Recently, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley announced that she will be resigning from her position after the upcoming convention in August. This news was bitter sweet. While I am happy that she has finally decided to get the well-deserved rest and relaxation she has earned over the past 16 years, we will sorely miss her dedicated leadership and constant support for all federal employees.

The 100+ NTEU chapter presidents who work with Colleen on a daily basis to ensure that all federal employees are treated with dignity and respect had many nice things to say about Colleen. But in addition, many others who have worked with her over these many years also expressed their admiration and appreciation of all she has accomplished during her tenure as National President of NTEU.

One of her strongest supporters and allies was Congress man Steny Hoyer or Maryland. In a public statement Rep. Hoyer said the following: "For sixteen years, Colleen Kelley has provided NTEU with principled and skilled leadership. , and I join in thanking her for her service to federal employees and to our country. Having served with distinction at the Internal Revenue Service and in a number of NTEU leadership roles – including as President of NTEU Chapter 34 in her hometown of Pittsburgh – Colleen brought to her national presidency a wealth of experience and a keen understanding of the challenges facing federal employees across the country.

"I'm proud to represent more than 62,000 federal employees in Congress, and I have been fortunate to work closely with Colleen for many years. Working Americans in both the public and private sectors should appreciate the advocacy of organized labor on issues they care about: wages and benefits, safe and decent working conditions, and protection from arbitrary and unfair employment practices. Colleen has truly embodied the spirit and energy of organized labor in defending the rights and dignity of working men and women at a time of great challenges. During her national presidency, federal employees were targeted for pay freezes, furloughs, and increased pension contributions, and NTEU fought back and raised awareness of the important role federal employees play in keeping our nation safe and growing our economy. "I look forward to continuing to work closely with Colleen for the remainder of her term as well as with her successor following NTEU's election this summer, and I wish her all the best with her future endeavors." (Source: Congressman Steny Hoyer Press Release, March 4, 2015). We echo those sentiments and could not have said it better ourselves.

"We will have the next six months to reminisce about all that we have done together, and to continue to plan the important work of our union," she said in a message to NTEU chapter presidents. "That work will never be finished." After 16 years as president, Kelley is ready to relax, read a stack of books and be with her family in Pittsburgh. That's her home and where she began her career in federal service as a revenue agent at the Internal Revenue Service. "I love what I do. I love what NTEU does," she said in an interview. "I believe we make an incredible difference for our country every day. . . . As long as I'm working, this is all I want to do."

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said about Kelley: "She was able to help fight off the worst," he said pointing to House budget proposals he said would have been even more "devastating to the welfare and well-being of federal employees., and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), called Kelley "a stalwart . . . a passionate advocate for federal employees" noted how "She got into the nitty-gritty of legislation," said and no truer words were ever spoken.

Even those who were on the other side of the labor-management table have nothing but respect for her.
"I Love Colleen!" John Berry, the previous OPM director and now ambassador to Australia, said by e-mail. "She has been a fierce warrior on behalf of Feds and retirees, and as they say here Down Under, a true Mate! Colleen always had an early alert 'sixth sense' for incoming issues, immediate and innovative responses at the ready, and most importantly, through it all, an enormous, big heart, that made her an incredible companion in the trenches."

Regardless of what politicians and other people who have worked with and against Colleen over the past 16 years, we can only offer what we think her in chapter 60. I have personally known Colleen for over 20 years in various capacities Before sh became the President of NTEU she was the Executive Vice-President and I have worked with and for her on many different projects and events. She was always receptive to what I had to say and to any concerns that I or my chapter raised. Whenever I needed something she was there. When we asked her to visit our chapter and speak to our members, she was there. When I called her and needed assistance, she was there.

In addition to the leadership and assistance she provided me, she honored me twice by allowing me to be a member of the National Contract negotiating teams. Those selections were both humbling and special to me.

So, we wish Colleen well in her future endeavors and from chapter 60 we issue giant THANK YOU for all you have done not only for us, but for federal employees all across the country. We wish you good health and plenty of rest and relaxation. Enjoy your retirement Colleen, you have definitely earned it.