Obama to nominate Katherine Archuleta as next OPM director

Thursday - 5/23/2013, 9:13am EDT

President Barack Obama will nominate Katherine Archuleta today to be the next director of the Office of Personnel Management, a White House official told Federal News Radio.

If confirmed, Archuleta would replace John Berry, whose term ended in April.

"Katherine brings to the Office of Personnel Management broad experience and a deep commitment to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people," President Obama said in a statement. "I am grateful Katherine has agreed to serve, and I look forward to working with her in the coming years."

ABC News first reported the President's decision to nominate Archuleta.

This will be the second tour of duty in the Obama administration and a third tour in government service for Archuleta. Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis appointed her chief of staff in 2009. Archuleta also served as chief of staff for Transportation Secretary Federico Peńa in the Clinton administration.

Archuleta left Labor in 2011 to be the national political director for the Obama reelection campaign. She also worked as a senior policy advisor for the mayor of Denver.

She comes into the government at a time when employee morale is down because of the three-year pay freeze, the suspension of bonuses and the constant bashing by members of Congress.

At the same time, her plate will be full with ongoing initiatives. OPM has been leading efforts to improve hiring of federal workers, change the appraisal and onboarding processes for members of the Senior Executive Service, and the continued struggle to reduce the retirement claims backlog.

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) called for "swift" Senate action to approve Archulet's nomination.

"In the midst of a three-year pay freeze, increased pension contributions for new hires, furloughs of half of the federal workforce, and a new wave of retiring federal employees, it is important to build on former Director John Berry's strong leadership at OPM," NARFE National President Joseph Beaudoin said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our close relationship with OPM in maintaining a strong federal workforce."

In replacing the popular Berry, Archuleta will have her work cut out as there's a growing acceptance that the General Schedule needs updating and major changes could be on the way for federal health benefits.

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