Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Court Blocks Enforcement of Personnel Rules

Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Court Blocks Enforcement of Personnel Rules

Article excerpt

A federal judge has barred the Department of Homeland Security from implementing major portions of its new personnel system.

When DHS was created, Congress gave the secretary of DHS and the director of the Office of Personnel Management the unusual authority to develop a separate human-resources management system. That authority, according to court documents, was not bound by "the constraints imposed by the civil service laws that normally govern employees in the competitive service of the federal government."

Congress mandated that the system be flexible and ensure the ability of employees to bargain collectively. A slew of unions, which collectively represent approximately 60,000 DHS employees, challenged the regulations for allegedly failing to comply with these congressional requirements and for creating disciplinary methods exceeding the authority of the DHS agencies.

The district court judge for the District of Columbia, Rosemary M. Collyer, ruled in August that "significant aspects of the human-resources system fail to conform to the express dictates of the Homeland Security Act," which created the department. …

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