15455 S Camino Lago Azul, Sahuarita, AZ. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
Congressman Ron Barber sent a letter to Congressman Issa today urging him to give the Pay Reform bill consideration.
We appreciate Congressman Barber’s continued support of our pay reform bill. Without his support we would lose a valuable voice in the United States Congress as we attempt to relay what’s really going on with border security and our pay issues.
You can read the letter by clicking the link below.
At the Brian Terry Memorial Border Patrol Station in Bisbee, Arizona, a manager is employed who exemplifies all that’s wrong with Customs and Border Protection. In 2009 or 2010, the Union believes that Noel Quinones, while serving as the second highest ranking manager at the Willcox, Border Patrol Station, was demoted to the level of Border Patrol Agent for egregious conduct. Mr. Quinones’ conduct was so egregious he was not only demoted three levels he was also removed from the Willcox station and reassigned to the Brian Terry Memorial Station. The demotion and forced reassignment would lead any agent to believe that the allegation was true, but the Union is not privy to Mr. Quinones’ personnel file.
Notwithstanding his demotion for extreme indiscretions, and due to his extensive connections when he was an extremely high-ranking manager, Mr. Quinones didn’t remain a rank-and-file agent for very long. Within a year and a half to two years of being demoted, he was promoted back into the managerial ranks as a supervisor. The Union understands his promotion wasn’t based on performance, as it’s been reported to us that during the year and a half to two years that he was a rank-and-file agent he would go out to the field and while in his vehicle, he would make himself comfortable by taking his boots and gun belt off and then spend a good portion of his shift watching movies. Again, and as mentioned before, it is believed his promotion was strictly based on the friendships he built during the time he was a high-ranking manager. He has subsequently been promoted two more levels to Special Operations Supervisor, the seventh highest-ranking manager at a station that employs almost 100 managers. His recent ascension is almost unprecedented in such a short period of time, and this, by a manager who had been demoted three levels and forced to move away from a station where he is believed to have violated policy on taxpayer time. These developments are simply astounding.
Now that Mr. Quinones has risen to another high level within the managerial ranks, he is once again able to act with little to no supervision and it’s reported he’s up to his old tricks again. Reportedly he is fond of large paychecks and because he’s allowed to make or change his own work schedule, he is allegedly taking advantage of the system much like the managers did that caused the fall of AUO. He is allegedly scheduling himself to work night hours, double Sundays, and holidays to get all the requisite benefits and premium pay, and he is doing so even though the Special Operations Supervisor has always been an 8 to 5, Monday through Friday job. He is also illegally claiming AUO as his position and what he does during those hours do not qualify him for such overtime. And as bad as the AUO situation is, scheduling himself to work double Sundays and holidays is particularly disturbing because no other agents are afforded this privilege.
Managers and their illegal use and abuse of AUO is what caused the downfall of our overtime system as we know it, and the agency now has a manager who apparently feels he’s above all others and will undoubtedly bring further scrutiny to innocent rank-and-file agents who are, and have been, oblivious to all the illegal actions taking place by those entrusted by the American public to uphold the highest level of personal integrity and accountability. Although the agency has been aware of all of these indiscretions, those who’ve been entrusted to hold taxpayer funds sacred continue to abuse a vulnerable system and expect accountability from the bottom up. If this allegation was against a rank-and-file agent, we all know their law enforcement privileges would be suspended indefinitely pending a “thorough investigation.” Keep your eyes open to how this plays out. We already know the brooms will be coming out shortly to sweep away all wrongdoing. “Honor First!” indeed.
The first phase of the de-authorization announced yesterday specifically targeted areas that OSC identified in its 2008 and 2013 reports. The only exceptions were the Laredo North and Lyndon (now presumed to be Sumas) Washington, Border Patrol Stations. Due to the field activities being performed at the two stations, a waiver was requested, and the Union will learn more about the waivers this Friday. There is no doubt that these stations perform work that qualifies for AUO and therefore, de-authorization is not appropriate. As such, If DHS denies the waiver request, the Union will have no choice but to take appropriate action, which in turn will cost the Agency a substantial amount of money in lost wages and attorney’s fees when the Union prevails.
The OSC investigations have also caused DHS to look at all positions earning AUO and as Mrs. Emerson testified yesterday, a position-by-position analysis for all components is due by February 15. This position-by-position analysis will no doubt show that non-FLSA earning managers do not qualify for AUO. Due to DHS using OSCs interpretation of AUO, many essential support positions filled by bargaining unit employees will also not qualify for AUO, such as but not limited to: Training instructors, intel, vco, prosecutions, data management, sector details, public relations, liaison units, and checkpoint operations (unless working walk-arounds or similar activities). Although these positions provide essential support to the field, the Agency will have difficulty filling these positions in the future if they are now ineligible for AUO. Furthermore, DHS is putting together a list of acceptable activities allowable under their interpretation of the law that can be performed during AUO. In a nutshell, if it isn’t irregular and can be controlled by scheduling, it isn’t AUO.
Example: If agents on swing shift at station B are constantly chasing groups of illegal aliens and narcotics traffickers at the end of their shift that causes them to REGULARLY work AUO it is deemed a scheduling issue and the agency must adjust accordingly.
The ramifications this will have on the security of our nation’s borders are huge. The decision by DHS to interpret the AUO law based on the direction of OSC will be equivalent to the loss of at least 5,000 full time employees. In addition to the loss of 5,000 agents, the Agency will be forced to create at least four shifts at every station, which will reduce the number of agents in the field at any given time further causing the loss of an additional 1,500 agents and unnecessarily jeopardizing the safety of the agents. The total net loss will be 6,500 agents for a manpower intensive strategy.
Congress mandated that the Border Patrol maintain a workforce of at least 21,370 agents to cover all of the land borders of the United States. They did this knowing agents have always worked ten-hour days. Notwithstanding Congress’ intent, these hours will now be cut to eight. Under these extreme cuts, our agents will never be able to secure the borders and the American public will suffer. This is unacceptable, and we are working as hard as we can to convince the appropriate authorities that this is not the way to do business!
It is our understanding that a massive exodus of experienced agents will continue this year. Many retirement eligible agents left during the last pay period of 2013 because they saw this train wreck coming. With the looming decertification there is little reason to stick around if you are eligible for retirement. When you can make about the same amount of money in retirement that you do working (annuity, FERS supplement and TSP), it makes little sense not to retire and do something else. However, many have believed for years now that the plan of this Administration was to drive off the most senior agents. It is believed that none of this is about border security or protecting the American people, it’s all about political agendas, implementing another massive amnesty program, voter registration drives and retaining power.
Senator John McCain has taken personal notice of the effects that the de-authorization of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) will have on border security. He is working with Senator Carper to make the security of our border a priority. Not only is Senator McCain concerned about border security, but it appears he’s aware of the heavy tax burden being levied on Arizonans. Along with Senator Testor of Montana, he has proposed legislation that will give an added measure of border security while also saving taxpayer money. In his letter to Senator Carper, he points to the billion dollar savings his legislation will give the government. This is a common sense approach by a legislator who’s working in a government that far too often fails to exercise enough common sense.
Border Patrol Agents would like to thank Senator McCain for looking out for the best interests of the United States, as well as their families.
Read a letter from Senator McCain by clicking this link: SenMcCain.
- DHS will also notify ERO and AMO that AUO is no longer allowed for their components (they were also named in the OSC report). DHS will give OBP, ERO and AMO a deadline, presumably 180 days, to implement this change.
- The NBPC is concerned about this knee jerk reaction by DHS. We feel it will cause irreparable harm to border security and the Border Patrol. The President of the United States will make his State of the Union address tonight and one of the topics he discusses will undoubtedly be “Immigration Reform”. But while he’s laying out the need for “reform”, our borders continue to come under attack by this Administration, lawmakers and the organized crime cartels who control almost all the illegal activity on the United States border.
- The Senate passed their version of Immigration Reform, which calls for 20,000 new Border Patrol agents. But we’re not allowing our agents to work the number of hours now that are required to secure the border. This AUO purge that appears to be coming is going to further handcuff agents and destroy morale in this Agency. So the question is, what is more important to the American people, amnesty for illegal aliens or real border security? Amnesty seems to have all the steam, and real border security continues to take a beating at the hands of politicians and bureaucrats with political agendas to pursue. Simply disgraceful.
Fortunately, this guy will only be around for 3 years, max. Illegal aliens have “earned the right” to become United States citizens, according to Jeh Johnson. That pain in your back as you are on patrol isn’t from the worn out, broken down seat in your patrol car…it’s from our new DHS Secretary, who stabbed us in the back in record time (he had just concluded his “border tour” prior to these comments). Since every illegal alien who crashes the gates and gets by us has apparently “earned the right” to become a United States citizen, we must have a fundamental misunderstanding of our immigration laws. A massive new VLC course should be implemented immediately. We should not be arresting these people. Come to think of it, any bank robber who is successful in grabbing the cash and getting away has “earned the right” to keep the money. Nobody should be allowed to take the money from them if they get away clean. Ever. Think of the hardship it would cause their families. Think of the unfair lifestyle changes their innocent children would be exposed to. After all, the children committed no crime. Why should they be punished for the criminal acts of the parents? Let them all keep the money as a reward for the parents’ criminal activity. It is only fair.
And so it continues. The Obama Administration trots out another clueless “DHS Secretary” who is nothing more than a puppet and a mouthpiece for the Administration’s political goals (panhandling for votes, the laws of this land be damned when it serves their political goals). We are waiting for our voter registration packets so we can pass them out to all our customers. We believe another VLC course (in addition to the course explaining our new citizenship initiative) is called for. Why should illegal aliens have to wait to vote? They have “earned the right” to vote.
Read more here.
PAY REFORM UPDATE
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd is scheduled to testify before a Senate sub-committee later this month on the state of AUO and its use within the US Border Patrol. We will send out details on that hearing as soon as they become available.
The release of the Omnibus Spending Bill indicated positive news for the Border Patrol Pay Reform Act as the House and Senate Appropriations Committees specifically mentioned pay reform in the joint explanatory statement they issued. It reads as follows:
“Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime
CBP is directed to support the Department’s review of the rampant use of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) across the Department. Recognizing the particular challenges of the Border Patrol, the Commissioner shall work with the National Border Patrol Council to expeditiously develop a pay reform proposal and submit it to Congress. Until such proposal is enacted, CBP shall be judicious in the use of AUO, consistent with current law, policies, and operational needs and cognizant of budgetary constraints.”
The NBPC views this as a step forward to ensure that Border Patrol agents are fairly and consistently compensated. We will continue to provide updates as the process moves along.
Senator John McCain and his staff met with Local 2544 Executive Board members on two occasions in the last month or so. As a result of those meetings, Senator McCain sent a letter to DHS questioning some of the tactics being used to secure our border. Of particular interest were the FOBs, which have largely become a non-productive boondoggle, with agents routinely being forced to leave their families for extended periods of time to live in camps where there is little productivity and even less to do on uncompensated “off duty” time. As with any enforcement method, the smugglers soon catch on and adjust their tactics. Unfortunately, too many in Border Patrol management have spent precious little time doing actual patrol work and too much time sitting behind a desk. Enforcement tactics must be routinely changed and adjusted to match what the well-funded smugglers are doing.
Another concern raised was the agent-to-supervisor ratio. The numbers are staggering. There is 1 manager for every 3.42 agents. This ratio is ridiculous and demonstrates the extremely top-heavy and bloated management structure that has taken over the BP.
We thank Senator McCain for listening to our concerns. We hope that some of these enforcement tactics and the supervisor/agent ratio can be revised. We also hope the agency seeks input from the field agents for future enforcement strategies.
The letter from Senator McCain is linked here: McCain Letter.
This serves as official notice that a special union meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 to discuss the selection of the bylaws committee that was installed at the regular membership meeting in December.
This meeting will be held at:
160 Scott Ave. in Tucson – 1700 hours