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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Contact: Eldon Girdner
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Personnel Experts Brief Unions, Congressional Staff and Stakeholders on DHS Personnel System Regulations

James calls process a "model" for future reform

Washington, D.C. - Congressional offices, organizations representing veterans, Federal senior executives, professional associations and numerous other stakeholder groups were briefed today by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on final regulations establishing the human resources management systems for the Department of Homeland Security.

Commenting on the launch of the DHS personnel system Kay Coles James, OPM Director, stated, "The process to design the DHS personnel system was thorough, comprehensive and inclusive. Eighty DHS employees, supervisors, union representatives and OPM representatives were members of the design team. Over 65 public and private sector organizations and HR experts were contacted. Sixty-four focus groups and town hall meetings were conducted across the country to gain input from over 2,500 DHS employees. The final result is a system which enables DHS to accomplish its mission while fully protecting the civil service rights of Federal employees."

James further stated, "The system was created because our patriotic civil servants need a system that honors their efforts and not processes that fail to support the mission."

The DHS design team created 52 options for the personnel system and solicited more than 3,800 public comments. Union representatives were able to "meet and confer" on proposed regulations for more than 30 days.

The regulations outline the design of a system that will affect about 110,000 employees. The 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 implementation plan calls for a multi-year schedule. Using the framework established in the regulations, work will begin in establishing new policies and procedures for labor relations, adverse actions, and appeals including the formation of the Homeland Security Labor Relations Board. 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. Work will also be underway in the first year to develop HR information technology solutions to support this initiative.

Communicating these changes is a critical part of this effort, and the Department of Homeland Security has made a serious commitment to ensure employees receive the information and training they need throughout implementation of the program. In the coming months, the department will roll out briefing sessions, satellite broadcasts, web-based training modules, classroom training, and print materials.

Congressional offices, stakeholders and other organizations briefed today included:

· Majority and minority offices of the House Government Reform Committee (including majority and minority offices of the Subcommittees on Civil Service)

· Majority and minority offices of the Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee (including majority and minority Subcommittee on Oversight of Government and Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia)

· Merit System Protection Board

· International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

· National Federation of Federal Employees

· Metal Trades AFL-CIO

· Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

· Fraternal Order of Police

· Senior Executive Association

· National Treasury Employees Union

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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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