The House of Representatives recently voted to shift about half of the proposed $53 million earmarked for implementing new personnel reforms at the Department of Homeland Security to pay for training and equipment for federal firefighters.
What the impact of the transfer of funds means to the reform movement may not be clear, but union officials welcomed the move.
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley, whose union represents more than 15,000 border security workers, called the transfer of funds “a much better use of the money than the purpose for which DHS initially requested it—implementing this unnecessary and unwise personnel system.”
The administration had sought an increase for DHS of $53 million over last year for implementing its new personnel rules, including spending $18 million on contractors to help design the performance management component of the system and another $6 million to set up internal labor relations boards. Kelley expressed NTEU’s strong opposition to these proposed expenditures in a letter to every member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.
While applauding the shift of funds, Kelley went on to reiterate the union’s concerns that the bill fails to provide adequate staffing and resource levels for employees of DHS’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.