President Bush Thanks Homeland Security Workers
Federal Employees and the New Department of Homeland Security
The President believes that Federal employees are critical to the
success of our mission to combat terrorism. Yet, at present, the
Federal Government is not as well organized as it should be to defend
America from this threat.
President Bush has proposed the most significant reorganization of
government since 1947. Responsibility for homeland security is
currently dispersed among more than one hundred different government
organizations. The President's proposal would create a single Cabinet-level department whose primary mission is to protect our homeland.
Background on How the New Department Affects Federal Employees
The President's bill creates a broad framework that allows the new
Department to retain the best aspects of the government's existing
personnel systems and builds on them.
Federal workers transferring to the new Department will
bring their current pay and benefits with them. They will enjoy the
same benefits (health, retirement, life insurance, and the new long-term care insurance plan) that are available to employees today.
When the new Department is established, employees represented by unions will continue to be represented; their bargaining units will
move with them.
Veterans will continue to be eligible to receive employment
preference in the new Department.
The new Department will be bound by merit system
principles: fair treatment without regard to political affiliation;
equal pay for equal work; and protection for whistleblowers.
Efficiencies and Managerial Flexibility in the New Department
Consolidating the large number of agencies now involved in
some aspect of fighting terrorism into one department will yield
significant efficiencies. By eliminating duplicative and overlapping
functions, employees can be freed to focus on protecting Americans on
the front line.
Employees in the agencies that would transfer to the new
Department now work under different pay systems and would bring a
variety of differing employment policies that have evolved over time. The new Secretary of Homeland Security will need to have the flexibility to manage the newly formed Department with a personnel system that allows the Secretary to put the right people in the right place at the right
The goal of the new system is to attract and retain good
people, pay them fairly, offer incentives for exceptional contributions and
ensure accountability for individual performance