Chertoff: CIO, CFO did not get more power

A recent top-to-bottom review of the Homeland Security Department purposely did not recommend giving the chief information officer and chief financial officer more authority, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said today.

The two positions will continue to work closely with the secretary’s office through the existing management structure, Chertoff said at the Excellence in Government conference in Washington, D.C.

The CIO and CFO currently report to DHS’ undersecretary for management, Janet Hale. Many former and current government officials and industry experts have suggested that making the CIO and CFO report directly to Chertoff would give those positions more clout to achieve departmentwide results.

Chertoff disagreed. “Simply creating more direct reports creates the illusion of coordination rather than the reality of coordination,” he said.

When Chertoff took over as DHS chief in March, 29 different units in the department reported directly to him, he said. The departmentwide review lowered that number to 25.

Chertoff also stated his support for MaxHR, a new human resources IT system that would support a pay-for-performance approach to employee raises and promotions.

DHS employees are currently paid based on the 15-grade General Schedule pay scale that federal agencies have used for 50 years. The new system seeks to give managers more flexibility to reassign employees.

MaxHR has been controversial because unions warn that the system would reduce employees' collective bargaining rights and loosen management's requirements to consult unions on decisions.

Chertoff has asked Congress to fully fund President Bush's budget request for MaxHR to get the system running as soon as possible, he said.


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