Letters to the Editor

{Italics} Following are responses to an FCW.com poll question that asked, "Do you support giving the proposed Homeland Security Department its own personnel rules to hire, fire and retain employees?" {end italics}

Yes. I feel with so much at stake that this organization should have the flexibility to make personnel moves as needed. I think Sen. Edward Kennedy is off his rocker in proposing that we don't upset the various unions involved. I would much rather upset these unions than risk getting more people killed or harmed.

Bruce Woods NOLA Computer Services Inc.

***

Why would you want to tie the department's hands in terms of hiring, firing and retaining employees for such a critical mission? Do the FBI and CIA have these flexibilities? If they do, then the Homeland Security Department must have the same capabilities. If not then read on.

If the Homeland Security Department must depend on the complete bureaucracy of civil service standards, the whole program would be ineffective in dealing with poor performance issues. I would advocate using civil service guidelines with some modified rules that allow for specific rules for releasing or, at a minimum, transferring employees out of the service of the department for failing to maintain certain standards of performance.

This program will have too much at risk to allow for long drawn-out processes to remove those who are jeopardizing homeland security. It will be absolutely essential that this strategic program have more advanced rules and policies to deal effectively with those who would or could harm our fellow Americans through lack of performing their duties or putting us at risk by ignoring policies and procedures.

I would explore the idea of a dedicated service department with similar requirements and standards as used in the Secret Service. I propose an organization somewhere between the uniformed services and Secret Service structure with high accountability for their responsibilities and actions. It should not be at the level of general civil service, where there is a lack of flexibility to act swiftly when a weakness is discovered or identified in the personnel ranks.

Name withheld by request

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