DHS working on personnel system

The design process for creating the personnel system for the Homeland Security Department (DHS) began this week.

Janet Hale, undersecretary for management at the new department, said in a memo to employees that a team of representatives from DHS, the Office of Personnel Management and the major unions will help create the new human resources management system.

Also, a Web site will be set up so that all employees can e-mail the team their suggestions for the new system.

"We want this process to be very inclusive, and we will seek out and listen to DHS employees and managers, and experts both inside and outside of government," Hale said. The new personnel system must be able to attract, motivate, reward and train the best and the brightest, she said.

The team will present its options to Secretary Tom Ridge and OPM's director in the fall and implement any changes beginning in 2004.

When President Bush signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, he introduced new management provisions that affect DHS as well as agencies governmentwide.

The provisions for the department, which give the secretary broad power to hire, fire, pay and manage employees, are more sweeping than those offered governmentwide, which in some cases extend existing authorities.

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