Rep. Jo Ann S. Davis (R-Va.), who has looked out for the interests of federal employees while trying to move the government toward more flexible personnel practices, has resigned as chairman of the House civil service subcommittee to take a seat on the House intelligence committee.
Davis was appointed to the intelligence committee Tuesday, just in time to attend its hearing on the Sept. 11 commission's report and recommendations. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) chose her to replace a retiring member, Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-Neb.).
Congressional aides said that Rep. Edward L. Schrock (R-Va.) -- who represents eight military bases, including the Norfolk Navy base and Langley Air Force Base -- appeared to be the front-runner to succeed Davis.
The departure of Davis marks the second time that the civil service subcommittee has lost a chairman in the middle of a congressional session. Joe Scarborough, a Florida Republican, retired from the subcommittee in 2001 to spend more time with his two sons.
Davis made a quick mark on the subcommittee and has pushed the Bush administration to improve dental and vision benefits for employees, to speed up federal hiring procedures and to create a more fair system for compensating federal law enforcement officers.
She also has supported "pay parity" raises for the civil service and sponsored legislation that increased student loan reimbursements for federal employees. She sponsored the bill that revamped personnel rules at (and changed the name of) the Government Accountability Office.
Davis was a key player in the legislation creating the Defense Department's new personnel system. She insisted on legislative safeguards aimed at protecting basic employee rights and urged the Pentagon to provide a fair appeals process to employees facing discipline. She also pushed to have the Office of Personnel Management at the table when the regulations are written for the new system later this year.
Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, praised Davis for being fair and open-minded to differing views. "This is really a big loss for federal employees because she respects federal employees and the work that they do," Kelley said.
The civil service subcommittee is part of the House Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.). Committee spokesman Robert White said that Tom Davis is traveling abroad and that the committee would not have any comment on plans for the subcommittee.
Schrock was in his district yesterday and could not be reached for comment. His district includes Virginia Beach and parts of the cities of Hampton and Norfolk and counties on the Eastern Shore.
Doc Cooke Scholarship
Rodney McNutt, a lab technician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the District, has received the first scholarship awarded by the David O. "Doc" and Marion M. Cooke Memorial Scholarship Fund.
McNutt, a 21-year VA employee, is working on a bachelor's degree at George Mason University. He was presented with a $3,500 scholarship at a ceremony Wednesday.
The scholarship was created in 2002, shortly after the death of Doc Cooke, a Defense Department official popularly known as "the mayor of the Pentagon." It is one of several sponsored by the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund.
"My father was a very strong believer in education -- the joy of it and the benefits and value of it," Michele Cooke Sutton said. "He believed in investing in public servants."
In addition to the Cooke scholarship, the employee assistance fund awarded 53 other scholarships of $500 to $1,000 to Washington area students.
Latonia Parham of the Food and Drug Administration and Leslie Violette of the Agriculture Department, experts in employee and labor relations, will be the guests on "FEDtalk" at 11 a.m. today on federalnewsradio.com.
Mark E. Krzysko, deputy director of e-business for defense procurement and acquisition policy, will be the guest on "The Business of Government Hour" at 9 a.m. tomorrow on WJFK radio (106.7 FM).
"Is Your Agency Prepared for Disaster?" will be the topic for discussion on the Imagene B. Stewart call-in program at 8 a.m. Sunday on WOL radio (1450 AM).