DHS officially closes books on pay for performance

ThefinalnailinthecoffincameTuesday,whenPresidentBushsignedintolawa2009spendingbillforfederalagenciesthatprohibitedthedepartmentfromspendingmoneyonthenewsystem.HomelandSecurityhadsought$5millioninfiscal2009tofunditsperformancemanagementsystemandhadhopedtoextendthesystemto70,000employees,virtuallyitsentirenonbargainingworkforce,inthecomingyear.
ThomasCairns,chiefhumancapitalofficeratthedepartment,issuedamemotounionleadersWednesdayannouncingthatthedepartmentinsteadwasrescindingthenewsystem.Allemployeeswhohadtransitionedtothenewsystem,dubbedMaxHR,willreverttoexistingTitle5personnelrulesthatcovermostGeneralScheduleemployees.
TheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeesheraldedthenews.

“Thistrulyisawin,notjustforourmembersbutforthepublicwhohadbeensaddledwithpayingforthiscostlypersonnelexperiment,”AFGENationalPresidentJohnGagesaid.“MaxHRwasthefirstbigefforttodismantlethecivilservice,unionsandtheGSpaysystem.Thisvictoryensuresthatourcountrystillwillhaveamerit-basedcivilservicesystemthatworksforfederalemployeesandforthepublictheyserve.”
The17,000employeeswhohadtransitionedtothenewrulesstillwerebeingpaidontheGSsystem.Theyhadbeenundergoingamoreformalizedappraisalprocessinwhichtheirsupervisorssettheirperformancegoalsforthecomingyear.Theyreceivedquarterlyupdatesontheirperformanceandcouldtracktheirprogressinmeetinggoalsontheircomputers.
Thenewsystemwasbesetwithlegalchallengesfromtheoutset,andin2006afederaljudgeruledthatthenewsystemillegallyinfringedonemployees’collectivebargainingrights.Thesystemasoriginallydevelopedin2003wouldhaveenactedapay-for-performancesystemandremovedrulesthatrequiremanagerstobargainwithunionsbeforechanginganemployee’sworkassignmentorworklocationorintroducingnewtechnologiestotheworkplace.


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