Federal Manager's Daily Report

Meetings are ongoing between those designing the Department

of Homeland Security’s personnel system and the heads of


federal employee unions, as both sides say they want to

keep open the lines of communication as the rules go

through their comment period.

Under the new system basic pay would be replaced with pay

bands and broad occupational groups such as entry level,

full performance, senior expert and first line supervisor.

Rates would be set by surveys, adjusted annually and would

include performance-based bonuses.

The two major unions representing DHS employees are the

American Federation of Government Employees and the

National Treasury Employees Union. The unions had formal

roles in the early stages of the DHS planning but were

not part of the actual rule writing.

As with the parallel personnel overhaul underway at the

Defense Department, the unions’ main concerns focus on

employee appeal rights, the scope of bargaining and issues

involving eligibility for union membership. NTEU has

cautioned against rumors to the effect that DHS employees

would lose union representation on March 1, 2004 under the

new personnel system, stating that contracts will remain

in effect on that date.

The system will likely be a prototype for other government

bodies and is attracting attention on Capitol Hill as well.

In a statement on the new DHS system Senate Governmental

Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins announced her

intention to review how DHS plans to consult with unions

on workforce matters, noting that the proposed system is a

significant departure from current practices. House

hearings are planned for this week.