October 27, 2005
Emily Ryan
(202) 639-6421

Law Enforcement Personnel System Concept Paper Cause for Concern, says AFGE

(Washington)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is extremely disappointed that the concept paper distributed yesterday by the House Government Reform and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittees on the federal workforce fails to address many of the problems that make it difficult for the federal government to attract and retain the best and brightest law enforcement officers, and expands upon the Department of Homeland Security personnel system in ways that will encourage attrition.

The proposal would allow the Office of Personnel Management to make determinations of eligibility regarding retirement benefits as well as in pay and classification decisions. “Given OPM’s clear opposition to recognizing CBP officers as the law enforcement officers they are and always have been, we have no reason to believe this proposal will lead toward improved benefits or better pay for these officers,” said Gage. “In fact, the reverse is more likely to be true.”
AFGE also is concerned about other aspects of the proposal including the establishment of a pay-for-performance system similar to that proposed for all DHS employees. “The problem with pay-for-performance in law enforcement is that it discourages teamwork which often is the most critical element of success in this field,” Gage stated. 

Gage further said that the union is troubled by language in the paper suggesting that changes in collective bargaining, adverse actions and appeals under Title 5 of the United States Code may be necessary.
The one area that seemed encouraging in the proposal according to AFGE is a new initiative establishing a Housing Allowance Trust Fund for law enforcement personnel in the amount of 10 percent of the median value of homes in the area. “We believe this a good idea and we will support it,” said Gage.

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