November 28, 2005
Emily Ryan
(202) 639-6421
[email protected]

DHS 'Emergency' Shows Clear Lack of Confidence, says AFGE

(Washington)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and four other unions today filed an opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) motion for expedited treatment of its appeals regarding implementation of MaxHR, the agency’s proposed personnel regulations.

“Implementation of MaxHR first was blocked in August and DHS decided not to appeal at that time and instead waited until October,” AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth said. “Now, almost four months after the initial ruling—and three years after being given authorization to create a new personnel system—DHS has decided that this is an emergency? This is a clear example of an agency that has backed itself into a corner and now desperately is trying to get out.”

AFGE argues that the government’s justifications for its motion are baseless in that they do not satisfy the court’s demanding standards. “DHS’ efforts for an expedited hearing are unwarranted and frankly, totally absurd,” Roth said, “and now it wants the courts to bend over backward to accommodate its request. The whole notion that this all of a sudden is a dire matter is preposterous.”

In August, Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion that forbade DHS from implementing the labor-relations portion of its new personnel system, which is designed to replace the current General Schedule (GS) civil service system. In October, after hearing oral arguments from AFGE and other unions, Judge Collyer declined DHS’ motion for an amendment to the judge's opinion that would permit the agency to go ahead with the new work rules. On Nov. 14, AFGE filed a cross-appeal in response to a DHS plea regarding a that decision.

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