The federal family needs greater diversity.
Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry made that point in two speeches this week, one to the Senior Executive Association in Washington and another on Tuesday to the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE), meeting in Tulsa, Okla.
In his prepared remarks to the executives, he said diversity and inclusion are next up on OPM’s agenda.
“We need to do better on that government-wide, and we need your help,” he said. “The Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program report we just released shows that we’re making some progress, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Numbers for Native Americans, however, are better than might be expected given their percentage in the general workforce. According to the equal opportunity report, they are 0.6 percent of the civilian workforce, but 1.8 percent of the federal workforce and 0.9 percent of senior level employees.
Berry asked SAIGE “to work closely with OPM on expanding the pipeline for American Indians and Alaskan Natives in to SES (Senior Executive Service).”
Berry used his time with the senior executives to give a pep talk to federal employees who have been targeted by conservative critics seeking to cut federal compensation more than the two-year pay freeze already does.
Berry said “decades of using public employees as a punching bag have come to a head....The slings and arrows are misguided, wrong-headed, and downright offensive. They hinder the very goals they purport to advance.
“But we can rise above them. We can look past them. We can focus on our mission.”