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OPM's Berry: I'm No Hairdresser

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John Berry spoke at a 2011 Government Executive event. John Berry spoke at a 2011 Government Executive event. OPM file photo

In a revealing profile in the Washington Post, Lisa Rein not only details Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry's aw-shucks demeanor --  he "looks and acts like Richie Cunningham," she writes -- but describes his unique position in the Obama administration.

Berry notes that he plays two roles: head of federal human resources policy, and liason to the gay community as the  administration's highest-ranking gay official. In doing so, he says, he's proud to show “that gays don’t need to be stereotyped. We don’t need to be hairdressers.”

The dual roles also have forced Berry to walk a fine line at times, on the one hand serving as an advocate for and defender of such policies as expanded benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees, and on the other having to stand behind his agency's of denial of certain benefits to employees' partners in high-profile court cases.

Rein also reports that Berry may be angling for a promotion in a second Obama term -- to Interior secretary. Citing "friends" of the OPM chief, she reports he hankers to lead the department where he served as an assistant secretary under President Clinton. Berry himself provides the standard Washington response to the notion: that he would be “honored to serve the president in any capacity.”

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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