Bill Conroy's Comments
The NTEU, which has endorsed Sen. John F. Kerry for president, is currently battling the Bush administration and DHS over proposed workplace rule changes that will severely limit the union's ability to represent workers within the new super department.
The leaked Kelley memo, which is directed to NTEU chapter presidents, also deals with a workplace-rights issue. The memo, dated Nov. 14, 2003, is the real thing. A spokesman for the union confirmed that fact.
The memo reveals something quite startling in terms of how the government operates with respect to promoting the right people to the right jobs. Essentially, the memo indicates that since December 1998 Customs has maintained a "secret vetting" policy that requires that background checks be run at the headquarters level on employees who are up for promotion.
So why is this a big deal?
One Customs inspector interviewed put it this way: "There's a secret vetting list that the agency has. What that means is they have opened a file on your name, to be used for anything."