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The rules are being changed that dictate how Department of Defense civilian employees get hired and fired, promoted and paid, disciplined and assigned.

Workers can learn why and help shape the new rules by attending town hall meetings this week in Germany.

The law, called the National Security Personnel System, was enacted this year by Congress and allows the DOD and Department of Homeland Security to change their personnel rules.

“There’s a general feeling that the rules we work under were thought up 40 or 50 years ago, but times have changed,” said Dave Hamilton, chief of the Stuttgart Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. “[For example] we didn’t have computers back then.

“This is to take advantage of technology and the pace of change.”

The meetings are scheduled to last up to two hours, depending on the amount of feedback and questions. A presentation of a recorded town hall meeting will be scheduled at other U.S. Army Europe locations this fall.

Hamilton said the current rules sometimes make it hard to put the right people in the right jobs and pay them what they’re worth. Job classifications such as GS-6 and GS-7 can be too rigid. Goals include making the system simpler and more flexible.

Another goal is to stop rewarding employees who don’t deserve it.

“There’s a frustration among managers because it takes a lot of effort and time to deal with problem employees,” Hamilton said.

“The new system will have some sort of pay-for-performance so people don’t get automatic pay increases just because they worked for one year at a job. It’s also a way to reward the bright chargers, the star employees.”

Jeannie Davis, director of civilian personnel for USAREUR in Heidelberg, said civilian employees are encouraged to attend one of the meetings if it is OK with their bosses. They will not be charged time off for attending, she said.

“I hope people recognize how much potential and sweeping change there is going to be for the civilian personnel and management system,” she said.

Schedule of meetings

Stuttgart: 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Base Theater, Patch Barracks

Heidelberg: 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Patrick Henry Village, Village Pavilion

Kaiserslautern: 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Vogelweh Community Center Ballroom


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