Obama Thanks 'Public Servants'

By on May 5, 2015 in Human Resources with 32 Comments

Image of the 2015 public service recognition week logo

Public servants now have their own week, along with other notable events such as “National Poison Prevention Week,” “World Trade Week,” and “National Safe Boating Week.”

President Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring that May 3 – May 9 is Public Service Recognition Week. (The proclamation is included at the end of this column.)

The purpose of the proclamation is to recognize government workers who “dedicate their lives to this noble pursuit, and we celebrate the tremendous difference they make every day.”

Before he became president, candidate Barack Obama said he wanted “to make government cool again” so perhaps this recognition of government employees at all levels is part of that same effort. (See “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You” vs. Making Government “Cool” and FedSmith.com Users Say Working for Government Isn’t ‘Cool’ )

Federal employees may also appreciate the statements that “despite tough circumstances — including pay freezes, budget cuts, sequestration, and a political climate that too often does not sufficiently value their work — these exceptional leaders continue to make real the fundamental truth that people who love their country can change it” and that the federal military and civilian workforce “represents extraordinary possibility.”

He also compared government workers to the Founding Fathers: “From the moment an early band of patriots first came together to secure the blessings of liberty for all, public servants have worked to create a more perfect Union.”

President Obama also noted in the proclamation that “My Administration is advancing efforts to train and develop the next generation of civil servants and equip them with the skills to lead change, build coalitions, and collaborate across Government to solve big problems. We are also finding new ways to improve how we recruit, empower, and retain the most diverse and very best talent, ensuring careers in public service will continue to attract the brightest of the coming generations.”

One recent effort by the president towards this end is expanding paid parental leave within agencies for federal workers. For more on this, see OPM Releases Guidance on President’s New Paid Parental Leave Policy.

Public Service Recognition Week

© 2016 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

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About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.

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