Friday, August 20, 2004

Honoring the Proud Legacy of Andrew Johnson 

You will recall that the Bush administration did not want a Department of Homeland Security to begin with -- but after it was forced upon them, they cannily realized it could be used as a lever to cripple the unions and reconstitute the civil service as a national patronage system. A recipe for lemonade, from the Washington Post:
Two union leaders told their members yesterday that the Department of Homeland Security walked out of talks on new rules that will change how 110,000 of the department's employees are paid, promoted and disciplined.

The department disputed that characterization and said the talks will soon move to the next level -- a meeting at which Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Kay Coles James, director of the Office of Personnel Management, will be present.

The apparent breakdown between the unions and the Bush administration underscores the tensions in play as the department prepares for one of the largest changes to the civil service system in recent decades. Civil service experts say it could be a model for remaking rules at the Defense Department and other agencies.

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