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DHS Chief to Washington Post: Actually, 90 Percent of our Senior Positions Are Filled

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Flickr user Minex Guatemala

With all he has on his plate at a time of border crossings and threats from ISIS, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson took time to rebut a long Washington Post feature faulting his massive department for heavy turnover.

The Post’s Sept. 22 front-page article “disregarded the present,” Johnson wrote in a letter to the editor published Wednesday.

The Post had charged that DHS employees over the past four years have left “at a rate nearly twice as fast as in the federal government overall, and the trend is accelerating, according to a review of a federal database. The departures are a result of what employees widely describe as a dysfunctional work environment, abysmal morale, and the lure of private security companies paying top dollar that have proliferated in Washington since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”

But Johnson argued that during his tenure, “in the past nine months, there have been 12 presidential appointments to senior-level positions…In fact, 90 percent of all positions at the senior, executive-service level and above across this 240,000-person department are filled.”

He then listed the top executives either in place or as nominations pending in the Senate. “Over nine months, this department has quickly transformed into one with steady and able leadership,” Johnson wrote. “The Post almost completely overlooked these remarkable, unprecedented changes.”

(Image via Flickr user Minex Guatemala)

Charles S. Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books, and organizational media strategies.

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