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Source: Chief Human Capital Officers Council
Title: Conference Call on Hurricane Katrina Response - Synopsis
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Friday, September 2, 2005
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer, CHCO Council Chairman, and OPM Deputy Director Dan G. Blair convened a special meeting of the CHCO Council via conference call at 11:00 a.m.
Volunteer Opportunities for Federal Employees
Janet Hale, Under Secretary for Management, Department of Homeland Security
  • Need exists for 2,000-3,000 Federal volunteers for deployments of 30 days; duration is flexible and situation dependent; deployments could be for 90 days or more
  • DHS/FEMA will provide Cabinet-level departments and agencies a message for employees and a checklist of requirements needed for deployment
  • DHS/FEMA seeks POC for each department and agency; POC will screen names of potential volunteers, verify supervisor approval, and convey to DHS on a daily basis a list of approved names
  • DHS will distribute FAQs; CHCO Council Executive Director Michael D. Dovilla offered to serve as a central clearinghouse for distribution of such messages
  • Donating department/agency will pay salaries of volunteers; disaster relief fund will pay travel, incidental expenses, etc.
  • Paper copies of time and attendance will be provided to detailees for home agency supervisors/timekeepers to determine overtime, premium pay, etc.
  • Could take considerable time to process and deploy volunteers
  • Inoculations will be provided by disaster medical systems at in-processing centers in Emmitsburg, Maryland; Orlando, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia
  • Critical needs include Congressional liaison staffs and linguists
  • DHS POCs:
    • Todd Turner - 202-357-8241;
    • Linda Oakey - 202-357-8217;
Review of Relevant Leave Authorities & Applicability of Per Diem Payments
Donald J. Winstead, Deputy Associate Director for Pay & Performance Policy, Office of Personnel Management
  • Three primary authorities:
    • Administrative leave/excused absence
    • Evacuation payments
    • Emergency leave transfer
  • OPM recommends use of administrative leave/excuse absence - the most efficient way to continue paying employees; i.e., put employees on administrative leave for up to four weeks, then shift to use leave from emergency leave transfer program, which POTUS has authorized OPM to establish
  • Additional information is available in OPM Director Springer’s memorandum for heads of departments and agencies (September 2, 2005)
  • CHCO Council Executive Director Dovilla will collect CHCOs’ questions about per diem and forward them to Mr. Winstead
  • This issue will be discussed at greater length during the next meeting of the CHCO Council - September 13, 2005, 12-2 p.m., at OPM
Review of Telework Flexibilities
Nancy H. Kichak, Acting Associate Director Strategic Human Resources Policy,
Office of Personnel Management
  • OPM will issue a memorandum urging agencies to redouble efforts to use telework, alternative work sites, etc.
  • Energy conservation is a nationwide issue of concern, per POTUS
Update on Benefits Issues
Stephen C. Benowitz, Associate Director for Human Resources Products & Services,
Office of Personnel Management

Kathleen M. McGettigan, Deputy Associate Director for Retirement & Insurance Services,
Office of Personnel Management
  • Most retirees are paid via electronic funds transfer; approximately 2,000 paper checks were in the process of distribution when the hurricane struck; for additional information, visit or call 202-606-0540
  • Fee-for-service providers will continue to provide coverage and have relaxed pre-certification requirements; one HMO (Coventry of Louisiana) is down, but members should continue to seek care and will be reimbursed
  • OFEGLI has waived the requirement for death certificates
  • Retirement applications should be sent to Boyers vice NFC; mailing address is P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 16020
  • Effective Tuesday, September 6, OPM is expanding its call center to answer questions on pay, leave, benefits, etc. Existing phone number is 1-888-767-6738; a Hurricane Katrina-specific number will be added and disseminated
  • CHCO Council Executive Director Dovilla will collect agency input on benefits centers and forward to OPM Human Resources Products and Services staff, vice Steve Benowitz
Review of Agency Obligations for Employees in the Armed Forces Reserve and National Guard
Marta Brito Pérez, Associate Director for Human Capital Leadership & Merit System Accountability,
Office of Personnel Management
  • Agencies are reminded of their obligations to Federal employees serving in the Reserve Components of the Armed Forces and the National Guard under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
Other Issues
Department & Agency Chief Human Capital Officers
  • Housing
    • GSA will provide information next week on housing issues, in particular possible prohibitions on volunteers staying in private houses and earning per diem
    • DHS indicated assorted types of berthing will be used for now
  • Combined Federal Campaign
    • 2005-2006 campaign started yesterday, but most of the 300+ local organization have not yet printed materials
    • Ninety-seven percent of participating employees contribute via payroll deductions
    • CFC is an important means of ensuring an ongoing stream of funds to organizations that will provide support to the recovery effort
    • To make an immediate donation, do so outside the CFC, as encouraged by POTUS, to the American Red Cross or Salvation Army
    • To avoid confusion and ensure accountability, there will not be a special solicitation for Hurricane Katrina
  • Local Financial Institutions
    • Approximately 40 local financial institutions in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are closed; their systems are currently not recording deposits
    • Bank of America has offered to issue debit cards for the amount of net pay deposits
    • Treasury has a close hold list of the impacted institutions, which Acting CHCO Patricia Pointer will circulate among CHCOs

OPM Deputy Director Blair adjourned the meeting at 12:32 p.m.

Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security (including FEMA)
Department of the Interior
Department of Justice
Department of Labor
Department of Transportation
Department of the Treasury
Department of Veterans Affairs
Environmental Protection Agency
General Services Administration
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office of Personnel Management
Social Security Administration

Respectfully Submitted,


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