Border Patrol Union President Predicts Adverse Impact on National Security Workforce

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In an article published in the March 7, 2005 edition of The Federal Times (A Dangerous Experiment in Civil Service Reform, March 7, 2005), the leading non-partisan publication on government personnel matters and operations, outspoken Border Patrol Union President Joseph N. Dassaro predicts a significant adverse impact on overall efficiency of the national security workforce due to the recent promulgation of new personnel rules for employees of the Department of Homeland Security.

In an article published in the March 7, 2005 edition of The Federal Times (A Dangerous Experiment in Civil Service Reform, March 7, 2005), the leading non-partisan publication on government personnel matters and operations, outspoken Border Patrol Union President Joseph N. Dassaro predicts a significant adverse impact on overall efficiency of the national security workforce due to the recent promulgation of new personnel rules for employees of the Department of Homeland Security. Dassaro, a thirteen-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol, calls the new personnel rules, “A dangerous experiment in civil service reform” which “Places the quality and continuity of vital government services at unnecessary risk.”

In his article, Dassaro establishes a correlation between the new personnel system, already proven in part to be a qualified failure when deployed in other government agencies, to widespread mismanagement and operational deficiencies noting that, “The department is under immense strain and heading towards catastrophic failure.” Further exacerbating the situation are recent attempts, through the use of broad non-disclosure agreements by the Department of Homeland Security, to silence its own employees from disclosing organizational and operational deficiencies to both Congress and the American public. The non-disclosure agreements were so wide reaching and threatening that U.S. Border Patrol Agents indicated they would no longer provide critical information to Congressional representatives even if compelled. In combination, the new personnel rules and non-disclosure agreements constitute an attempt to shield the agency from real public scrutiny and substantive oversight. Without the traditional primary non-political sources of information, such as field agents, Congress will simply have no impartial means of determining whether the agency is conducting effective operations or engaged in systemic mismanagement and ineffectiveness as is arguably the case now. We need to only examine the critical role played by field agents in exposing the systemic problems of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service to understand their informational value.

Finally, in his article, Dassaro suggests there is a, “Distinct possibility the work force as a whole may revolt.” Although not speculating as to open rebellion among federal employees, the article theorizes that anger and dissatisfaction in the work force will manifest in general lower productivity through greater absenteeism, higher critical turnover (already experienced by the Border Patrol), workplace violence, and job disinterest, with potentially disastrous consequences for the nation as a whole.

Joseph N. Dassaro is President of Local 1613 of the National Border Patrol Council (http://www.nbpc1613.org), the largest local union representing United States Border Patrol Agents in the nation. He is a thirteen-year veteran of the Border Patrol. He also possesses a B.A. in Labor Studies from the National Labor College and is completing his final semester of graduate work in pursuit of his M.A. in Legal and Ethical Studies through the University Of Baltimore. Mr. Dassaro is currently engaged in both academic and field research into the relationship of federal labor relations and organizational efficiency.

To gain full online access to the article A Dangerous Experiment in Civil Service Reform, please visit the following link: http://www.federaltimes.com/index.php?S=700460 . Additional articles by Mr. Dassaro can be located in the Opinions and Commentary Section of his organization’s website at http://www.nbpc1613.org.

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