Public Service Recognition Week highlights work of government employees

It’s Public Service Recognition Week, which means federal agencies, labor unions and a host of related groups will spend the week raising awareness of government employees and the work that they do.

The Public Employee Roundtable, a coalition of “good government organizations” that created Recognition Week 28 years ago, hosted its first-ever Public Service 5K on Sunday in Washington’s Anacostia Park, marking the start of this year’s slate of events.

As the week continues, leaders from all levels of government are expected to issue proclamations, host award ceremonies and deliver messages about the value of civil service.

The roundtable plans to gather footage of public employees talking about their work and its importance and post the videos on YouTube this week.

(Courtesy AFGE)
(Courtesy AFGE)

Federal-worker unions on Friday issued statements supporting Public Service Employee Week and urging lawmakers to oppose any proposals that would reduce federal-employee pay and benefits.

The American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union noted that federal workers have already sacrificed for deficit reduction with a federal salary freeze that has lasted several years and higher contributions toward retirement benefits for new hires.

“This is a tough time to be a federal employee,” said American Federation of Government Employees president J. David Cox.

Congress and President Obama this year approved a bill that continues the federal pay freeze through the remainder of the year.

The House this year also approved a budget resolution that would require federal employees to pay more toward their retirement benefits.

NTEU president Colleen M. Kelley touted the work federal employees do to protect the nation’s borders, natural resources, food supply and financial system. “They make sure that nuclear plants and materials are safe and secure, promote a healthier America, collect the taxes that make all this possible, and much more,” she said.

The NTEU has created a Web site to raise awareness of the work federal employees do.

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and Partnership for Public Service president and CEO Max Stier sent a joint memo in April urging the heads of executive agencies to tout the work of their employees to the general public.

“Public servants at all levels of government tackle immense challenges for our country each and every day,” the memo said. “Those challenges don’t pause when budgets tighten — they become more complex.”

The letter suggests a number of low- to no-cost ways agency leaders can participate in Public Service Recognition Week, from greeting employees at the door and thanking them for their work to blogging about accomplishments that demonstrate the value of their work.

 

For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, subscribe to his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comE-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · May 3, 2013