For this Labor Day, take a hint from the "krunchlist" as you gear up to return to work.

The krunchlist might help you come up with new ways of dealing with the boss, or your counterparts at other agencies, or with vendors trying to sell a service or product to your agency.

A "krunch," simply put, is a statement that encourages the other side to give you a concession. If life is all about compromise, then krunches can be an easy, effective technique.

James C. Thomas Jr., founder of Common Ground Seminars, based in Northern Virginia, and creator of the "Negotiate to Win" workshops, presented the krunchlist to participants of this year's Excellence in Government Conference at the Washington Convention Center.

Rather than make demands or counteroffers at the start, Thomas recommends krunches as a way to take stock of the other side without revealing your position.

In presenting his workshops across the nation for the past 15 years, Thomas has compiled a list of some of the better-known krunches.

There are "sweet, gentle krunches":

Where can we go from here? What can we do about this? That doesn't work for me. That really isn't what I expected. Budgets are tight. That's a little more than I want to spend. Work with me on this.

There are "middle-of-the-road krunches":

You've got to do better than that. I just couldn't bring that back to my boss. Run that by me again. That's just not right. I don't think we're communicating. That's out of my league. It'll never fly.

Krunches also come in regional and ethnic flavors, Thomas has found. Among his examples:

You're killing me! I'm dying! (New York) and That dog won't hunt (southern).

He's also found that nonverbal krunches can add zest to negotiations. They include feigning the motions of a heart attack, rolling eyes, looking at the ceiling and shaking your head back and forth.

Although negotiations can chew up time, Thomas believes they fulfill "the need of people to feel that they have influenced the outcome," even if in a small way.

He noted that krunches can be used to respond to krunches:

Make me an offer. What's it worth to you? What's your problem with it?

And that all-time favorite:

There's nothing more in the cookie jar.

Park Service Promotion

The appointment of Patricia A. Hooks to head the southeast region of the National Park Service is official, the agency has announced.

Park Service Director Fran P. Mainella said Hooks's promotion to the Senior Executive Service was approved by the Office of Personnel Management, allowing Hooks to formally take over the region, which is based in Atlanta.

Mainella's announcement that Hooks "has achieved all approvals" was made in an e-mail that Park Service spokesman David Barna sent late last month to colleagues.

Hooks had held the job on an acting basis since July 2003 and permanently since February.

Barna, in the e-mail, noted that Hooks is the first African American woman to become a regional director in the Park Service's 88-year history.

The southeast region includes the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Natchez Trace Parkway.

A Summer Filled With Retirements

Illana D. Banks, a marketing analyst at the Defense Technical Information Center at Fort Belvoir, retired June 26 after 39 years of federal service.

Jim Joyner, director of the division of resource management for Region 1 of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has retired. Joyner began working for the NRC's predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, in 1962.

Colin Klett, a program director for the Internal Revenue Service, retired July 2 after 34 years with the IRS. He also served three years as a communications officer in the Marine Corps, which included duty in Vietnam.

Ray Samuelson, senior operations adviser in the IRS small business/self-employed division, office of communications, retired July 3 after more than 30 years of federal service.

Tim Hurd, chief of media relations for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, retired July 2 after 37 years of federal service.

E-mail: barrs@washpost.com