Pentagon to Appeal Court Ruling Against New Personnel System
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 1, 2006 The Pentagon plans to appeal a recent federal court decision that stalled some labor-management provisions of the new National Security Personnel System, a senior Defense Department official said here today.
"Clearly, the department will be working with the Department of Justice on the appeal of that decision," DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled Feb. 27 that proposed NSPS provisions would not protect civilian employees' ability to bargain collectively. The cited provisions involve labor relations, collective bargaining, independent third-party review, adverse actions and the National Security Labor Relations Board, DoD's proposed internal labor relations panel, according to the court's 77-page decision.
In 2003, DoD began work to establish a new civilian personnel compensation and management process that rewards employees according to performance. Old civil service rules mostly tied employees' raises to an individual's length of service. In February 2005, the American Federation of Government Employees and a dozen other labor unions filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department over the establishment of the NSPS.
Defense Department officials believe the department needs to transform its 50-year-old civilian personnel system into one that's more capable and flexible in order to better meet 21st-century challenges, Whitman said. DoD and the Office of Personnel Management have worked together to create the NSPS, a personnel management process that'll eventually apply to more than 650,000 DoD civilian employees.