WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel regulations:
“Today the Department of Homeland Security issued final personnel regulations that will govern over 180,000 employees of the agency. Based on what I have seen so far, I am deeply concerned that these regulations might be used to eliminate important protections for employees and taxpayers on a government-wide basis.
“When Congress created the Homeland Security Department two years ago, I supported allowing it to develop a new personnel system to meet the challenges of defending our nation in a post-9/11 world. But I did so only with the understanding that department managers and employee representatives would work collaboratively to develop a system that was fair, flexible, and transparent. I am disappointed that the new regulations fall short of this goal.
“I am particularly troubled that the new regulations significantly limit basic employee rights and protections, including collective bargaining rights of employees. Taxpayers are also not served by provisions that could politicize the Department.
“If Homeland Security employees are to perform crucial national security functions in a professional, non-political manner, such protections and rights are crucial.
“I am also troubled that the new personnel system appears to have scrapped the General Schedule and replaced it with a new and untested ‘pay-for-performance system.’ While such a system may have merit as part of a broader restructuring of the GS system, in its current form it is not suited for the challenges facing the Homeland Security Department.
“I intend to closely monitor the implementation of DHS’s new personnel system over the next several months. I will not hesitate to take appropriate action if the new system creates havoc in this department that is so crucial to our nation’s security. At a time when new and unproven leadership is about to assume command at Homeland Security, the last thing the department needs is turmoil in the rank-and-file.”