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Color Picture of Kay Coles James

U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Kay Coles James


After being nominated by President George W. Bush, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Kay Coles James to be Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on July 11, 2001. Director James is an advocate for Federal employees and leader of a dynamic agency with over 3,600 employees across the country, an annual budget in excess of 261 million dollars and trust funds that annually exceed 29 billion dollars in appropriations.

Director James is the President's principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the Federal civil service. OPM is responsible for planning for the future needs of the Federal workforce and for helping agencies improve human resources management and human capital practices. OPM is responsible for the protection of the Merit System Principles, ensuring Veterans' Preference, and monitoring workforce diversity in the Federal workforce. OPM is also responsible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, Federal retirement benefits, Federal labor management relations, assisting agencies with recruiting and hiring employees, and developing managers and executives across Government to help agencies meet their strategic objectives. Since Director James' arrival at OPM the agency helped stand up the Department of Homeland Security and is working with the Department to develop a flexible and contemporary personnel system. Under the direction of James, OPM is also partnering with the Department of Defense (DoD) to reform and modernize the DoD civilian personnel system.

OPM is responsible for five Governmentwide e-Gov initiatives, leadership of the Human Capital portion of the President's Management Agenda, the creation of Flexible Spending Accounts for Federal employees, and the introduction of the new Federal Long-Term Care insurance program.

James is chair of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCO), a group comprised of the selected officers from cabinet departments and other agencies. Each CHCO is accountable for the strategic alignment of the agency's work force to its mission, and will be given the responsibility of maintaining and effectively directing its human resources management policies and programs. James is also a member of the President's Management Council and Chair of the Council's Subcommittee for Human Capital / Workforce Management. The Council has been charged by the President to ensure the implementation of his bold agenda of reform. James has also been appointed by the President to serve on the White House Fellows Commission.

Prior to coming to OPM James served as a leader and manager in Government on the Federal, state, and local levels and in private, non-profit, and academic settings. She most recently served as a Senior Fellow and Director of The Citizenship Project at the Heritage Foundation. Prior to joining Heritage, James served as Dean of the School of Government at Regent University and as Chair of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. James served as Secretary of Health and Human Resources for former Virginia Governor George Allen where she designed and implemented Virginia's landmark welfare reform initiative. As Secretary, James was responsible for fourteen state agencies and over 19,000 employees.

Before serving in the Allen Administration, James was Senior Vice President of the Family Research Council. She has also served as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for One to One Partnership, a national umbrella organization for mentoring programs. She served under President George H. W. Bush as Associate Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and as Assistant Secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was appointed by President Reagan and reappointed by President George H. W. Bush as member of the National Commission on Children. James has served on the Fairfax County School Board and the Virginia Board of Education. She has also served on several corporate boards, including Focus on the Family and Amerigroup, Inc., a health care provider \ exclusively for low-income families.

A graduate of Hampton University, James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, most recently the Doctor of Laws Degree from Pepperdine University. Director James is also the recipient of several awards and special recognitions, including the University of Virginia's Publius Award for Public Service.

As a frequent commentator and lecturer, Mrs. James has appeared as a guest on every network morning show, several national news and talk programs, and her editorials have been featured in newspapers across the country. In addition, James is the author of three books; her award winning 1993 autobiography Never Forget; Transforming America: From the Inside Out (1995); and a third book on the subject of marriage (2001).

Most importantly, Kay Coles James is the wife of Charles James, Sr. and the proud mother of three grown children.

Email Kay Coles James | Write to Kay Coles James using the address at the bottom of this page.

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