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Federal Agencies Told They May Begin Presenting Flags to Honor Fallen Workers

Terry Newell

Federal departments and agencies may now furnish a U.S. flag to the next of kin of federal workers killed in the line of duty, according to guidance from John Berry, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in a May 22 memorandum. The authority to do so was the result of the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011, passed last December.  While OPM is still developing regulations, in coordination with the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, to implement the law, Berry noted that: “Meanwhile, executive agencies may use this authority  . . . to recognize fallen Federal employees.  The nation owes these dedicated workers a debt of honor.”

Under the law, the head of an executive agency may give a flag for an individual who was an employee of the agency and dies of injuries incurred in connection with such individual’s employment with the Federal Government, suffered as a result of a criminal act, an act of terrorism, a natural disaster, or other circumstance as determined by the President.

As clarified in Berry’s memo, “A flag may be given to an employee’s widow or widower, child, sibling, or parent.  If no request is received from an individual in one of these categories, a flag may also be furnished upon the request of an individual other than the next of kin as determined by the Director of OPM.”

Since 1992, nearly 3,000 federal workers have been killed in the line of duty.

Terry Newell was the dean of faculty at the Federal Executive Institute from 1994 to 2004. He is now retired from the federal government and is a private consultant. Email: [email protected]

Previous PA TIMES Coverage of the Bill:

Flag Bill to Honor Fallen Civil Servants Passes Congress, December 2011

Flags for Civil Servants Killed in the Line of Duty–Update on Congressional Legislation, October 2011

It’s Time to Honor our Fallen Federal Civil Servants, September 2011

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