Last week, Sen. John McCain’s office reached out to Local 2544 to discuss several issues, while the Senator was in Nogales Arizona. President Del Cueto started the meeting by discussing Tucson Sector’s Forward Operating Bases use within the Douglas, Tucson and Casa Grande Stations’ Area of Responsibility. Local 2544 brought forward many issues, including the use of manpower, health and safety, and cost of FOB operations. Executive Board members gave several examples of how manpower could be better utilized to enhance Border Patrol operations. Sen. McCain was very interested on ensuring the Border Patrol uses it’s Agents in programs that have a proven track record in slowing, if not stopping illegal aliens from crossing. Sen. McCain stated he would look more into the Forward Operation Bases.
Sen. McCain then inquired about the Border Patrol Pay Reform Act and the recent release of the OPM Guidelines, especially interpretations of the Canine Pay and the Alternative Work Schedule. Sen. McCain readily admitted that this would not be the first time the intent of the law, or bill, was manipulated by government agencies. He stated he would follow up with OPM and it’s interpretations. President Del Cueto stated he would get with NBPC President Brandon Judd and give the Senator talking points. Sen. McCain stated that while BPAPRA was not all that the Union hoped for, it was all that Congress was willing to give at this time and the alternatives could have been much worse.
Manpower was a huge topic. Sen. McCain asked if more manpower was needed? We agreed, but the Executive Board pointed out that many times manpower is mis-used. The FOBs and GBOSS sites in Ajo were some of the examples given were the Border Patrol waste manpower in an effort to look good for DC.
We look forward to our future meetings with Sen. McCain and hope to resolve many of members’ issues.