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News Release

Friday, June 27, 2003
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM's James Praises Participation of Employees, Managers, Unions for Homeland Department Design

DHS Personnel System Design Team Concludes Town Halls/Focus Group Meetings in L.A. and Seattle

Washington, DC - The design team responsible for presenting options for creation of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) personnel system met in Los Angeles and Seattle to listen to the comments and concerns of rank and file employees, managers, and employee unions yesterday.

Kay Coles James, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency partnered by law with DHS to create the personnel system, praised the work of the design team and those participating in the meeting. "I want to thank each member of the design team responsible for researching options for creating the personnel system. These individuals reached a major milestone yesterday when they completed their final town hall meetings and focus groups with DHS employees, managers and union representatives in Seattle and Los Angeles. This concludes a demanding tour of eight cities in the last month that solicited the comments and concerns of rank and file employees, managers and union representatives."

The design team conducted a series of eight meetings across the nation. In every city, a "town hall" meeting was held with representatives from OPM, DHS and federal employee unions, followed by a robust question-and-answer session. After each town hall meeting, six smaller focus groups were conducted to gather a more detailed understanding of the concerns and suggestions of employees and managers.

When the design team completes work in late September, it will deliver options to a senior review committee comprised of top leaders from OPM and DHS, as well as the presidents of the three national employee unions represented by DHS. The senior review committee will develop a final set of options that will be presented to the Director and the Secretary. The Director and Secretary will then issue proposed new personnel rules for the Department for public comment and close consultation with employee groups before final rules are issued early next year.

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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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