This week marks National Public Service Recognition Week, an annual reminder of the work conducted by the nation’s local, state and federal government employees.


This year’s budget cuts forced the cancellation of a series of events on the Mall, but the White House is finding other ways to thank the rank and file.

In a video posted Monday on the White House Web site, First Lady Michelle Obama noted that she’s visited more than 20 federal agencies and military bases in the last two years.

“I’ve seen up close the work our government employees do to move this country forward,” Obama says in the video.

“And the president knows that his efforts are only as strong as the people on his team. And during my trips to these agencies and military bases I have been deeply moved and impressed by the talent, character and commitment of public servants that I’ve met.

“Folks like you devote your lives, and sometimes risk your lives to serve this country, often with little fanfare or recognition. Your work is vital and it’s worthy of the passion that you show.”

And in a first, 15 Cabinet secretaries and other top government bosses are signing on to an open thank you letter to the federal workforce.

“Through good times and bad, government employees face tough challenges in their work on behalf of the American people,” the letter says. “While the need for vital government services continues to grow, we increasingly ask our public servants to do more with less. With sincere appreciation for their important contributions and sacrifice, for putting service before self, please join us in saying thank you.”

“Each and every day, we have the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the remarkable accomplishments performed by public servants at all levels of government. We are proud to serve with you and thank you for all you do,” the officials conclude.

The letter is signed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson and Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry. (Seems only Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. are missing.)

Sebelius, Donovan, LaHood, Johnson and Berry are scheduled to participate in a town hall forum Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan Building regarding the public’s perception of government workers. Should make for an interesting discussion.

The week’s festivities are organized in part by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan think tank devoted to the federal workforce that maintains a content partnership with The Washington Post.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

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