The Homeland Security Act leaves employee rights intact,
said Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles
James in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on
Oversight of Government Management and the House Subcommittee
on Civil Service, OPM has announced.
According to OPM, James also said it was irresponsible to
give the impression that employee rights had been taken
away from DHS employees. OPM, unions and DHS continue to
discussions as to whether those rights actually have been
The proposed rules include a pay-for-performance system,
a labor-relations board, and processes to handle
disciplinary actions, and remain open for public comment
through March 22.
During her testimony, James argued for the importance of
human resources flexibilities for DHS and responded to
concerns that employee rights would be eroded under the
recently proposed personnel system rules by saying that
merit system principles would remain intact.
She also testified that veteran’s preference would not be
compromised, whistleblowers would be protected as before
and personnel practices previously prohibited would remain
so. James said that employees would still be afforded due
process prior to an adverse action against them and that
they would still be free to join unions and bargain