Berry: Debt proposals won't dampen feds' giving spirit

Wednesday - 9/21/2011, 4:51pm EDT

John Berry, OPM Director

Download mp3

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Federal employees donated 5.7 million pounds of food in this summer's Feds Feed Families food drive — nearly tripling the 2 million pound goal.

"This was a phenomenal concerted effort," said John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Berry said he thinks feds will continue to donate at high levels in future drives, despite a two-year pay freeze and other proposals that could cut their pay and benefits.

This week President Obama unveiled his recommendations to the deficit reduction commission. Among his proposals was a 1.2 percent increase in feds' retirement contributions.

Berry said the proposal was a fair and reasonable one.

"We can't keep running the deficits that we're running. We need to tighten our belts. And federal employees knows they're going to be part of that picture," Berry said.

He added, "As long as it remains part of a shared sacrifice, it won't dampen the enthusiasm for these efforts, or our recruitment and retention of outstanding individuals."

Now in its third year, the Feds Feed Families food drive is a three-month summer campaign that sends nonperishable food to food banks across the country.

This year, more than 40 agencies participated in the drive. The Defense Department donated the most food at 2 million pounds, and Agriculture came in second at 1.7 million pounds.