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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Contact: Eldon Girdner
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Official Testifies to Senate Committee on DHS Personnel System

Washington, D.C. - Ron Sanders, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Associate Director for Strategic Human Resources Policy, testified before a Senate Committee today on the design of the personnel system for the Department of Homeland Security.

In written testimony provided to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Sanders praised the work of Congress, DHS senior leaders, employees and union representatives and other stakeholders who were integral to the creation of the final regulations published in the Federal Register.

Sanders stated, "The regulations are the result of an intensely collaborative process that has taken almost two years -- and we are all quite proud of it. However, it is not the end, but only the end of the beginning, and the Department must now embark upon the challenge of implementation. As it does, I want to express our appreciation to you for your leadership, and that of this Subcommittee, in this historic effort. Without it, we would not be here today, and we look forward to it in the future."

The DHS personnel system is designed to create an environment that enhances recruitment, retention, and development of superior talent by recognizing and rewarding employee contributions, to achieve the highest levels of individual performance and accountability. The new performance management system is expected to launch in the fall of 2005 with pay and classification changes implemented the following year for some employee groups.

Providing general comments on the DHS personnel system, Sanders said, "If DHS is to be held accountable for homeland security, it must have the authority and flexibility essential to that mission. That is why Congress gave the Department and OPM approval to waive and revise the laws governing classification, pay, performance management, labor relations, adverse actions, and appeals. And that is why we have made the changes that we did. However, in so doing we believe that we have succeeded in striking a better balance - between union and employee interests on one hand, and the Department's mission imperatives on the other."

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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