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Federal Diary

Two Groups Join to Spotlight Public Service

By Stephen Barr
Monday, March 28, 2005; Page B02

There's a new partnership in the federal community.

The Public Employees Roundtable, created in 1982, and the Council for Excellence in Government, founded a year later, have teamed up to strengthen their efforts to celebrate the importance of public service.

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It was not until the early 20th century that the Senate enacted rules allowing members to end filibusters and unlimited debate. How many votes were required to invoke cloture when the Senate first adopted the rule in 1917?

The goal is "to put our resources together and think bigger so we can have more impact. That is how this partnership has been conceived," said Patricia McGinnis, president of the nonpartisan council.

The two groups signed the necessary documents this year to consolidate their operations but retain their identities -- creating the Public Employees Roundtable at the Council for Excellence in Government.

Kirke Harper, chairman of the roundtable's board, said the group "saw we needed a programmatic partner. The Council for Excellence in Government is a strong, vibrant organization."

The two groups will join in sponsoring this year's Public Service Recognition Week, an annual celebration of local, state and federal employees and their work. This year's celebration will be held May 2-8 nationwide. Opening ceremonies for the event will be May 5 on the Mall.

"We are focusing on Public Service Recognition Week in a big way," McGinnis said. "I think there will be some new things that will please the public servants that we are recognizing."

Carl Fillichio, a vice president at the council, has been named executive director for the combined operations. Helping him manage operations is Adam Bratton, the roundtable's manager for Public Service Recognition Week.

The roundtable has a membership of 32 organizations representing more than 3 million public employees. It has operated as a volunteer organization supported by more than 100 federal agencies in the Washington area, including the Defense Department. Despite broad support for the roundtable, many agencies are operating with tighter budgets, face a number of competing priorities and sometimes are reluctant to lend executives for outside projects.

The Council for Excellence in Government, founded by business leaders who had served in government, has steadily grown. It has 700 members who have served and retain a keen interest in government. The council runs a fellows program; helps conduct orientation briefings for White House appointees; organizes conferences on emerging issues, such as homeland security; sponsors public opinion polls; and helps administer annual innovation in government awards.

The partnership comes just a few months after the Private Sector Council, which arranges for corporate executives to provide advice to federal agencies, moved into the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit group focused on revitalizing federal hiring and other practices.

"There is movement among good government groups to leverage strength," Fillichio said. "We may be entering an era of very thoughtful mergers and partnerships in the good government community. I think we are going to see more of this."

Added McGinnis, "We see it as a win-win for public service and each of our organizations."


The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the Labor Department will lose two of its top managers the same day. Harold M. Busch, director of program operations, will retire April 2 after 32 years of federal service, including 10 years in the Senior Executive Service. Heidi Dalzell-Finger, deputy director of program operations, will retire after more than 35 years of federal service.

Florence Gregory, a printing specialist with the Internal Revenue Service's media and publications organization, will retire March 31 after 49 years of government service. Her friends and co-workers plan to honor her at a celebration March 29.

Peggy McGee, director of the National Cemetery Administration's communications management service, will retire March 31 after more than 27 years of federal service.

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