Berry Picking

Did Obama’s Highest Ranking Gay Official Leave His Job With An Ambassadorship In His Future?

Some sad news, but with potential good news in the offing: John Berry, the highest ranking openly gay official in the Obama administration, has left his job as head of the Office of Personnel Management.

Berry was responsible for overseeing the HR for federal employees, and while he received praise from his boss upon his departure, his tenure wasn’t always smooth sailing. Although OPM finally came around on domestic partnership benefits for federal employees, for a while Berry (or at least the Administration) was standing behind DOMA as an excuse for not allowing them.

On the other hand, Berry taped a surprisingly touching video for It Gets Better, which underscored the weird arm’s length embrace the Administration went through before it finally “evolved” on marriage equality.

Berry is being replaced temporarily by Elaine Kaplan, OPM’s general counsel and current nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Her nomination is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, aka the graveyard of Obama judicial nominees.

The bit of potential good news: Berry is rumored to be the leading candidate for ambassador to Australia. Which can only be considered a lot more fun than Clinton Administration openly gay ambassador James Hormel’s Luxembourg post.

Photo credit: Office of Personnel Management