Fresh from accusations that the Social Security administration is being used as propaganda farm, the Bush administration today launched a trial balloon to destroy civil service unions, and indeed the entire idea of a tenured (and, one must presume, nonpolitical) civil service.
Civil Service System on Way Out at DHS: The Bush administration unveiled a new personnel system for the Department of Homeland Security yesterday that will dramatically change the way workers are paid, promoted, deployed and disciplined — and soon the White House will ask Congress to grant all federal agencies similar authority to rewrite civil service rules governing their employees.
… . Bush officials said that the old rules were outdated and too restrictive and that the government needed a more “flexible” workforce [at DHS] to fight terrorism.
Most likely translation: We hate unions. We are the victors. We demand the spoils.
UPDATE: Washingtonpost.com hosts Undersecretary for Management at the Department of Homeland Security Janet Hale for online questions:
Arlington, Va.: Ms. Hale – I've worked in a few govenrment agencies in my 20 years. Unfortunately, I've seen some awful managers who liked power or used their position to create a click of favorite employees. How does the new rating system address the abuse of favoritism ? If fact, doesn't taking away the step structure only increase the potential for supervisor favoritism ?
Janet Hale: I heard this expressed alot as I traveled across the country and have talked to dedicated DHS employees. Our goal is to have a fair, transparent system that all will understand and trust. We are commited [sic] to implmenting [sic]the peformance [sic]management provisions wiht [sic]direct employee and their reprsentatives [sic]involvement in order to achieve our objective.
Most likely translation: Workers are so **f*** [sic].