DHS: No appeals court rehearing for MaxHR

NTEU v. Michael Chertoff ruling

A Homeland Security Department spokesperson said the agency will not seek a rehearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on its embattled pay-for-performance management system, known as MaxHR. DHS was required to ask for a rehearing by midnight Aug. 11, but it opted not to.

DHS can still take the case to the Supreme Court as long as it files an appeal by Sept. 25.

MaxHR is DHS’ initiative to replace the General Schedule system, which bases pay raises in large part on length of government service, in favor of raises based mostly on job performance. Bush administration officials have said MaxHR could serve as a model for governmentwide pay-for-performance reforms.

However, the system has been mired in litigation with five unions that dispute its labor relations rules. In a decision at the end of July, an appeals court stated that portions of MaxHR related to labor relations illegally restrict the scope of collective bargaining and cannot be implemented.

However, despite the appeals court rulings, DHS said it still supports the labor-related aspects of MaxHR.

“DHS and [the Office of Personnel Management] still strongly support the labor relations flexibilities in the regulations and believe that those flexibilities are essential to carrying out the DHS mission,” said Larry Orluskie, a DHS spokesman.

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