Funding cuts slow DHS personnel systems

Homeland Security Department officials are grappling with the need to slow the pace of the department's human resources system project after Congress slashed its funding.

Conferees on the DHS appropriations bill set a $43.2 million budget for the department's human resources work, including the MAXHR system, rather than the $70 million that the appropriations committees in each chamber had approved.

The administration had requested $133.5 million for the department's human resources projects, including $21 million for MAXHR.

DHS issued a contract to Northrop Grumman in June for MAXHR that provided for spending of up to $175 million over three years via a blanket purchase agreement.

DHS deputy secretary James Loy said today at a lunch meeting sponsored by IBM Corp. that the department plans to submit its personnel regulations proposal to the White House on Dec. 17.

Following the meeting, he said that the funding cutback could slow the rollout of the system.

Loy said that DHS does have the authority to seek a reprogramming of its funds to speed MAXHR's progress.

"We also watch the supplemental [appropriations bill Congress may pass] very closely," Loy said.

The funding reduction could slow down some of the computer-based training that the department plans as it rolls out the personnel system in 2005 and future years, a DHS official said.

"Some of the funding [that Congress cut] is for the fundamental IT backbone of the system, that allows me to find you in the system and find out how much you are paid," the official said.

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