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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Department of Homeland Security getting smarter
Federal Unions..not so much

Anyone who has read this blog with any regularity has noticed that I take a dim view on the validity of Unions. Also, I have made the assertion that over the next four years, significant changes will take place on the Federal level that will privatize bids and lower costs as a result due to a more competitive nature on projects and positions.

Money was the primary focus of previous posts. Safety is the focal point of this post.

The Department of Homeland Security made what is perceived to be a "bold" move yesterday. The problem is, it shouldn't be considered a "bold" move. Instead, it should be considered a common sense change that will assist in making the Agency more efficient, effective, and valid.

The new personnel system for the entity will circumvent union bargaining to a great degree. Additionally, poor performers will not be able to hide in the skirt hem of the Unions when discipline or termination is warranted. And here's the big one….the DHS will have more liberty in their application of salary based on merit as opposed to negotiated board room discussions between the employer (The American people) and the representing union officials.

Ok says you. Excellent says I. No way, we're suing, says the John Gage, President of the American Federation of Government Employees. Fat chance we're suing too, says National Treasury Employees Union Officials

The Unions' representatives are whining about limited collective bargaining and employee's rights issues. The DHS, on the other hand, is content that the new system will attract more valuable employees who can be rewarded with quicker and bigger raises based solely on performance and employee value. Managers will, also, be able to act more quickly and efficiently with more flexibility on issues that, previously, required bargaining, and input from the Unions' representatives.

Federal Employee Unions just aligned themselves with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They had failed to recognize the detriment that they contributed to compromising our pocketbooks. Now they fail to recognize the disadvantage they create in trying to shore up the safety of the American Citizen.

Oh, and there is a lesson to be learned in here, isn't there? What did the 911 Commission sanction in order to improve the performance, quality, longevity, and results driven success of the DHS? That's right…merit based performance evaluation protocol that takes the very nature of a Union's bailiwick right out of the equation. That's an interesting lesson to the American public that watches great gobs of Union generated campaign contributions hit the Democratic coffers every election season.


DHS personnel system unveiled
By Shawn Zeller
January 27, 2005


The Homeland Security Department will limit the scope of union bargaining, make it easier for managers to discipline poor performers and, over the next four years, dismantle the General Schedule pay system, under new regulations to be published soon in the Federal Register.

In a press briefing Wednesday morning, Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge and Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James announced the completion of the regulations after nearly two years of focus group sessions, town hall meetings and deliberations with skeptical employee unions.

Ridge said that the system aims to help the department "both attract and maintain a quality workforce" by allowing top performers to win quicker and bigger raises than are permitted under the decades-old General Schedule. In addition, he said that the system will provide managers with the flexibility they need to act quickly to protect the homeland. On "many occasions where we have to move people around quickly, we don't have latitude to sit down and discuss it or bargain," he said.
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