Chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority: Who Is Colleen Duffy Kiko?

Monday, September 25, 2017
Colleen Duffy Kiko (photo: Future with Hope Women)

The next chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) will be Colleen Duffy Kiko, who has substantial experience in federal workforce issues, including two previous stints at the agency. FLRA is an independent agency that handles issues relating to labor unions and federal workers. If confirmed by the Senate, Kiko would succeed Carol Waller Pope, who served from 2015 to the close of the Obama administration.


Kiko was born Colleen Margaret Duffy on October 15, 1950, in Pembina, North Dakota, a small town of barely 600 people near the Canadian border. Her father, Lawrence Duffy, was a career federal employee, serving the Postal Service as a railway mail carrier and the Customs Service as a customs inspector.


After earning a BS at North Dakota State University in 1972, Kiko took a job teaching French and coaching volleyball at Souris Valley School in Wawanesa, Manitoba, Canada, from September 1972 to February 1973. 


Relocating to the Washington, DC area, Kiko started her government service career as a GS-3 clerk/typist in the Department of Treasury, where she worked from March to October 1973.


From October 1973 to February 1976, she served in the Customs Service, leaving to join the Labor Management Services Administration of the Department of Labor, which in 1979 was re-organized and renamed as the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Kiko served as a labor relations specialist at FLRA from February 1976 to August 1983, when she left to attend George Mason University Law School, where she earned her JD in 1986. During her last year in law school, she worked as a part-time law clerk at the Fairfax County Attorney’s Office.


Fresh out of law school, Kiko worked as an attorney advisor in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice from 1986 to 1989, including a stint as a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia from September 1988 to March 1989.


From March to November 1989, Kiko served as associate counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights.


In 1989, shortly after the birth of her third child, Kiko left the paid workforce to perform the unpaid work of child rearing and homemaking. She also worked for a local Catholic church.


After her fourth and final child started kindergarten in September 1996, Kiko opened her own solo practice, focusing on criminal and family law cases. In November 1999, however, she closed up shop and joined the law firm of Ronald M. Cohen and Associates in Arlington, Virginia.


Kiko returned to public service work in February 2002, when she became a member of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB), where she stayed until 2005.


In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Kiko to be FLRA general counsel, where she served until March 2008, when she returned to ECAB as a permanent member and where she has served since. Kiko’s stint as general counsel coincided with a marked decline in employee morale at FLRA, which earned the title of the worst small agency to work for three years in a row.


In 2016, she co-founded Future with Hope Women for Catholic women older than forty.


Colleen Duffy Kiko is married to Philip G. Kiko, who is the chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives and previously served on the feckless House Committee on Benghazi. She has three children with him (Sarah, Philip, and Michael) and one daughter from a previous marriage to Loren D. Raap (Jamie Lynn). She also has four grandchildren.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Get to Know Colleen Duffy Kiko! Five Quick Takes (Future with Hope Women)

Sometimes Nice “Guys” Finish First (by Ralph Smith, FedSmith)

Hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (pdf, 2005) 


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