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Federal Diary

Lawmaker From Booming Nevada to Head House Civil Service Panel

By Stephen Barr
Friday, February 4, 2005; Page B02

Rep. Jon C. Porter, a Nevada Republican, will become the next chairman of the House civil service subcommittee, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) said yesterday.

Porter was elected in 2002 to represent a district newly created because of the rapid population growth in southern Nevada. About 6,700 federal employees live in his district, and Porter has a firm grasp of retiree issues, Hill aides said.

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The civil service subcommittee is part of the House Government Reform Committee, which Davis chairs. The subcommittee deals with an array of issues -- including federal employee and retiree benefits, federal pay and agency reorganizations.

"Davis thinks [Porter is] the perfect member to handle the vital, sensitive matters confronting the civil service," committee spokesman David Marin said.

The subcommittee has been without a chairman since August, when Rep. Jo Ann S. Davis (R-Va.) resigned to take a seat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Porter serves on the House Education and Workforce Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In Congress, he has sponsored legislation to create "back to work" accounts that the unemployed can use to cover expenses during job hunts, such as child care and transportation. He has pushed the Department of Homeland Security to improve its consultation with the tourism industry on security matters.

Parts of Las Vegas are in Porter's district. So are Henderson, one of the nation's fastest-growing cities in the 1990s, and Boulder City, built for workers helping construct the Hoover Dam. The district also includes Lake Mead and Red Rock Canyon.

Porter has served in the Nevada Senate and as a City Council member and mayor of Boulder City. At the state and local level, Porter has worked on school construction, environmental preservation in southern Nevada and prescription drug benefits for the elderly. The Almanac of American Politics describes Porter as "a consensus-building moderate."

Porter, 49, was born in Humboldt, Iowa, and attended Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa. He began his career as an insurance agent. Aides said Porter enjoys music (he keeps a electronic keyboard in his office) and outdoor activities (in October 2003, he ran in the Marine Corps Marathon).

AFGE to Rally

The regulation isn't out, but the protest is on.

More than 600 members of the American Federation of Government Employees will be streaming into Washington this weekend for an annual legislative conference and a Tuesday morning march on Capitol Hill to protest Pentagon plans to change civil service pay and personnel rules in the Defense Department.

Scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday on the Pentagon plan are John Gage, president of AFGE; John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO; Ron Ault, president of the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department; Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers; David Holway, president of the National Association of Government Employees; and Richard Brown, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

The proposed regulation, which would likely curb union activities at Defense, will be released this month, administration officials said. A coalition of unions representing Defense employees plans to file a lawsuit to stop the pay and personnel changes, AFGE said.


Robert P. Clark, chief of financial product support for the U.S. Courts, retired Jan. 3 after more than 33 years of federal service.

Norman R. Mau, a budget analyst with the office of the assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management, retired Jan. 3 after 35 years of federal service.

Jeffrey M. Weber, associate commissioner for management and chief financial officer at the Food and Drug Administration, retired yesterday after 34 years of federal service. He spent 29 years at the Justice Department and five years at the FDA.

Talk Shows

Zack Gaddy, director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, will be the guest on "The Business of Government Hour" at 9 a.m. tomorrow on WJFK radio (106.7 FM).

"Diversity and Black History Month" will be the topic on the Imagene B. Stewart call-in program at 8 a.m. Sunday on WOL radio (1450 AM).

Staff writer Christopher Lee contributed to this column. Stephen Barr's e-mail address is barrs@washpost.com.

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