John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, strongly defends President Obama’s executive order on federal workplace diversity in remarks planned for delivery Monday to the Blacks in Government (BIG) conference.

“Last week, President Obama catalyzed a giant leap forward with his signing of [the] executive order... ‘Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce....,’” Berry says in a speech prepared for the BIG conference in Boston. “It’s really a synthesis of ideas from every part of government, and outside government. …. Senior leaders in every agency worked with us or reviewed it.”

In the executive order, Obama instructed Berry and other officials to issue a “Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan” within 90 days of Aug. 18, the date of the order. The document also says that within 120 days after the plan is issued, the heads of executive departments shall develop “an agency-specific Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan for recruiting, hiring, training, developing, advancing, promoting and retaining a diverse workforce....”

In his remarks, Berry says he is confident that “because we took the time to get buy-in from all our stakeholders and forge a consensus, we’ll see enthusiastic participation government-wide.

“And if there are any hold-outs,” he tells the BIG members, “just let me know.”


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