March 3rd, 2009
04:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama names Nat'l Zoo Director to oversee federal workforce

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="John Berry, pictured here in a 2006 file photo, is the President's choice to head the Office of Personnel Management."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama plans to nominate National Zoo Director John Berry to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management, the agency that oversees the federal government’s work force, the White House said Tuesday.

“From turning around the National Zoo to fostering a more productive work environment at the Department of the Interior, John Berry has a tremendous record of effective management in key public service roles,” Obama said in a statement. “I’m confident that he will provide that same leadership at OPM to help ensure that government works for the American people the way it should.”

Berry previously worked in the Clinton administration in the Treasury and Interior Departments, and as a legislative aide for Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer.

The White House also announced Tuesday that the President plans to nominate Julius Genachowski to serve as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Click here to read the announcement on

Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. gary

    Is this a Zoo Czar? Is Obama now going to borrow $300 billion as part of a zoo stimulus, with special zoo projects in Nancy Pelosi's district and Harry Reid's state? Maybe he will raise the zoo tax? More and more I think this administration is demonstrating incompetence...this may be the area they should focus on, so they cause less damage.

    March 3, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. DP

    Can I get the next job as National Zoo Director? Does it pay well and come with the government health and pension plans?

    March 3, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Independent Paul

    Money well spent. Probably 150k a year and an office budget of 5 million.

    March 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Michael

    Finally Obama has appointed someone with first hand experience for the job he will be doing. I hope he keeps all these fools in their cages so they can't harm our country anymore, that includes Obama. Keep us safe!

    March 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    I love it..... a zoo director to run the federal workforce. If Obama had not done this himself, would conservatievs have gotten in trouble for even suggesting it? Welcome to the monkey house........

    March 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Mari

    Once again, I read the vile comments of the far-right. Of course, you all have a right to your opinion no matter how vile or hateful.

    What troubles me, is that the vast majority of the far-right claims to be Christian....... how is hate Christian? How is calling names Christian??

    President Obama ......INHERITED....... this Economic Disaster from Bush!
    He has been in office a mere 40 days........ give the man a break.

    Oh........ but no. The GOP continues to spew the very vile that cost them the elections in 2008.

    March 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Vegas

    I'm hoping that there's more in in resume than being the Zookeeper for the National Zoo.

    Or maybe having a zookeeper is exactly what we need to oversee the government's workforce. Congress does seem to behave like a bunch of wild animals........

    March 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. april

    How utterly appropriate! With all the loons and jackles in this administration–he'll have his hands full.

    March 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Little too late????

    Zoo czar???

    March 3, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. johnny the boy

    The National Zoo Director??????????????

    I think Barry has gotten into the liquor cabinet again. Michelle please keep an eye on him and hide the keys.

    Change you can believe in.

    March 3, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Darryl MIller

    The More Money the Government put in the Stock Market Related Business America will Fail..

    March 3, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. Larry

    This is choice irony - from one zoo to another!

    March 3, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Jerry NYC

    The conservatives are already getting their panties bunched up over a gay guy leading the Civil Service! If confirmed by the Senate, he'll be the highest ranking openly gay guy so far in President Obama's administration. w00t!

    March 3, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. Glennis

    The Federal Zoo Director to oversee the national workforce? Yeah, that's about right.

    March 3, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. FreeNLovIt

    Yeah, if he can put up with the stinks and diversities of the zoo animals, he can definitely put up with the rest of the Talibans (elephants), donkeys, kermit the frog, miss Piggy (Palin), Limbaugh (burning bush going rogue)......

    March 3, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. no corporate politics

    No H = No O "I'd like to know how many of these appointments that Obama is making contributed to his campaign"

    Excellent question – remember it is OK to Question Authority.

    If you Google a little you will come up with goverment data (yes – not from a ufo site) that contains pretty shocking contributions (lobby-like) from Big Corporations (banks / financials are big) and individuals.

    And they are BACK to COLLECT the PAYBACK from Obama.

    March 3, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. FreeNLovIt

    Oh my dear, they want to blame Obama for the drop in the Dow Jones... I tell yah.. how the hell is a man like Obie supposed to pay off 5 trillion dollars overnight?

    March 3, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. proud american

    Hey "No Hillary/No Obama"-

    if you haven't noticed, one of his appointments is none other than Hillary Clinton.

    people like you give new meaning to bitter 🙂 lol

    March 3, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    If he ran the National Zoo as well as they claim he did, he will have the skills to run the civil service part of the government. Have you had to deal with Social security lately? I have and it was not pleasant and they still have not fixed the problem after 2 visits.

    March 3, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. S Callahan

    Does anyone see the humor in this...National Zoo leader appointed to control the the World Order theme...bring in the dogs? lol

    March 3, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. Rick CT

    From one zoo to the next

    March 3, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Gene

    People still making tax comments..

    Please... every single person who goes to see an accountant or tax service is thrilled when they find every write off, every loop hole, to save money on taxes. Many of those write offs are not legitimate in most cases but the government doesn't press them, and therefore people use them anyway.

    It's only when someone gets a high post that their taxes are combed through... or during an audit. I'll bet if we audited every member of congress... 99% of them will owe taxes for one thing or another.

    And I'll bet if we audited every American who uses the services of an accountant... 99% of them would have to pay taxes back for some illegitimate tax deduction, whether large or small.

    The point is.. stop with the tax comment. I'll bet every person making these comments would owe back taxes if they were truly combed through thoroughly... it's the American way 🙂

    March 3, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. SallySue

    Does this mean we have a bunch of animals working for the government? Maybe he'll be able to teach a bunch of old dogs new tricks! Just when you thought this "New Administration" couldn't get any more far out – maybe he was the only "DEMONCRAT" that wasn't behind on his taxes that was qualified for a post in "O's" administration.

    March 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. fed up

    Who's going to be the new zoo director? Joe, Rahm, Nancy, or Harry?

    March 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Willy Brown

    Gee all we need now is a paper bag czar that owes back tax money too. This will be the only way we will be able to afford the Porkulus bill.

    March 3, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
1 2 3 4 5