WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., issued the following statement on proposed new regulations for Department of Defense employees:
“I was deeply disappointed with the proposed personnel rules announced Thursday by the Department of Defense. I believe the proposal would undermine key employee protections that prevent workplace abuses and improve employee performance.
“The proposal imposes excessive limits on collective bargaining which are not necessary to maintain the critical mission of the department. It changes the appeals process to interfere with employees’ rights to due process. And it contains unduly vague and untested pay and performance provisions. “I am particularly troubled by the way the proposal would subvert collective bargaining. Some in this Administration seem to believe that robust union activity is incompatible with effective action to protect our nation. I strongly disagree. Unionized Defense Department employees and other security officers have proven themselves to be effective guardians of our national security, particularly since the War on Terror began. “The President’s FY 2006 budget states that the Administration will be working to grant managers across government the same broad freedom to fix employees’ pay levels as the Department of Homeland Security and DOD will exercise. However, Congress granted DHS and DOD extraordinary flexibility to waive civil service protections because of their unique security mission. Now that DHS and DOD are undertaking an experimental revamping of the civil service system, we should at least see how it works before we consider extending the power to other agencies without critical national security responsibilities.”