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January 14, 2009


President-elect Barack Obama has appointed John Berry as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Although many in the GLBT community were hoping to have Berry named as Secretary Of The Interior, this appointment would have a much more direct and far-reaching impact on the lives of all GLBT government employees. The OPM is responsible for recruiting job applicants, filling vacancies at federal agencies, developing performance review processes, administering benefits, and overseeing nondiscrimination policies. The Director is also the top adviser to the President on all personnel matters.

The Advocate reported that,

Although Beltway LGBT leaders had been pushing for an openly gay cabinet appointee, they were enthusiastic about Berry's appointment and said it was the most prominent position to be held by an openly gay person in the federal government. “The selection of John Berry to head the Office of Personnel Management, making him the highest-ranking openly gay official ever, is a meaningful step forward for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese.

As my regular readers know, I was also very disappointed that there were no cabinet positions filled by an openly gay person. The importance of this appointment however, along with Nancy Sutley as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Bishop Gene Robinson being picked to give the inaugural kick-off event invocation does help to balance that disappointment with a more positive sense of hope for our future.