Perdue issues labor memo and names departmental administration appointees |

Perdue issues labor memo and names departmental administration appointees

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a memo on how labor negotiations should be conducted, and also named a deputy assistant secretary for administration and his staff.

In a video to USDA employees, Perdue said, "All too often when the subject of labor is mentioned, we all have a reflexive action; people act more adversarial and talk at each other rather than with each other. That ought not be. That is not the way I am, and that is not the way we will be as one USDA family.

"For USDA to be the most efficient and effective department in the federal government, we must function as one team. To do this, every USDA employee – no matter their title or role, no matter their mission area, no matter where you are across this great country – everyone must be accountable for faithfully carrying out the work of the American people with integrity, consistency, dedication, fairness, mutual respect, and professional excellence each and every day.

"To that end, I will issue a memorandum that sets out basic guidelines for how we will approach such labor negotiations moving forward. In short, I want us to treat them much more like covenants we hold between us rather than contracts of things we must do or must not do. Good faith breeds good results."

“To that end, I will issue a memorandum that sets out basic guidelines for how we will approach such labor negotiations moving forward. In short, I want us to treat them much more like covenants we hold between us rather than contracts of things we must do or must not do. Good faith breeds good results.” - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

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In the video, Perdue also introduced Donald Bice, the new deputy assistant secretary for administration, and said the Trump administration would revive the USDA Honor Awards program.

In addition to Bice, the key personnel named are Chief Information Officer Gary Washington, Chief Human Capital Officer Mary Pletcher, Senior Procurement Executive George Cabaniss and Customer Service Coordinator Joseph Doyle.

Bice has been USDA's acting deputy assistant secretary for administration since September 2017. Prior to serving in this capacity, Bice was the associate director of USDA's Office of Budget and Program Analysis and the performance improvement officer. As the associate director, Bice was responsible for managing the development and execution of the department's budget, managing regulatory and legislative reporting processes, and coordinating performance improvement activities. From 2007 through February 2011, Bice served as the deputy director for budget, legislative and regulatory systems in the same office. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in government and politics and holds a law degree from American University.

Washington, who formerly served as the chief information officer for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has been the acting CIO since September. Washington also has served as CIO and director of the Information Technology Division for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Prior to his appointments as the CIO of USDA, APHIS and NRCS, Washington was a portfolio manager in the Electronic Government Office in the Executive Office of the President-Office of Management and Budget, where he was responsible for managing the Internal Effectiveness and Efficiency portfolio. Additionally, Washington managed the financial management, human resources and infrastructure lines of business, and the E-gov initiatives.

Washington also has worked at the Food and Drug Administration, where he was the director of IT governance and the deputy director of infrastructure, and at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, where he was the service manager for one of the first nationwide seat management programs. Washington spent five years in private industry as well as 10 years as a computer operator and command control specialist in the U.S. Air Force. He is an elected member of the Association for Federal Information Resource Managers and a 2006 graduate of the Industry Advisory Council Partners Program. Washington is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and holds a bachelor of science degree from Strayer University.

Pletcher, who will join USDA on Monday, previously served as the deputy assistant secretary for human capital and diversity in the Department of the Interior. As the chief human capital officer for Interior, Pletcher provided leadership and executive oversight for the department's human capital programs, including human resources; civil rights; employee and organization development; and occupational safety and health. Prior to this role, Pletcher served as the senior adviser to the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, supporting the assistant secretary of Interior in the implementation of management initiatives and transformation efforts. She has also served as acting director and deputy director of the Interior Business Center, deputy Recovery Act coordinator for Interior, and the department's capital planning and investment control program manager.

Before joining the federal government, Pletcher led the information technology strategic consulting practice for an 8(a) company and served as a project manager for a leading government strategy and technology firm. Pletcher received her bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida. She received her law degree from the American University Washington College of Law. Pletcher was nominated and selected as a 2011 Service to America Medal Finalist.

Cabaniss joined USDA in August as the senior procurement executive and director of the Office of Procurement and Property Management. He has been a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) since 2011. Prior to joining the OneUSDA team, he led 2,500 contracting professionals at more than 30 offices across the United States in supporting veterans as the deputy chief procurement officer for the Veterans Health Administration. His first SES appointment was as the deputy to the commanding general for the Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command. As the command's senior civilian, he led some 1,200 civilian and 500 soldiers assigned to more than 30 contracting offices across the United States in providing contracting support to Army soldiers, families and civilians. Prior to his SES appointment, Cabaniss held contracting leadership positions with several Army and Navy commands as well as with the General Services Administration.

In addition to his federal service, Cabaniss practiced law in Atlanta, Ga., for 10 years. He is also licensed to practice law in Florida. Cabaniss holds a law degree from Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, Fla.; a master's in public administration from Golden Gate University in Tampa, Fla., and a bachelor of arts from Ambassador College in Pasadena, Calif.

Doyle joins USDA after a long career as the owner of a 240-store retail chain in Georgia. Doyle led the Office of Customer Service for Georgia when Perdue was governor.

Doyle previously held positions with Arthur Andersen & Co. and the Augusta National Golf Club. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.

–The Hagstrom Report