the years.
This addition will also allow military service members and civilian employees whose jobs take them overseas or to various stations around the country to donate to their hometown CFC charities or to any CFC cause in the nation that they choose.
Please take a moment to search for your favorite charities or the causes you care about. I hope that as you have in the past, you will consider joining me and our colleagues in supporting the nonprofit community through the CFC, the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. You CAN make a difference!
I’m happy to report that today OPM issued a regulation that gives us another way to honor our fallen Federal employees by providing their loved ones with an American flag to pay tribute to their service and to their ultimate sacrifice.
I know that many agencies and Federal employees have supported the creation of the Flag Recognition Benefit for Fallen Federal Civilian Employees, which provides this tangible symbol of our appreciation and respect for their loved one’s service and dedication.
Thursday is a National Day of Service and Remembrance. We will pause to recall the sacrifices of the Americans we lost on September 11, 2001. I hope we also take a moment to honor the sacrifices of the members of our Federal family who gave their lives on that tragic day. And we must remember that Federal employees throughout the nation and the world have lost their lives while serving the American public.
I encourage loved ones who would like to receive a flag to contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the employee worked. The benefit applies only to employees who died on or after December 20, 2011, when the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011 took effect. The law authorizes an agency to provide only a single flag on behalf of a deceased Federal civilian employee as a way to express the nation’s deepest sympathy and gratitude.
The final regulations describe the eligibility requirements and explain the procedures for requesting a flag. OPM has also prepared a guidance document that will be sent to agencies immediately.
So I hope all Federal employees will review the details of this benefit. If you know of a loved one who bravely served for our country and has passed away, please contact the personnel office of the Federal agency where the deceased Federal employee worked.
And as always, thank you to all of our Federal employees for the work you do for the American people each and every day.
Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? Over the next several weeks, the nation will join together to learn the best ways to prepare for disasters and emergencies, particularly those close to home.
This year’s theme, “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,” reminds us that we need to do more than just learn how to be prepared. We all need to act now to make emergency plans, talk to family and friends, and get the supplies and equipment we need to be prepared.
Here in Washington, D.C., we are used to preparing for snow and ice storms that sometimes shut down the capital city during the unpredictable winter months. But as the derecho storm, Hurricane Sandy, in 2012 and the earthquake in 2011 taught us, we never know when an emergency will hit. And no matter what time of year it is, or what part of the country you are in, it is important to prepare at work, at home, and in your communities.
Maybe that means having a conversation with your family about making sure you have a central place to meet, or talking to your co-workers about workplace evacuation, it’s crucial to think ahead so that you can react immediately when a real emergency occurs.
Throughout September, the website Ready.gov and Federal agencies across government will be sharing resources, tips, and tools. Agencies are also being asked to educate and prepare employees for emergencies, both throughout this month and on the National Preparathon! Day of Action on September 30.
OPM is a national partner in the National Prepareathon! and we are excited to do all we can to spread the word about what to do during disasters. Here at OPM, we’ll be hosting an awareness series for our employees specifically focused on earthquake preparedness. As we found out in 2011, while earthquakes may be rare in our area, it is important for everyone to know what to what to do in the moment to stay safe.
I hope you will join us. Take this month to talk to your families and your co-workers. Make plans, ask questions, and seek out the resources you need. Join in the conversation on social media using hashtag #NatlPrep and check out Ready.gov.
There’s no good time for an emergency but it’s always a good time to get prepared for one.
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