May 15, 2003
Diane Witiak
(202) 639-6419

House Committee Turns Its Back On DoD Civilian Employees

(Washington, D.C.)—“Today the Republicans in the House Armed Services Committee turned their backs on Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees who have spent their entire careers preparing, supplying and mobilizing our troops as well as caring for our troops’ families in peace time and during times of war,” stated AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr., following Committee passage of H.R. 1836.

“The Committee also turned its back on America by rushing to dismantle the essence of our civil service system which has provided America with high quality work, particularly in DoD, whether the President and the Secretary were Republicans or Democrats. We have a civil service system because before that we had a spoils system.

“Can the current system be made better? Absolutely, but Congress isn’t passing judgement on a new system after thoughtful examination and debate regarding how our government functions are to be carried out.

“Instead of a civil service system, the Secretary of Defense will be given virtually unlimited and unreviewable authority to create whatever he would like to do today, tomorrow, or next year.

“No government agency should be above the law and Congress should never give an agency a blank check. We should have all learned a lesson from Enron and World Com that ‘no rules’ and ‘governance in darkness’ are recipes for disaster. We certainly don’t need to relearn this lesson five years from now when something goes dangerously awry because Congress gave DoD the ability to operate in the same way that Enron did.

“This hasty action is an insult to the terrific men and women in DoD and a real disservice to our country.”

AFGE is the largest federal employee union, representing some 600,000 government workers nationwide. AFGE represents over 200,000 dedicated employees working for the Department of Defense.

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