Letters to the editor
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?"
Last August, I retired as an NH-3 from civil service with the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA), Camp Pendleton, Calif. We were under one of the demonstration projects. Supposedly, that gave us the capability of easier hiring from outside the civil service system. It did not.
MCTSSA primarily consists of information technology personnel. The only successes we had in attracting and hiring people were with the former military, contractor or civil servant personnel that were associated with us.
In order to hire direct from the civilian job corps, the hiring process must be reduced from the six-plus months it takes now to less than one month (preferably two weeks).
My personal objection to the specific demonstration project we were under was the requirement for annual self-assessment of the demonstration Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System. This self-evaluation was then used as the starting point for the determination of annual bonus and pay increases.
I agree with the concept of employee input of what was accomplished; however, I strongly disagree that the employee should be required to elaborate on either how well the job was accomplished or on the scope that what was accomplished affected the MCTSSA's mission. (To me, this evaluation should only be the responsibility of supervisors.)
I hope that whatever system this new agency uses, it does not require employee self-evaluation and that it does strongly promote rapid employment and the possibility of rapid advancement.
Wallace H. Riley
I oppose giving the Homeland Security Department different personnel rules than other government agencies on the logical ground that if the existing rules are inefficient or otherwise flawed, they should be changed for all government agencies.
There is no reason to have a higher level of efficiency for one department or agency over another because of a difference in function or mission.
William Billingsley Sparta Inc.