DHS Drops Personnel System After Congress Zeroes Out Funding

A coalition of unions, led by AFGE, has lobbied Congress for years to stop the implementation of MaxHR. In addition, the unions challenged the personnel system in federal court, contending, among other things, that it is unconstitutional. In August 2005, a federal district court issued an injunction forbidding DHS from implementing the labor-relations portion of MaxHR. That injunction was sustained by the appeals court, and DHS subsequently announced that it would not appeal the decision.

MaxHR covered about 35,000 employees under regulations jointly issued by DHS and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). With Congress cutting funding, Cairns has said these employees will now revert to coverage under general human resources statutes of the federal government as detailed in Chapters 43, 75 and 77 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code. He added that sorting out the process will involve continuing consultations with OPM and with the various human resources offices across the department.

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