Plaintiff Contends: DHS not following OPM Policies and Procedures in Hiring Military Veteran holding 30-Point Preference Status

Discrimination in the "elite" Protective Security Advisor (PSA) Program, where the program seriously lacks Equal Opportunity." It's Shocking that -- since 2004 when the PSA program was created – DHS has never hired an African American Female.
By: M. Pitt, Plaintiff
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DHS PSA MAP (No African American Females Hired 2004-2019
DHS PSA MAP (No African American Females Hired 2004-2019
WASHINGTON - July 15, 2019 - PRLog -- In a case now in litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Pitt vs. McAleehan, Case #17-2466TJK (D.D.C.) - Plaintiff is represented by The Law Office of Swick & Shapiro. Plaintiff contends that DHS uses racial discrimination in its hiring processes. Plaintiff is an African American female with "impeccable" credentials to include: being a 22-year military Air Force combat veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Desert Storm, and holding a 30-Point Veteran Preference status. Plaintiff was also a veteran Atlanta/DeKalb County Law Enforcement Officer and Police Detective who worked Office of Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Emergency Operations; holds a Master's Degree in Homeland Security – graduating Magna Cum Laude, holds a Graduate Certificate in Disaster and Emergency Management, and a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice. Also Plaintiff has specialized credentials to include being selected to work on a 6-month Presidential Detail for the Sandy Hook Shooting; participated in a "high-profile" proof of concept pilot for 1-year conducting vulnerability assessments on regional critical assets; earned Certified Emergency Manager status through IAEM, and earned certified Master Exercise Practitioner through FEMA; and holds over 70 FEMA certificates; and being a 10-year Federal Government employee. Furthermore, Plaintiff was selected as "Best Qualified" (according to OPM standards) over 20 plus times for PSA positions across the U.S., since 2012, interviewed multiple times, but have not been selected as a PSA in this program.

According to open-source reports from DHS, the long-time hiring requirements for DHS PSA positions include those with an average of 20 years of law enforcement, military, and anti-terrorism experience. The Plaintiff contends that from the 100+ PSAs hired since 2004, zero African American Females have been chosen as PSAs; yet, the most recent white female hired in 2018, has none of the above relevant experience, and was hired as a PSA with less than 2-years of employment with the federal government – using a special hiring authority; noting that the Plaintiff holds "all" of OPMs special hiring authorities to include: 30% Disabled, VRA, VEOA, and Schedule A, to include Direct-Hire, yet have never been hired.

In the Press Release dated July 1, 2019, it was reported that this "elite" unit of DHS, Protective Security Coordination Division, has approximately 100+ PSAs working throughout the United States as the Department's liaisons protecting critical assets in local communities.  According to the Plaintiff, the approximate statistical break-down of these federal PSAs are 94 White Males, 4 Black Males, 5 White Females, and 1 Hispanic Female. There are notably, "zero" Black Females -- and there have never been one hired in the history of the PSA program -- since its inception in 2004.  According to OPM job announcements, the Standard pay grade for PSAs is GS-14, which equates to an annual salary range of $98,000 - $140,000 and various special incentives.

During the selection process for the PSA jobs, the Plaintiff contends that DHS hiring officials are not following the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) policies and procedures for hiring veterans who earned Veteran Preference, even with respect to those who are 30-point preference eligible (that is, those who have a 30-percent or more service-connected disability).  Indeed, DHS is not following its own policies and procedures for Workforce Diversity in the PSA program – out of 100+ positions, they hired "94 White Males…94% of the workforce. The Plaintiff also contends that the PSA Program structure is also a true replication of the Division that overseas them -- the Infrastructure Protection Division -- Executive Leadership, which is 96% white males, with 1 African American Male, 0 African American Females nor other ethnicities in leadership roles. DHS also uses internal "reassignments" among its PSA corps to avoid OPMs hiring guidelines and the Veterans Preference rules.

A copy of the Press Release was delivered to the Commission of Homeland Security on July 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C., bringing this issue to their awareness; we pray this Commission takes action and opens an internal audit to investigate DHS hiring practices.


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