Homeland Security Workers Rules Supported





"The regulations contain many of the basic principles that are consistent with proven approaches," the report said.

The regulations, set to be phased in over several years, are intended to attract and reward high-performing employees, and give agency managers broad authority to change workers' shifts and duties without delay.

Unions representing the 110,000 employees who would be affected say the change would limit their collective bargaining rights.

The department says the regulations preserve collective bargaining rights for workers. But a department fact sheet to employees states the regulations "expand the number of situations in which we will no longer bargain with employee representatives, and place time limitations on other areas where we will continue to engage in collective bargaining."

The unions sued last month to block the regulations. In a related matter, the American Federation of Government Employees filed suit Thursday against similar rules recently approved at the Defense Department that would affect about 750,000 employees.

Gordon England, the Pentagon official who has overseen the development of the proposed new work rules for defense civilians, said at a news conference that they would provide a "much more flexible and agile system" that rewards performance more than longevity. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has promoted the changes as essential to transforming the Defense Department into a modern organization.

http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0205/021005d1.htm

DHS personnel system attacked, lauded
By David McGlinchey
dmcglinchey@govexec.com
A congressional subcommittee heard both praise and sharp criticism Thursday for the Homeland Security Department's new personnel regulations.
The new system, which was described in detail late last month, has drawn sharp criticism from unions and Democratic lawmakers. That criticism continued apace during a hearing Thursday of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia.
The new system should "be both fair and perceived as fair," said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, the subcommittee's ranking member. "I believe the Homeland Security regulations fall short of this goal."
When Congress established DHS in 2002, officials were given the power to build their own personnel system. Agency officials are planning to limit the scope of union bargaining, make it easier for managers to discipline poor performers and dismantle the General Schedule pay system. At Thursday's hearing, federal officials depicted the new system as a vital flexibility for a department with the mammoth task of defending the nation's borders.
"We believe that we have succeeded in striking a better balance between union and employee interests on one hand, and the department's mission imperatives on the other," said Ron Sanders, OPM's associate director for strategic human resources policy.
Union leaders and some lawmakers, however, said the new personnel system will damage employee morale and weaken the agency.
"The notion that collective bargaining rights somehow threaten homeland security, I find offensive," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. "Beating people down ... is not going to create the DHS workforce with the morale we need."
Union officials were even more vocal with their displeasure. National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said the personnel regulations fundamentally violate the congressional statutes that authorized them in the first place. American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage said the system itself was unnecessary.
"This isn't flexible, this isn't modern, this isn't even credible," Gage told the subcommittee. He said the performance pay system could lead to a "zero-sum game," where one security officer's gain is another's loss.
"This makes a mockery of the kind of teamwork that is essential for successful law enforcement," Gage said.
There was a spirit of consensus, however, running through the hearing. Almost all witnesses agreed that the system will not succeed without a comprehensive training program and effective communication with DHS employees.
"A key implementation step for DHS is to assure an effective ongoing two-way communication effort that creates shared expectations," the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday.
Federal Managers Association Vice President Darryl Perkinson said that without training, "the system is doomed to failure from the start."
"As every federal employee knows, the first item to get cut when budgets get tight is training," he said.
Ronald James, the chief human capital officer at DHS, appealed to Subcommittee Chairman Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, to ensure that training funds are provided in future years. James said that "training and communication are at the very core of what we need to be about."
Voinovich emphasized his support for the new system, although he said he welcomed the union criticism.

http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20050210-060711-5285r.htm

DOD worker unions will sue over new rules


By Pamela Hess
Pentagon correspondent

Washington, DC, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The Pentagon plans to scrap the established government labor-management arbitration board used throughout government in favor of a new one staffed by Pentagon appointees.
Government labor unions said Thursday they will sue the Pentagon to stop the rules from taking effect.
The measure is just one of many changes the Pentagon is proposing in a new personnel system that touts higher pay for better performers, but that labor unions say undercuts workers.
"The Department of Defense has significantly narrowed employees' rights to collective bargaining and all but eliminated the due process rights that enable employees to speak with confidence when they see wrongdoing or mismanagement," stated the American Federation of Government Employees and four other DOD labor unions Thursday.
The organizations said they planned to file a lawsuit as soon as the regulations were published, claiming the Defense Department did not consult with unions as directed by Congress in 2003.
One of the reasons the Pentagon wants a new system is either to provide incentives for employees to work harder and more effectively, or to be able to get rid of employees who are not pulling their weight.
Navy Secretary Gordon England, who is heading effort to implement the sweeping changes, would not say how many Department of Defense civilian workers are believed to be underperforming.
The system will get rid of the detailed pay schedules for federal employees and instead create wider pay bands that give managers more discretion in setting salaries higher -- or lower -- than the seniority-based system now in place.
The proposed rules say employees will not be graded on a curve. That is, there will not be a limit on the number in any department who can qualify for the highest raises. Anyone whose work merits an increase will get one, England said. But it is unclear how that money will be apportioned, and if there will be enough to adequately reward the top performers.
The AFGE said the "pay-for-performance" system "pits employees against each other for pay increases."
England said managers, many of whom are political appointees, will not abuse the system to work out political or personnel vendettas because they will be judged on how well they implement the system.
"They will be evaluated at their very next level to make sure that they actually run this program fairly and accurately. Then we do have appeal process also put into the system. So there are safeguards built in," England said.
The proposed rules also expand non-negotiable Pentagon management rights, including determining the number, types and grades of employees, methods, technology and means of performing work. It allows the government to relocate jobs as it sees fit -- either to put workers closer to needs, or to take advantage of lower local pay wages.
The Department of Defense and service or agency directives, polices and manuals will be non-negotiable, and "nothing delays management's ability to act," according to a DOD fact sheet.
The proposed National Security Personnel System regulations will be published in the Federal Register on Feb. 14, when federal employees will have 30 days to make comments. In three months, the new system will go into effect, sequentially affecting the 650,000 federal workers employed by the Defense Department around the world until all fall under the system by 2008.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will appoint the members of the National Security Labor Relations Board, which will replace the FLRA in arbitrating labor and management disputes. The FLRA is currently manned by three presidential appointees with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The NSLRB members "will know something about the Defense Department mission," said England.
"The fox will now have ultimate watch over the chicken coop. With managers, under the new system, having new ways to retaliate against employees who challenge management decisions, what will become of employees who blow the whistle on pork-loaded military contracts, or who speak on behalf of soldiers in need of equipment?" asked AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth.
Connecticut Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman said the Pentagon proposed rules undermine employee protections that prevent workplace abuse, and strips employees of their power under the union.
"The proposal imposes excessive limits on collective bargaining which are not necessary to maintain the critical mission of the department. It changes the appeals process to interfere with employees' rights to due process. And it contains unduly vague and untested pay and performance provisions," Lieberman said. "I am particularly troubled by the way the proposal would subvert collective bargaining."

http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0205/021005sz1.htm

New Pentagon personnel system mirrors DHS plan
By Shawn Zeller
szeller@govexec.com
The Defense Department will replace the decades-old General Schedule pay and classification system with a new system based on pay for performance, according to proposed regulations that will be published in the Federal Register on Monday.
In a briefing at the Pentagon Thursday, Defense and Office of Personnel Management officials said that the new system also will restrict union bargaining rights and implement stricter disciplinary rules for 650,000 Defense civilian workers. After the proposed rules are published, Defense will take comments from the public for 30 days and then confer with employee unions for 30 days.
The announcement of the proposal was met with immediate denunciations from Democratic members of Congress and employee unions. The American Federation of Government Employees, Association of Civilian Technicians, Laborers International Union, National Association of Government Employees and the National Federation of Federal Employees said they would file a lawsuit next week in federal court that argues that Defense did not follow congressionally prescribed procedures in the development of the new labor relations rules.
The Bush administration earlier this month announced that it would seek congressional approval to use the Defense system, and another system in the works at the Homeland Security Department, as models for implementing civil service reform governmentwide. The result of such a move would be the end of the guaranteed annual pay raises that most federal employees now enjoy, and the strict career progressions prescribed by the General Schedule's 15-grade, 10-step system.
Navy Secretary Gordon England, who has overseen the development of the National Security Personnel System at Defense, said the department needed more flexibility to recruit and retain the best workers. "People who enter the federal government, they want to know that they can be promoted based on their performance and not their time-in-grade," he said.
To that end, the new system will set up pay bands to replace General Schedule grades. Employees will be grouped with other entry-level staff, journeymen or supervisors. Workers will move up the pay bands and receive annual raises based primarily on performance evaluations performed by their managers. Market conditions affecting professions and localities also will have an impact on how much of a pay raise an employee receives. Workers who receive unacceptable performance ratings will not receive raises. Defense officials said they would set up an administrative process where employees dissatisfied with their performance evaluations could protest.
About 60,000 employees will enter the new pay system in July, and will receive their first performance-based pay raises a year later. The employees selected to be part of this "spiral one" were announced in December and listed on a Defense Department Web site.
Also in July, the entire Defense Department will move to a new labor relations system, according to the proposed rules. Authority to adjudicate labor disputes will shift from the National Labor Relations Authority to a new, internal National Security Labor Relations Board. Like the Homeland Security Department personnel rules, announced last month, Defense no longer will bargain over the assignment of work, deployments, or the use of new technology. In other areas, Defense management will reserve the right to change workplace rules without a bargaining agreement in place, and then bargain about the changes later.
The department also will retain the right to alter local labor agreements made at Defense facilities around the country if they don't comply with national-level agreements, but local agreements will remain in force unless altered by the Pentagon.
England said the department decided to phase in the new rules over the course of a few years so that problems could be caught and corrected. Spiral One will last about 18 months and will include three phases. At its conclusion, about 300,000 Defense civilians will fall under the new rules. A second spiral will follow during which the remainder of the Defense civilian workforce will shift to the new system, but the timing of that has yet to be determined. Full implementation is expected by 2008.
Employees in the new system who face disciplinary action for either poor performance or misconduct will find new rules governing the adjudication of their appeals. The Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent federal agency, will continue to hear those appeals, but it will treat poor performance and misconduct cases using the same standard of evidence.
Under the new rules, MSPB will have to find that Defense managers erred by a preponderance of the evidence to overturn a disciplinary action. MSPB judges will no longer be able to mitigate an agency penalty unless they find that the agency action was "wholly unjustified." Defense will also retain the right to overturn an MSPB judge's ruling if it finds that the ruling has an adverse impact on national security. Certain offenses also will be designated as requiring "mandatory removal." Employees will retain the right to protest a decision in federal court.
In addition, the new system will allow Defense to work with OPM to design new hiring authorities whenever they are deemed necessary. Previously, an agency would have to seek congressional approval for new authorities. Also, when conducting reductions in force, the new rules will allow Defense to consider performance as the first factor in laying off workers, instead of length of service. Veterans' preference, however, would be retained during RIFs.
Daniel Blair, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, said the new system will require a commitment by Defense to train its managers. "We are going to be holding our managers accountable for results," he said. "It's going to take training. It'll take time and communication."
Unions, however, blasted the proposal, as they had over the rules issued last month by the Homeland Security Department. "As with the DHS regulations, those advanced by the Defense Department will go a long way toward demoralizing the DoD workforce," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union .
Mark Roth, general counsel at AFGE, said that the union lawsuit will seek to force Defense to remove the new labor relations rules from its proposed regulations. Defense did not follow procedures set up by Congress to ensure that the unions had a say in the development of those rules, Roth said. Later, when final regulations are issued, Roth said he expected the unions would take further legal action based on the substance of the rules.
AFGE sued Homeland Security last month, arguing that its final regulations violated congressional intent in their restrictions on union bargaining and new disciplinary procedures.
Democrats in Congress also attacked the new rules. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a news release that he was "deeply disappointed with the proposed personnel rules" and that they "would undermine key employee protections that prevent workplace abuses and improve employee performance."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A15762-2005Feb10.html

Pentagon's Personnel System Faces Suit
Employee Unions Allege Federal Law Violations
By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 11, 2005; Page A23
Five federal-employee unions announced yesterday that they will file a lawsuit next week in U.S. District Court challenging parts of the Defense Department's new personnel system.
The unions contend that Pentagon officials went against federal law by refusing to adequately consult with employees' representatives in developing the sections on labor-management issues. They also say that the National Security Personnel System would gut collective bargaining in violation of federal law.
"Instead of working with the longstanding representatives of the military's loyal civilian employees, the Pentagon apparently would rather duke this out in federal court," John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a statement.
The other unions joining the suit include the Association of Civilian Technicians, the Laborers' International Union, the National Association of Government Employees and the National Federation of Federal Employees. Together, the five unions have about 250,000 members among the 750,000 civilian workers at the Defense Department, said Mark Roth, AFGE's general counsel.
Officials at the Pentagon and the Office of Personnel Management have defended the development of the system, saying it was a collaborative process that included a variety of viewpoints, including those of the unions.
Navy Secretary Gordon R. England, who oversaw the effort, noted yesterday that officials had held more than 100 town-hall-style meetings with employees and had consulted more than 50 focus groups. Administration officials had also held several meetings with representatives of more than 40 labor groups to hear concerns and gather ideas for designing the system, officials said.
Acting OPM Director Dan G. Blair said unions "are assured the right to organize. Their right to exist is not infringed at all. The process ensures collaboration and cooperation."
Congress gave the Pentagon the authority to rewrite its personnel rules in 2003 after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld argued that the current system is outdated, treats high-achieving employees no better than poor performers, and greatly limits the department's ability to fight global terrorism. Congress had given similar authority to the Department of Homeland Security a year earlier, and last month DHS officials unveiled their new system, which brought similar criticism -- and a lawsuit -- from employee unions.
In a news briefing yesterday, England said the new system would hold managers and employees more accountable for their performance, while giving the department more power over hiring, pay and the deployment of workers.
"We need to be able to pull resources and assign people. We need to be able to respond quickly to the threats we face today," he said. "If we want to hire specialty people today, it's a very lengthy process. This is a much more flexible and agile system."
England said the new system would do nothing to speed up the awarding of security clearances, a significant obstacle to hiring that can often take applicants more than a year to overcome.
The new work rules would replace the General Schedule with a system of "pay bands," or broad salary ranges attached to jobs newly grouped by occupation and skill level. Pay raises would be linked to annual job evaluations.
The Pentagon will create an internal labor relations board controlled by the defense secretary to resolve labor-management disputes. Employees who believe they have been unfairly disciplined could still seek redress before the independent Merit Systems Protection Board. But it would be harder for the board to mitigate punishments, and Pentagon officials would have new power to reject the decisions of administrative law judges.
The department will publish in the Federal Register on Monday details of the new system, which would be phased in over four years. Labor relations changes would begin department-wide this summer. And officials hope to move as many as 60,000 employees to the new job-evaluation system as early as July.
Roth, the AFGE official, said the unions' lawsuit, if successful, could force changes only in the labor relations component.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) said yesterday that he is "deeply disappointed by the DOD plan."
"The proposal imposes excessive limits on collective bargaining which are not necessary to maintain the critical mission of the department," he said in a statement. "It changes the appeals process to interfere with employees' rights to due process. And it contains unduly vague and untested pay and performance provisions."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A15675-2005Feb10.html

Senate Panel to Monitor Homeland Security's Personnel System
By Stephen Barr

Friday, February 11, 2005; Page B02
The Senate subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce served notice yesterday that it will be monitoring how the Department of Homeland Security applies new pay and personnel regulations to 110,000 of its civil service employees.
Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee that handles civil service issues, acknowledged that "there is strong disagreement over these final regulations," which were published 10 days ago.
After hearing testimony that the regulations do not address a number of details, including the nuts-and-bolts of administering a performance- based pay system, Voinovich told Bush administration officials that he would hold additional hearings.
Future hearings, he said, will focus on the department's pay and performance-management plans, the effectiveness of departmental leadership and the strategy used to explain the regulations to employees.
"To the administration, I say it is your obligation to continue to collaborate with the department's employees and their unions and do right by them in the new system," Voinovich said. "They must be treated equitably. . . . Every employee must receive the training and resources they need to make the most of his or her God-given talent."
Voinovich urged union leaders "to roll up your sleeves" and work with the Bush administration "to make this new system work well."
The department's regulations, authorized by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, dramatically change how employees are paid, promoted and disciplined. With the changes, the department's management will be able to deploy employees and introduce technology without delay, the administration promises.
Overall, the new personnel system -- which drops the 15-grade General Schedule and replaces it with a performance- and occupation-based system -- represents the most significant civil service changes in decades. The Defense Department yesterday announced similar changes, and the White House has called for extending performance-based systems to the rest of the government.
Bush administration officials expressed unwavering confidence that the regulations strike the proper balance between employees' rights and management's overriding mission of protecting the homeland. The department "should be entitled to the benefit of any doubt in determining the most appropriate penalty for misconduct or poor performance on the job," said Ronald P. Sanders, a top Office of Personnel Management official and one of the architects of the regulations.
But the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, signaled that he was troubled by the department's plans to speed up the process for disciplining employees and to curb the role of unions.
"The regulations fall short of our common goal of protecting the merit principles on which our country's federal civil service has been developed," Akaka said, adding that "we do not want a return to the spoils system."
Akaka said the regulations "seriously diminish collective bargaining rights for employees" and "deny opportunities for frontline employees to provide critical input on departmental programs and directives." Any personnel system must be "fair and perceived as fair in order to be credible," he said. "I believe the DHS regulations fall short of this goal."
Talk Shows
Mark Roth, general counsel of the American Federation of Government Employees, and T.J. Bonner, president of the AFGE's National Border Patrol Council, will discuss the new personnel system at Homeland Security on "FEDtalk" at 11 a.m. today on federalnewsradio.com.
Patrick Donahoe, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the U.S. Postal Service, will be the guest on the "IBM Business of Government Hour" at 9 a.m. tomorrow on WJFK radio (106.7 FM).
"Employee Giving: Does Charity Begin at Home?" will be the topic of discussion on the Imagene B. Stewart call-in program at 8 a.m. Sunday on WOL radio (1450 AM).

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/nation/10875281.htm

Security merit pay system is supported
Unions fear losing bargaining rights
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – New rules for a merit pay system at the Homeland Security Department won cautious support Thursday from congressional investigators who also urged the agency to explain how the change would be carried out.
The department needs to make sure that “sustained and committed” managers and a strong communications strategy are in place, the Government Accountability Office said in a report that was released Thursday.
“The regulations contain many of the basic principles that are consistent with proven approaches,” the report said.
The regulations, which are set to be phased in over several years, are intended to attract and reward high-performing employees.
They will also give agency managers broad authority to change workers’ shifts and duties without delay.
Unions representing the 110,000 employees who would be affected by the new rules say the change would ultimately limit their collective bargaining rights.
The department, however, says the regulations preserve collective bargaining rights for workers.
But a department fact sheet to employees states the regulations “expand the number of situations in which we will no longer bargain with employee representatives, and place time limitations on other areas where we will continue to engage in collective bargaining.”
The unions sued last month to block the regulations.
In a related matter, the American Federation of Government Employees filed suit Thursday against similar rules that were recently approved at the Defense Department.
The suit claims the rules would affect about 750,000 employees.
Gordon England, the Pentagon official who has overseen the development of the proposed new work rules for defense civilians, said at a news conference that they would provide a “much more flexible and agile system” that would reward employee performance more than longevity.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has promoted the changes as essential to transforming the Defense Department into a modern organization.

http://www.wtopnews.com/?sid=417214&nid=116
Pentagon Switches to Performance-Based Pay
Updated: Friday, Feb. 11, 2005 - 6:51 AM
The defense department and unions see the changes differently, reports WTOP's Maria Leaf.
By KATHLEEN CULLINAN
Capital News Service
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon on Thursday unveiled new personnel rules that would replace the current pay scale with a performance-based pay system and would reduce bargaining rights for civilian employees.
Labor unions quickly threatened to sue over the sweeping new rules, which the leader of the American Federation of Government Employees decried as "a joke."
The new system, which could eventually affect almost 700,000 civilian Defense Department workers, was announced just days after the Department of Homeland Security proposed a similar reform of civil service rules for about 110,000 of its workers.
"As with the DHS regulations, those advance by the Defense Department will go a long way toward demoralizing the DoD work force," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.
She said that was particularly true because of the plans' "limits on collective bargaining and the shrinking of independent third-party review of labor-management disputes."
But Navy Secretary Gordon England said Thursday that the Pentagon's proposed regulations would be more "agile" than the 50-year-old civil service rules currently in effect.
"It's an outdated system, frankly," England said of the current regulations.
England said the new rules came from a "very, very broad-based" collaborative process that included more than 100 town-hall-style meetings and 50 focus groups.
Hiring will be faster under the new system, according to a Pentagon summary of the rule changes, and the new pay system will allow managers to reward workers for their performance rather than their time spent in the job.
The department also said that besides creating more dialogue between workers and managers, the streamlined hiring and labor review processes would give the Pentagon the flexibility needed to respond to security threats in a rapidly changing world.
The changes cannot be finalized for several months, as the Pentagon solicits public comment and considers any changes. Once finalized, the labor rule changes would take effect immediately but the pay system changes would begin with a first wave of about 60,000 employees who would be switched over to the new system this summer.
"We're changing the culture," said Dan Blair, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management. But he conceded that the shift is "going to take training" and time.
England, in a prepared statement, called the proposal "a win for our employees, a win for our military and a win for our nation." Union officials disagreed.
"If anything, the . . . plan makes the nation less secure," AFGE President John Gage said in a statement.
AFGE has already filed a lawsuit, in conjunction with other unions, against the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to halt its proposed personnel rule changes. And union representatives threatened to challenge the Defense Department rules in federal court as soon as they are published in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen Monday.
The Pentagon announcement came several hours after a congressional hearing on the Homeland Security personnel proposal.
Labor officials said the plan, which would reduce rights to collective bargaining and create an internal review board to resolve labor disputes, are not only bad for the department's employees but are "very bad for homeland security."
AFGE attorney Mark Roth called the proposed system at Homeland Security "a 19th-century model" that would be harmful for the department and the country.

http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=116&sid=416676

Homeland Security Workers Rules Supported
Updated: Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 - 6:00 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - New rules for a merit pay system at the Homeland Security Department won cautious support Thursday from congressional investigators who also urged the agency to explain how the change would be carried out.
The department needs to make sure that "sustained and committed" managers and a strong communications strategy are in place, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday.
"The regulations contain many of the basic principles that are consistent with proven approaches," the report said.
The regulations, set to be phased in over several years, are intended to attract and reward high-performing employees, and give agency managers broad authority to change workers' shifts and duties without delay.
Unions representing the 110,000 employees who would be affected say the change would limit their collective bargaining rights.
The department says the regulations preserve collective bargaining rights for workers. But a department fact sheet to employees states the regulations "expand the number of situations in which we will no longer bargain with employee representatives, and place time limitations on other areas where we will continue to engage in collective bargaining."
The unions sued last month to block the regulations. In a related matter, the American Federation of Government Employees filed suit Thursday against similar rules recently approved at the Defense Department that would affect about 750,000 employees.
Gordon England, the Pentagon official who has overseen the development of the proposed new work rules for defense civilians, said at a news conference that they would provide a "much more flexible and agile system" that rewards performance more than longevity. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has promoted the changes as essential to transforming the Defense Department into a modern organization.

http://www.nbc4.com/news/4186461/detail.html

New Pay System Heads To Defense Department
Raises, Promotions Will Now Be Merit-Based
POSTED: 5:20 pm EST February 10, 2005
UPDATED: 5:29 pm EST February 10, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Big changes are coming for civilian workers in the Department of Defense. In July, the Bush Administration is replacing the traditional Civil Service system with merit pay. The move comes on the heels of similar pay changes announced last month for the Department of Homeland Security.
The changes have been in the works since 2003, when Congress granted Pentagon officials control over how civilian workers are hired, promoted and paid. With 750,000 workers, the Department of Defense is the largest government agency.
Union officials say the plan is a way for the government to cut salaries. Pentagon officials say the changes won't undermine employee rights. Raises will now be performance-based, rather than automatic. Pentagon officials say supervisors and managers will be held accountable as well.

The new work rules will be published in the Federal Register Feb. 14. Union leaders and Pentagon officials urge workers to submit their comments regarding the changes within 30 days.


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