SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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H.R. 307, THE FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE REFORM ACT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFIRST SESSION
SEPTEMBER 6, 2001
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio, Chairman
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia, Vice-Chair
DON YOUNG, Alaska
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Bellew, Steven, Vice Chairman, Fraternal Order of Police-Federal Protective Service Labor Committee
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Byrd, Robert, Federal Protective Service Police Officer, on behalf of the American Federation of Government Employees
Moravec, F. Joseph, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration, accompanied by Richard Yamomoto, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Federal Protective Service, Public Buildings Service
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Costello, Hon. Jerry, of Illinois
Oberstar, Hon. James L., of Minnesota
Traficant, Hon. James A., Jr., of Ohio
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Moravec, F. Joseph
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Moravec, F. Joseph, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration, responses to questions and statement
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Judicial Conference of the United States, Judge Jane R. Roth, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, statement
Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, Steve Young, National President, letter, September 21, 2001
H.R. 307, THE FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE REFORM ACT
Thursday, September 6, 2001
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Washington D.C.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m. in Room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steven C. LaTourette [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. LATOURETTE. The Subcommittee will come to order.
I want to welcome back the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Mr. Costello, and other members, as they may join us, to this very important hearing this morning on H.R. 307, a bill that has been introduced by my colleague and neighbor from Ohio, Representative Traficant. He has been quite persistent with this legislation. In 1998, he introduced similar legislation and again, in 1999.
A subcommittee hearing was held on H.R. 4034, which is a predecessor of this bill, but the legislation was not reported. Last year the Committee reported and the House passed under suspension of the rules H.R. 809, with an amendment.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Federal Protective Services dates back to 1790, when President Washington appointed three commissioners to establish a Federal territory for a permanent seat of the Government. Prior to establishing the seat of Government, the commissioners hired six night watchmen to protect the buildings the Government intended to occupy. The Federal Protective Service can trace its origins to the appointment of those six night watchmen.
The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 consolidated real properly functions within the newly created General Services Administration. At that time the police force was the United States Special Police, and came under the protection division of the Public Buildings Service. In 1971, the GSA administrator signed an order establishing the Federal Protective Force, which was later known as FPS. The old OPM, the Civil Service Commission authorized the classification title of Federal Protective Officer.
Over the years, the FPS has shifted its emphasis from the fixed guardpost concept of security to a mobile police force. The current FPS force is made up of both uniformed and non-uniformed officers, including criminal investigators, physical security specialists and law enforcement and security specialists. One important point which identifies a critical need to reform FPS was the Department of Justice report which assessed the vulnerability of Federal buildings in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, a devastatingly tragic event in recent American history. The DOJ report made several recommendations to increase the level of security at vulnerable buildings. In addition, the report recommended upgrading FPS. Specifically, the DOJ report stated that the FPS has limited resources to address serious building threats and that FPS needs to re-establish its role in emphasizing the need for security.
The legislation pending before the Subcommittee is consistent with many of the DOJ report recommendations. The bill pending before the Subcommittee updates the designation of police officers, provides officers additional authority while on duty and addresses jurisdictions adjacent to Federal property. The major function of the legislation authorizes the Administrator to create FPS as a separate function outside of PBS to be headed by an FPS commissioner. The bill also sets a baseline of 730 full time FPS officers and directs OPM to study any pay disparities with other law enforcement agencies.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm interested to hear from our witnesses today regarding this legislation. As the Chairman of the Committee that oversees Federal buildings, I'm greatly concerned with the protection and security of the Federal Government's work force and our many Federal buildings.
With that, it's my pleasure to yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Costello.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I thank you for calling this hearing today.
Mr. Chairman, I have a formal statement that I'll put into the record. I have brief comments.
As a former law enforcement officer, I am aware of the importance and the risk involved in ensuring public safety. I know that this Subcommittee in the past is keenly interested in and continues to be interested in the subject of building security, and has worked with the GSA for many years to upgrade the level of security in public buildings.
Let me also say, as you noted, in the 106th Congress, this Subcommittee favorably reported and the House passed H.R. 307. In addition, this Subcommittee has held a number of hearings on this topic, and we are committed not only in the past by hearings that we have conducted and action we have taken, but we are very committed to Federal building security in our oversight responsibilities.
Mr. Chairman, after the Senate hearing on H.R. 809, the Commissioner of PBS agreed to issue a GSA administrative order that would grant line item authority to the head of the FPS, rather than allowing line authority to be granted by statute, as envisioned by H.R. 809. The Subcommittee views the issue of line authority as being an integral part of a well functioning security force and supported granting the authority by statute. I'll be interested in hearing the testimony this morning as to how well line item authority granted by administrative order has worked.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secondly, another issue is the controversy and question concerning how well contracting out for guard services, how well that they're trained and prepared. While contracting out may be less expensive to employ, do they in fact do their jobs as well as non-contracted employees. And secondly, do we have enough information needed to show that they in fact are less expensive to employ than employees of the Government.
So Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing the testimony on those issues and a few other issues that I am interested in. I thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Today's hearing, we originally scheduled to have three panels, the first being our colleague, Mr. Traficant of Ohio. We received a notification this morning that other responsibilities have kept him from the city. And so without objection, I would ask that his testimony be submitted into the record. Without objection, so ordered.
So the second panel now becomes first, and it's our pleasure to welcome before the Subcommittee, I think for the third time, and maybe you can hold the record before we're done with this Congress, Joe Moravec, who is the Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service. And in the third panel, or now the second panel, we will hear from Mr. Steven Bellew, of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Mr. Robert Byrd, on behalf of the American Federation of Government Employees.
I would ask unanimous consent that each witness's full written statement appear in the record. Without objection, so ordered.
And Mr. Moravec, welcome and we look forward to hearing from you.
TESTIMONY OF F. JOSEPH MORAVEC, COMMISSIONER, PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY RICHARD YAMOMOTO, ACTING ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE, PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE
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Mr. MORAVEC. Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Costello, members of the Subcommittee. I'm Joe Moravec, Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service (PBS).
Thank you for the opportunity to update you on our progress in improving security in the General Services Administration's (GSA) owned and leased facilities and to express our position regarding H.R. 307. H.R. 307 was introduced January 30th, 2001, to provide for the reform of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) and to enhance the safety of Federal employees, the public and children enrolled in child care facilities located in facilities under GSA control.
Before presenting my formal testimony, I'd just like to say that the Federal Protective Service of today is a very different organization than it was a year ago. Then, I think it could accurately be described as a confederation of 11 regional security programs. Now, we have one accountable Executive Officer and Assistant Commissioner in Washington, and we are in the process of building one national security force which integrates criminal intelligence, building security assessments, counter-measures, law enforcement and a security guards program.
The preceding former PBS Commissioner, Robert Peck, last spoke to this Committee regarding H.R. 809, the predecessor to H.R. 307, on September 28th, 2000. A significant proposal in H.R. 809, the establishment of the FPS as a separate service from the PBS, did not have the support from GSA or the Senate. The principal reason we at GSA continue to oppose H.R. 307's proposal to make the Federal Protective Service a separate service within our agency is that it would divorce security from other Federal facility functions when the opposite needs to be done. Security needs to be tightly integrated into decisions about the location, design and operation of Federal facilities.
Divorcing Federal Protective Service would create an organizational barrier between protection experts and the PBS Asset Managers, Planners, Project Managers and Facility Managers who set PBS budgets and policies for our inventory as a whole, and to oversee the daily operations in our facilities. The security we provide is financed out of rent revenues collected by PBS from our tenants who look directly to PBS for responses to their security needs. Separate GSA security service would lead, we feel, to confusion about who is responsible for what in GSA's security efforts. It's also contrary to agency efforts to present our customers with a seamless GSA, capable of offering more integrated workplace solutions.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Following the September 2000 testimony by Commissioner Peck, Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee recommended the establishment of direct line authority within PBS. The Administrator subsequently approved and issued GSA orders 5440.548 and 5450.137, effective November 17th, 2000, that reorganized the Federal Protective Service and reassigned the reporting authority of FPS Regional Directors from the PBS Assistant Regional Administrators to the FPS Assistant Commissioner in the Central Office.
Under direct line authority, PBS has made substantial strides in fulfilling our mission to reduce the threat to Federal facilities under GSA control nationwide. The FPS budget, personnel actions and operational focus have been centralized to yield results better than that which could be obtained by establishing a separate, competing service. All FPS regional directors now report to the FPS Assistant Commissioner in the Central Office. The FPS Assistant Commissioner in turn reports to the PBS Commissioner who reports to the Administrator.
Leading the Federal Protective Service is Acting Assistant Commissioner Richard Yamamoto. Mr. Yamomoto is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with over 20 years of law enforcement experience in the U.S. Army. He also spent seven years coordinating joint Federal, State and local law enforcement activities through the high intensity drug trafficking areas program at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Mr. Yamomoto exemplifies the core competencies we desire of all our operational management personnel within FPS. Not only does Mr. Yamamoto possess extensive law enforcement and security skills, he also has been designated as a certified protection professional, one of the premier accomplishments in the field of security.
Within FPS, we are developing and requiring both law enforcement and security core competencies for all of our operational managers. While many of our current managers have Federal military or local police training and experience, those who do not have law enforcement training will be sent to the leadership academy law enforcement course at the Federal law enforcement training center in Glynco, Georgia, to obtain these necessary skills. This course provides the same essential core elements of the courses taught in the FPS mixed basic police training program with identical examinations and standards including the full firearm qualification course and test.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Specifically addressing the proposal in H.R. 307 that there be at least 730 full time equivalent FPS police officers, we believe that FTE levels should be based not on an arbitrary number set forth in legislation; rather, on the threat that may vary from time to time. FPS regularly conducts facility security surveys and regional threat assessments to determine the threat to Federal facilities. FTE requirements are based upon these threat assessments.
Currently, our planning anticipates that current levels should be adjusted for Fiscal Year 2002 and Fiscal Year 2003 to enable FPS to achieve a more desirable mix of operational personnel. The Fiscal Year 2003 FTE targets have been constructed to support an anticipated need for 408 Federal Protective police officers and 323 law enforcement and security officers, or what we call LESOs, for a total of 731 uniformed positions. Specifically, we are increasing the number of our criminal investigators and uniformed law enforcement security officers who have both law enforcement and security competencies. FPS has made great strides in reducing the threat to Federal facilities, tenants, visitors and their property. We are actively implementing many initiatives to identify and decrease threats to individual facility security assessments and the regional threat assessment program.
Relying on this information, we have refined our requirements, coordinated more effectively with their law enforcement agencies, improved our training and positioned ourselves to measure our expected outcome of reducing the threat. We at GSA have no more important responsibility than providing for the security of the tenants and visitors to our facilities and are continually striving to enhance our protection services.
I thank the Subcommittee for this opportunity to discuss our promising new security initiatives at GSA facilities. This concludes my prepared statement. I am of course pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much for that statement. I think first of all it would be to solicit your observation as to whether or not our Federal buildings are safer or safer than one year ago or five years ago, in your estimation, and then secondly, then comment onand I think I know the answer to the second part based on your testimonybut your observation as to whether or not the legislation before the Subcommittee would help make Federal buildings safer and the people that work and visit in them.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. In answer to the first question, we most assuredly believe that Federal facilities are safer than they were five years ago and safer than they were a year ago. We feel that we are properly evolving to the level of security that is demanded in these trying times.
So we feel we're progressing in the right direction. And that's indicated by our security assessments and by our threat assessments which we conduct regularly.
With regard to the second part of the question, we don't feel that this particular legislation is necessary to make Federal facilities more secure. We feel that security itself, as I testified, is indivisible from the other services that the Public Buildings Service provides to its tenants. We do not feel the need or see the need for another bureaucracy which might be less consumer friendly, less customer accessible. It will result, we think, in increased costs and generally complicate our ability to provide security as part of an integrated package of services to these buildings. We think we can accomplish our mission better without this proposed legislation and what it would enact.
Mr. LATOURETTE. In your testimony you referenced the administrative orders 5440.548 and 5450.137. And you talked a little bit about what they were intended to do. Could you comment for us and for the record as to whether or not PBS has experienced any difficulties in the reorganization and implementation of those instructions?
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, the principal thrust, of course, is to consolidate authority and control in the Central Office in the Office of the Assistant Commissioner for the Federal Protective Service and to create direct line authority and responsibility. In effecting any change of this order of magnitude, organizationally, certainly there have been some problems. There have been some glitches. There has been some resistance on the part of some of the people in the Federal Protective Service as to this type of change. There are legitimate differences of opinion as to whether this is the right direction to go in.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I can only say that we're working diligently to respond to those concerns and as I've previously stated, we feel we're moving in the right direction.
Mr. LATOURETTE. From talking to my colleague, Mr. Traficant, I think when this bill was on the Floor in the previous Congress, he points to the situation in Oklahoma City, and I think his exact quote or his observation is that at the time there was one contract security officer in charge of two buildings, at the time of the bombing in Oklahoma City. I know you mentioned the training program and I have no doubt about Mr. Yamamoto's credentials, I think they're exemplary . But some have leveled criticism and made the observation that the training program that you referenced is a four week training program. And I didn't know our Ranking Member was a former law enforcement officer. I was a former prosecutor and had close contact with police agencies, and I'm more than familiar with basic police school, it's longer than four weeks long. And I'm wondering how we're able to turn out qualified law enforcement officials capable of protecting not only the buildings but more importantly, the people in the buildings, in a four week program.
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, first I think it's important to note that nine of the eleven Regional Directors of the Federal Protective Service have previous law enforcement experience. And so that the leadership academy is intended to address specifically the needs of those two Directors who do not. It is, as I stated, a condensed version of a 10 week program.
Our feeling is, and it has exactly the same examinations in terms of what the students have to demonstrate at the end of the course in terms of their competencies. So we feel that it attains the same ends without taking valuable managers out of the field for extended periods of time. We think it would cause unnecessary organizational hardship for us to take senior managers out of their jobs for a period of 10 weeks. So we've actually broken the four week program into two two-week segments to try to make that burden a little easier for these people.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But the point I want to emphasize, Mr. Chairman, is that the results that, as determined by the examination that these students are subjected to at the end of the course indicate that they're getting the same level of knowledge as they would have gotten in a 10 week course.
Mr. LATOURETTE. My understanding is that the Public Buildings Service is paid a charge by the tenants for the Federal Protective Service, for providing security and protection for the tenants, is that right?
Mr. MORAVEC. Yes, it is.
Mr. LATOURETTE. If this legislation were enacted and signed by the President, is it your understanding that PBS would still receive such a charge, or no?
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, if there were a separate Commissioner and a separate Service, I'm not sure exactly what would occur. We're concerned about that. Right now, the charges for the basic security service as well as charges for supplemental services appear on one unified bill . One of the things we're concerned about is that by creating a separate billing process, we would be further confusing our clients.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Well, and you used the word confusing, I think, in your testimony earlier. I guess as I look at this legislation and I have now heard the comments of GSA and PBS in over a three year period, confusion is the central point, that somehow having a separate agency or separate commissioner is going to be confusing. And I certainly understand that you need security experts when you design a building, when you occupy a building, when you figure about the use of the building. But if there's an FPS commissioner and a force is envisioned by this legislation, why couldn't all those things be determined by committee? I mean, when you're going to build a new building, you all sit down and the architect comes in, the guy that's going to do the drywall, the security guy and work this thing out that way. What becomes confusing because of this legislation?
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. Well, as a practical matter, that is in fact what happens now, and not to put too much emphasis on it, but we basically feel that it's working well now . We don't see the need to create an additional organizational structure to improve that process, or the input of security professionals into, for example, the design and operation of the facility.
Mr. LATOURETTE. But excluding the provision that you seem to have the biggest objection to, and that is, removing the FPS from the PBS, is there any other provision of this bill that you have difficulty with?
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, that's the principal concern. We really, I should also state frankly, the mission of the Federal Protective Service is to protect and secure Federal property and the people that work there and visit. We're a little concerned about the possibility of this becoming another national police force. We don't think that's what the Federal Protective Service is. We think its mission is both law enforcement and physical security. There has been a noticeable and continued decline in incidents and crimes in Federal buildings. So it becomes apparent to us that we need to continue to, of course, be vigilant with regard to criminal acts, but to concentrate our efforts more intensely on the physical security. So that's the direction that we've been going in.
With regard to other elements in the bill, I think that the concern, we have a concern about Title II, which requires the Administrator to notify directly parents and guardians of children in child care centers. We feel that that's an unnecessary administrative burden and we are already in effect accomplishing that through our present processes.
Mr. LATOURETTE. On the issue of child care centers, Title II is of particular interest to me, from Cleveland . Before you joined the agency, we have a Federal building in Cleveland, Ohio, and there was, as you know, there's a requirement that if there's going to be some renovation that I think it exceeds $1.8 million that GSA needs to come and chat with the Congress. The thought was to put a child care center in this Federal building in Cleveland, and in order to get it under the $1.8 and avoid scrutiny by the Subcommittee and others in Congress, it was determined that it was going to be over the loading dock, which based upon previous experience with Federal buildings, not being a security expert myself, I didn't think that was the best place to put the kids. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and that didn't happen.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You mentioned a number of not only officers but LESOs that you hope to, I think, get to. Was that 733?
Mr. MORAVEC. Seven hundred and thirty-one by the end of Fiscal Year 2003.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Okay. In my opening observations, I indicated that the FPS grew out of George Washington commissioning six night watchmen. Is it your feeling that at that number, the FPS would be adequately staffed, and if that's the number, does that mean that today they're not?
Mr. MORAVEC. Based on our projections, we believe that will be adequate staffing. I won't tell you that we feel that we're fully and adequately staffed in all cities in all facilities. We're not in perfect condition, but we're working diligently to hire people in the cities where we feel we are a little thin.
Mr. LATOURETTE. But at 731, you think that's adequate, and so until we get to that number, you're going to be
Mr. MORAVEC. Based on our projections of the threat to Federal facilities at this time, we believe that will be an adequate force.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Commissioner, I'm interested in your comments in your opposition to H.R. 307. You indicate in your testimony that you have concerns about FPS, making them a separate service within your agency. And as you know, the bill, you talk about divorcing security from other Federal facility functions. I think the bill clearly calls on the commissioner of the FPS to coordinate the activities of the FPS with the activities of the PBS. It just seems to me that I'm a little puzzled as to why you think that, why you have a fear that it's an organizational barrier. It seems to me that it would help the agency increase security in the coordinated effort. I'd like your comments.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. Mr. Costello, I'm learning in my capacity, based on my vast three months of experience as the Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service, the Public Buildings Service is a very large, very diverse organization performing a number of different functions. Frankly, based on my private experience, if I were the CEO of a private company, I would expect a greater degree of control and influence over what happens in each region. So given the diversity, the scale of our enterprise, I am leery of any kind of additional organizational structure which could further insulate or even alienate parts of the organization from acting like a national organization. I mean, you may think me over-cautious, but that's my concern.
Mr. COSTELLO. To follow up on the Chairman's comment about coordination as far as design of buildings and so on, I don't know if you've had a chance to read Mr. Bellew's testimony, but his suggestion that an independent review and recommendations from the FPS with regard to design can help strengthen security at public buildings. I wonder what your comments are? Do you have any?
Mr. MORAVEC. Because it's not part of the same organization, I mean, this would be an improved level of review, I'm not sure that Iin fact, I am sure that I don't agree with it.
Mr. COSTELLO. Don't you think that not only in your business but perhaps anyone's business, that it's better to have more than one opinion, that it's better to have independent review of action that you are taking?
Mr. MORAVEC. We hope that we have in the Public Buildings Service today and continue to engender the right of dissent, the right to speak out when an Associate does not feel that a proper decision is being made. And we will of course continue to encourage that kind of atmosphere.
Mr. COSTELLO. I have limited experience in this area, but I was county executive of my home county when we built a new courthouse. I came in in the middle of the building phase, and with a law enforcement background, I asked the question, did we consult with law enforcement officials about the holding area and sally port and courtrooms. The judges sat down and they designed everything as far as the judiciary was concerned.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And we brought the law enforcement officials in and found out that the holding facilities were not adequate, we had to come in and redesign, based on what law enforcement officials said they needed versus what the judiciary needed versus what the administrative function of the building was. It seems to me if the same people who are going to provide the security in this facility, do you have an independent review of your design and what you're attempting to construct, that it would not only save money, but it would be in the interest of the agency and better security for the facility.
So I would ask, I don't know where we're going with this legislation, but ask that you certainly give serious consideration to an independent review.
I want to ask a couple of questions. The direct line authority, I mentioned in my comments that as a result of the Senate hearing on H.R. 809, the Commissioner of the PBS agreed to issue a GSA administrative order that would grant line item authority to the head of the FPS rather than allowing line authority to be given by statute as envisioned in the legislation.
And I wonder what, and I realize that you're relatively new to this position, but I wonder what your definition of line item authority is.
Mr. MORAVEC. First, funds appropriated by Congress for Federal Protective Service activities are fenced off, segregated from other funds appropriated for other purposes. The Assistant Commissioner for Federal Protective Service has jurisdiction and authority over how that money is spent. So there's no chance that it's going to be diverted for other purposes.
That's as much as anything the control that an Assistant Commissioner needs to effect the organization. In addition to which, the Regional Directors now report directly to the Assistant Commissioner for Federal Protective Service. He determines whether they're fulfilling their responsibilities, as he has prescribed, in a traditional employer-employee relationship, which of course is another way of exercising control over the results that are obtained when the Federal Protective Service does its job.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Those are the two principal means of control.
Mr. COSTELLO. Does the FPS have the authority to hire and fire, discipline or not?
Mr. MORAVEC. It does.
Mr. COSTELLO. It does.
Mr. MORAVEC. Subject to Federal human relations legislation and executive order. All of us are. It has that authority.
Mr. COSTELLO. Let me ask a couple of questions about the contracting issue that I'm interested in. First, under your new pricing policy at GSA, what is the cost per square foot for security at facilities?
Mr. MORAVEC. The basic cost for security, which is the cost of the FTEs and the cost of the, the organizational costs of approximately 1,200 people who are on the payroll of the Federal Protective Service, is 30 cents a foot, per square foot of space. As I mentioned earlier, the tenants are also charged separately for guard services, and for counter-measures such as magnetometers, depending on the level determined by the local building security councils. Each building has a security council which works with the Federal Protective Service to determine the proper level of security of these measures.
Mr. COSTELLO. And the money that is generated, the 30 cents per square foot, the money that is generated for security and appropriated, as you just mentioned, is sealed off, not used for anything else, is all of that revenue used for security only?
Mr. MORAVEC. I should say first that the 30 cents per square foot is actually our cost of providing the basic security.
Mr. COSTELLO. Well, what do you charge a tenant like me?
Mr. MORAVEC. We're charging, I think 18 cents a foot right now, and we're, this is in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget. In order to help agencies with their planning we're moving in 2002 to 24 cents a foot, and eventually we hope to have full cost recovery of the cost. So right now, we're actually absorbing, Public Buildings Service is actually absorbing some of the cost of the basic service.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. So it's costing you 30 cents and you're charging about 18 cents?
Mr. MORAVEC. Presently, and moving towards 24 next year and I think 30 the year after. So we hope to get to parity.
Mr. COSTELLO. And we have gone from the 1970s where the majority of the enforcement officials in these facilities were Federal employees, they now, the majority, are contract employees. What is the hourly wage starting salary for a contract employee? Obviously it differs in different regions of the country. But you must have an idea as to what they're being paid.
Mr. MORAVEC. For the record, I'd like to get back to you on that specifically, because I have a general idea, but it's certainly no better than anyone else's idea. I think it's about $16 an hour, I guess, plus benefits, which would add another 25, 30 percent.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions. I would just make an observation that I happen to serve, as you know, on the Aviation Subcommittee of Transportation. We have this constant issue of security screenings at airports, and it's the responsibility of each airport to contract for, or to either hire their own employees or contract for security screens. Unfortunately, in most cases, these folks are paid the minimum wage and have very little benefits, and their skill level is very low.
Obviously in this situation, we have training, we have a program established, minimum qualifications and so on. But I would like to follow up with you at a later date to talk about the issue of contracting out versus your own employees and providing security to look at the wage differences, the benefits and things of that nature.
Mr. MORAVEC. If I could just respond to that.
Mr. COSTELLO. Sure.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. First, the contract guards are not law enforcement officers. This is not a Federal Protective officer type role.
Mr. COSTELLO. Right.
Mr. MORAVEC. We have found that real police, people trained as police, hyper-vigilant people, are not happy to sit at a fixed post and check badges. It's not meaningful work to them. So I think it's important that we establish that there's a distinction between what a Federal Protective officer does and is trained to do, and what contract guards do.
Secondly, I want to point out that we have, as you indicated, made real efforts to improve the standards that we require of our contract guards. In April of 2000, we instituted a new contract, a boilerplate contract, that requires higher levels of qualification and readiness from the people that we contract with. For example, we now require 80 hours up from 60 hours of mandatory training for anyone who's contracted to guard a Federal building, with 40 hour refresher courses on a two-year cycle after that. We also require 40 hours of firearms training for anyone who's going to be carrying a weapon, and annual re-qualification.
Now, not all of our contracts are adhering to that standard, but as they expire, we're bringing them up to that level. So I want you to know that we're really focused on that particular part of it.
I'd also like to say, you were wondering earlier about whether we have looked into the relative cost of using contract guards as opposed to payroll people, people on payroll. And the answer is, we have, but not in probably a formal and exhaustive way. Our initial indication is that it actually does not cost more to have a contract employee perform the function than someone on the payroll.
Mr. COSTELLO. Very good.
Mr. MORAVEC. But I would of course be pleased to discuss that with you at a later date.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. Generally speaking, as I hear your testimony, you're relatively satisfied with the current system?
Mr. MORAVEC. I am. Now, let me say, I am but I don't want to, there's a difference between satisfied and complacent.
Mr. COSTELLO. I understand.
Mr. MORAVEC. We still have strides that we need to make.
Mr. COSTELLO. From a systems standpoint, you like the current system, want to improve upon it?
Mr. MORAVEC. We think it's a good system and will accomplish the results that the Nation expects of the Federal Protective Service.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much, and I just want to make the observation that your courthouse example is an excellent example. When we went up to Brooklyn, the Subcommittee went up to Brooklyn, it had the jury, spectators, the friends and family of the defendant, the defendant and the judge all pour into the same hallway. And I can't think of a more dangerous, potentially dangerous situation than having all those people mingling at the same time, especially after the defendant has received some not so good news.
Ms. Holmes Norton.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First let me say how much I appreciate the wonderful coordination between the PBS and the FPS on my bill that allowed the Federal Protective Service to in fact perform that duties that Congress anticipated by engaging in law enforcement activities around their buildings, not just inside their buildings, so that we get the biggest bang for the buck, and the thugs and the criminals don't get into the buildings in the first place, because in fact, the area of enforcement is drawn reasonably for protective purposes. We announced recently, Mr. Chistolini was there, the Federal Protective Service chief, the police chief was there and I would say the coordination was just fine on that. It's a very important, I think, watershed moment for the Federal Protective Service so that the pay we pay people to be police officers, we get the greatest benefit from.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'd like to try to put my hands on what it is that bothers you about the relationship the bill would create and the relationship that PBS already has with the Federal Protective Service, as we passed this bill last year, I didn't see, or didn't contemplate anything radical happening. The same kind of working relationship, same kind of coordination that I imagine exists now, I mean, these folks are police officers. So they don't coming running to you very often, they do what cops do. We thought that they would continue to do what cops do.
To give you the analogy, the only analogy that I know, Chief Ramsey reports to the Mayor. He doesn't go running over there very often because he's a cop, and his business is making sure that crime is prevented and controlled. It doesn't make a lot of difference. There's also a deputy mayor for public safety. But it doesn't make a lot of difference to the prevention and control of crime in the District of Columbia, very frankly, who Chief Ramsey reports to. Because the nature of police work is such, the Mayor asks him, the Mayor doesn't tell him, the Mayor asks him, when he wants to find out something about police work. Sure, there are broad parameters, just like we thought there would be broad parameters here, so that if PBS or the Administrator sees certain kinds of problems, then it seems to me whoever he reports to, you'd still be working those problems out.
I'd like to know what it is that bothers you about what amounts to a somewhat different reporting relationship in our bill as opposed to what you have now. What would be so different, given the fact that the bill contemplates the same kind of working relationship, same kind of coordination with PBS, what would be so different that it concerns and bothers you enough to oppose this bill? I'd like to put my hands on the specifics of why you oppose this bill.
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, first, let me say we're very pleased with the arrangements with the Metropolitan Police Department in this city. That's an excellent model, and one which we'd like to see replicated in other cities. I don't want to, I hate this expression, but I suppose in very crude terms we might say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. We feel that the present system is accomplishing the control and providing the leadership necessary to make the Federal Protective Service do its job.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. NORTON. And Mr. Moravec, if it ain't broke, don't improve it.
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, things that ain't broke can still be improved upon, clearly. We're concerned, and I don't want to overemphasize this, but we are concerned about creating another bureaucracy. We are concerned about the additional costs associated with that. We are concerned about the additional opportunity for a breakdown in communications associated with that.
Ms. NORTON. Tell me about the different costs.
Mr. MORAVEC. For one thing, you'd have probably an SES, I don't know what, 2, 3, that would be an additional cost. That person typically, as I've learned in my short time in Government, would have a certain amount of administrative staff associated with that office that doesn't exist now. There's just cost associated with creating, I'm learning, high ranking positions in the Federal Government.
Ms. NORTON. I'm told the CBO said there was a de minimis cost. I'd be interested in, I'd ask you to submit to the Subcommittee figures concerning additional costs you think the bill would contemplate that would be of concern to this Committee.
Mr. MORAVEC. Sure. We will do that.
Ms. NORTON. I don't think that real property expertise and public safety expertise are the same thing. I'm trying to ferret out what I believe are important differences here. I do think that law enforcement is a matter for the entire agency and not just for public buildings. Recognizing that that is the most important part of what the Federal Protective Service does, of course.
I am also concerned, as Mr. Costello is, with the contract force versus the Federal Protective Service. What interests me about the Federal Protective Service at this point is that they are police officers at a time when the Federal Government and the Nation's capital needs to have its full complement of police officers. I would like to ask you whether or not the contract officers and the Federal Protective Service are trained on counter-terrorism. Let me preface that by saying, GSA has been given and a virtually unfair mandate when it comes to the counter-terrorism. The Federal Government doesn't know what in the world it's doing. I am so concerned about counter-terrorism, when we see how primitive we are in this town, the only thing we can think to do, for example, about Pennsylvania Avenue, is to close it down. That's what we would have done 100 years ago, too.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The fact is, the Federal Protective Service is not, and GSA, are not counter-terrorism experts. And yet, we're to the point where what happened in Oklahoma City is only the most obvious of what could happen. The concern now is with biochemical terrorism, with sophisticated kinds of terrorism that I have no evidence is even on the drawing board for the public or private sector. I give credit, frankly, to our safety at least from forces abroad that might bring terrorism into the country to the folks that know how to keep them from getting in in the first place. You know, so that we have wonderful counter-terrorism when you try to get into this country. I'm very afraid that you might get in from Canada, from Mexico, but I really think that's where the expertise lies, and that what we need in the Federal Government is a multi-disciplinary approach so we can try to learn what to do.
While we try to learn what to do, I have to ask you about counter-terrorism, because when I was a child growing up in this town, who protected Federal agencies were the Federal Protective Service, cops. Now you're down to roughly, it looks like, 500 cops. There were 4,500, mostly cops, 30 years ago. Now you're down to about 500 cops, and about 2,500 contract guards, workers. Are those figures correct, one? And two, I'd like to know how both groups of workers are trained in counter-terrorism.
Mr. MORAVEC. First, we have at this time about 443 Federal Protective officers on the payroll, and 118 what we call LESOs. I want to respond in part, we are not de-emphasizing the need for police law enforcement expertise. What we are doing is evolving the type of person that provides this into a person who both has that training and also physical security training, anti, counter, or counter-terrorism training. The fundamental vehicle for us to do this is what we call the LESO program, which as its name implies, is constituted to people who both have law enforcement and security training. The concept is to make the LESO kind of like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, sort of a self-contained, full service law enforcement and security professional who can operate independently under any circumstances.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I really want to make sure we're clear on this. We are not decreasing our emphasis on law enforcement. We are enhancing our emphasis on law enforcement and we are requiring additional training and additional levels of competency on the part of people that we're entrusting this responsibility to. So as I previously said, we will be moving towards a uniformed force of 730 people. The mix, Ms. Norton, between police and Federal Protective Officers, or FPOs, as we call them, and LESOs, will change. There will be, we won't be hiring as many Federal Protective Officers, we will be hiring a lot more people who we will train into the LESO program.
I should hasten to add that three-quarters of the people who are in the LESO program are former Federal Protective Officers. So it's not like we're disenfranchising a group of people who are doing a good job now. The competition for these jobs is wide open. We basically
Ms. NORTON. Well, how do you train them in counter-terrorism?
Mr. MORAVEC. We have a program, the Physical Security Academy, again, at FLETC in Glynco, that concentrates on counter-terrorism.
Ms. NORTON. Does the Federal Protective Service and the contract guards get the same training in counter-terrorism?
Mr. MORAVEC. No, they do not.
Ms. NORTON. Why not?
Mr. MORAVEC. Excuse me.
Ms. NORTON. I'm particularly concerned, if the contract guard is the one that sits stationary at the desk that he above all have counter-terrorism training.
Mr. MORAVEC. We haveI don't want you to think that they don't have counter-terrorism training, it's just not as extensive as the people that we hire into the LESO program.
Ms. NORTON. That doesn't give me a lot of information, Mr. Moravec, I have to tell you. As somebody who represents the District of Columbia, sits here on ground zero every day, I wish you would provide for the Committee a document on the kind of training that contract guards get in counter-terrorism and the kind of training that Federal Police Service gets. I recognize, and poor GSA, it has to deal with these things level one through level four, and yet they're in all kinds of buildings that we simply don't know how to make secure from increasingly sophisticated counter-terrorism. I'm interested, and I may ask the Chairman at some future date if he would like to have a hearing on this issue, which needs, I believe, our urgent attention to try to press the Federal Government on this issue.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, if I may, Mr. Chairman, there was an article in the newspaper concerning AID and the possibility it might move out of the District of Columbia, because it is one of the few agencies that does not come under the jurisdiction of the GSA when it comes to site selection. And for that matter, I guess, is somewhat distant from our Committee as a result. But the Ronald Reagan Building is not distant from our Committee. This Committee is responsible for the fact that that cost was not wasted, because that building, the most costly Federal building per square foot ever built, was built at that cost as an international trade building.
Well, when I read this in the newspaper, recognizing that they were outside of normal GSA, I called them in and have had a very productive conversation with them. I do want to say to you that I am very concerned about the Ronald Reagan Building. They make very serious charges about GSA and the way in which GSA is managing the building, everything from different costs to different tenants. The restaurant in the building is about to move out. I hope a new one is moving in. There is empty space in the building, that's the first I learned of it. These folks are so dissatisfied with the building because of the way it's laid out, they can't get the bathrooms to be cleaned.
Now, GSA is responsible for that. And in fact, if I hadn't called them in and done my best to read the riot act to them, these people were going to advertise region-wide, leaving a gaping hole in the Ronald Reagan Building. Let me tell you what that would do. That would cause GSA to try to scramble for tenants. They would end up putting in the Ronald Reagan Building ordinary Federal tenants that we would never have built so expensive a building to house. The building is a total waste and a total fiasco unless GSA keeps international public tenants in the building and draws international private tenants to the building.
And Mr. Chairman, again, this has only come to my attention while we were on vacation. I haven't had the opportunity to bring it to your attention and to Mr. Costello's attention. But I believe we may need a hearing on the Ronald Reagan Building, because that would certainly be laid at our doorstep. I want to say to you, Mr. Chairman, while you're here, that I think you need to get everybody together, not only with the AID, but with all the tenants in the building so that the Chairman and Mr. Costello have an opportunity to determine whether a hearing should be called, either this year or next session, that some improvements or some explanation about the Ronald Reagan Building will be forthcoming.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. Congresswoman Norton, we would welcome the opportunity to reply to allegations of mismanagement.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much. And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you very much and I thank you for bringing that to our attention, and as developments develop, if you'd keep Mr. Costello and I apprised, we'll be happy to be helpful, I'm sure.
On the issue of counter-terrorism, it's my understanding that the Subcommittee will be looking at Mr. Gilchrest's bill, which has more of a FEMA aspect to it than others, but dealing with the issue of domestic terrorism in the very near future, we're ready for markup.
Mr. Moravec, we thank you very much for your fine testimony and listening to our questions and answering them so forthrightly. Hopefully we'll see you again soon.
Mr. MORAVEC. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. The next panel this morning is comprised of Steve Bellew, who is the Vice Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Protective Service Labor Committee, and Mr. Robert Byrd, on behalf of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO.
Gentlemen, I welcome both of you here this morning. We have received and reviewed your written testimony, as I indicated in my earlier remarks, your complete statements are already by unanimous consent entered into the record. We look forward to hearing from you, and we will begin with you, Mr. Bellew.
TESTIMONY OF STEVEN BELLEW, VICE CHAIRMAN, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE-FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE LABOR COMMITTEE
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BELLEW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Mr. Costello and members of the Subcommittee. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today.
My name is Steven Bellew and I'm a Federal Protective Service Police Officer from Dallas, Texas, and Vice Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police-FPS Labor Committee. I'm here today to testify about the importance of enhancing public safety through enactment of H.R. 307, the Federal Protective Service Reform Act.
For several years, the FOP has strongly advocated reform of the existing structures and jurisdictions of the Federal Protective Service. The 106th Congress listened to the concerns of FPS officers and others, and thanks to the work of the members of this Subcommittee and the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House of Representatives passed a version of this legislation by voice vote.
Since the tragic bombing of the Murrah Building in 1995, much has been done to strengthen Federal building security and public safety. However, we continue to view the General Services Administration and the Public Buildings Service as unwilling or unable to implement those reforms which are most necessary to address several lingering problems within the Federal Protective Service. Among these are providing clear, direct line control authority to the FPS assistant commissioner, ensuring law enforcement experience in front line supervisors and managers, increasing the number of fully sworn and qualified FPS police officers, and addressing the heavy reliance of GSA on the use of contract security guards to provide the bulk of protective services at America's Federal buildings.
One of the most important provisions of H.R. 307 continues to be the separation of FPS from the Public Buildings Service and its elevation as a separate operating entity of the General Services Administration. By placing the Federal Protective Service outside the Public Buildings Service, the legislation ensures that law enforcement will be given the same level of consideration as property management, and not as a secondary concern of PBS.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition to re-establishing FPS as a premier law enforcement agency, H.R. 307 has several other provisions vital to the future of the Service. It will clarify and enhance the authority of FPS officers to include the carrying of firearms, petitioning Federal courts for arrest warrants and executing those warrants, providing the commissioner of FPS with direct line control over the vital issues of funding and staffing levels at GSA facilities across the country, and it will further ensure that individuals throughout the chain of command have the experience and knowledge necessary to effectively command a law enforcement force.
The Federal Protective Service Reform Act will also address the security concerns raised by GSA's heavy reliance on the use of contract security guards to provide the bulk of protective services at America's Federal buildings. Section 109 of the bill addresses this concern by authorizing the new commissioner of FPS to prescribe minimum standards of suitability for employment which are to be applied by the agency for the contracting of private security guards for the GSA buildings.
Section 108 also addresses this issue by requiring that FPS hire and maintain no less than 730 full time police officers within one year after enactment. Unfortunately, this provision is greatly needed due to the GSA's past disregard for the provisions of P.L. 100-440, which requires the agency to increase the number of police officers to retain an annual average of not less than 1,000 full time equivalent positions. Congress initially imposed this requirement in 1988 because of concern that the FPS was insufficiently staffed to enable it to meet its important responsibilities to the public and Federal employees.
In addition to highlighting the needs for and the benefits of this legislation, I would also like to use the opportunity afforded by this hearing to point out several provisions which the FOP believes should be amended during the future markup of H.R. 307. First, as you will recall, the bill ran into difficulty last year with several Federal law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice over their concern that the bill could be construed to alter their authority to provide security to a number of Federal buildings throughout the country.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We therefore recommend that the language of current Section 106 be amended to ensure that nothing in the bill will affect the existing authority or jurisdiction of any law enforcement agency of the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury.
Second is the issue of the contract cost study required under Section 109 of H.R. 307, an extremely important issue to the rank and file officers of the Federal Protective Service and to our membership. With the main purpose of this bill being the re-establishment of the Federal Protective Service as an elite Federal law enforcement agency, the effect of this section if enacted into law could be the exact opposite. It is our hope that through passage of this bill, the agency will be able to increase their ranks of Federal law enforcement officers above and beyond the current requirements of H.R. 307. Therefore, our main concern is that this section would give GSA and PBS administrators the hard data they need to justify not increasing the number of uniformed law enforcement officers above the 730 officer requirement of Section 108 in the name of cost savings.
For this and many other reasons, we request the Subcommittee's assistance in deleting the contract cost study from Section 109 of the legislation.
Finally is the issue of pay and benefits under current law. One of the reasons that the FPS has been unable to obtain a better pay and benefits package in the past has been as a result of the language of existing Title 40, United States Code Section 318. We request that the proper amendment be made to H.R. 307 to delete the phrase, ''without additional compensation,'' from current law, Title 40, United States Code.
The legislation which is before the Subcommittee again this year is an issue of the utmost concern to the Fraternal Order of Police and the officers of the Federal Protective Service. As a Federal Protective Service police officer, I believe that the safety of Federal employees and the security of the facilities which they occupy are of vital concern to our national security, and that H.R. 307 is the best solution to the issues which I've outlined for you here today. We hope that the Subcommittee will move forward with this legislation as soon as possible, and we look forward to working with the members of the Subcommittee to ensure House passage of this legislation prior to the end of our current session.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On behalf of National President Steve Young, the FOP wishes to thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing and your continued commitment to America's Federal, State and local law enforcement officers. I'll be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Bellew, I thank you very much. And Steve Young, a former sergeant from Marion, Ohio, a good friend and an outstanding President of the FOP.
Mr. Byrd, welcome to you, and we're looking forward to hearing your statement.
TESTIMONY OF ROBERT BYRD, FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE POLICE OFFICER, ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
Mr. BYRD. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Costello, members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Robert Byrd, I am a Federal Protective Service police officer from Washington, D.C., and a member and representative of the American Federation of Government Employees.
I am here today on behalf of Mr. Bobby L. Harnage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees, the Nation's largest Federal employee union, to testify about the pressing need to improve Federal building security. This issue is of the utmost importance to members of this committee, FPS officers, Federal employees and the millions of Americans who visit Federal buildings each day.
AFGE represents more than 600,000 Federal employees and strongly supports H.R. 307, the Federal Protective Service Reform Act, introduced by Representative Traficant. Mr. Chairman, you and your staff are to be commended for holding today's hearing. A s you may know, AFGE has a special interest in this matter. Not only is AFGE the largest Government employee organization in the Nation, but also, it represents the majority of the FPS work force. AFGE offers special thanks to Representative James A. Traficant and his staff who introduced this legislation and has fought tirelessly for its passage since the 105th Congress.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With your permission, I'd like to dispense with reading my prepared testimony, as it is in the record, and just get into the meat of the issue. This legislation is very important. H.R. 307 covers three critical issues: the General Services Administration's position of the Federal Protective Service within its organization; unclear lines of authority and jurisdiction for its officers; and a continued non-competitive salary and benefits for those officers. This legislation is very clear, it might have other provisions, but those are the primary ones.
But the primary issue that GSA is really not discussing is money, $250 million budget, which has historically been there for them to use as they needed to, not always for security, and that is the undisputed past record. Now, why today they have indicated that the money is all fenced off, that may be so for today. But there is no statutory law prohibiting them, the Administrator, at any time, to use those funds for other matters. And Government has the authority to do what they need to do. But when it comes to security, we've paid a heavy price. And that price was paid in Oklahoma City by 168 persons, because the agency failed to follow a public law passed by the 100th Congress which mandated, in 1988, that 1,000 officers be on the payroll. And at that time, we had in the high 700s. They chose to do nothing. The force was around 300 at the time of the bombing, a clear tragedy that could have been prevented.
So those who feel that we don't need more laws are sometimes mistaken. I feel that we need to have this legislation to ensure that there is clear accountability, no questions, no excuses.
Additionally, the manpower of the organization is not where it should be. Now, I'm not going to be specific, as this is a public hearing, but we need more personnel, personnel who are dedicated to patrolling deterrence. Not sitting in offices having meetings and doing other things, which is one of the primary roles of a new law enforcement security officer position. While they have law enforcement powers and wear a uniform like I do, they are not primarily dedicated to patrolling deterrence. And sometimes you have to pay for extra, just as we have the Capitol Police. It is an expense that is necessary, though some feel that it is not, but it is a necessity to ensure security, your safety and that the Government of this Nation runs. And that's a very important issue.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Additionally, the agency has continued to say that we're strengthening ourselves by establishing new policies. Well, we have lots of new policies. But policies can change at the change of an administration. And we have a new administration, we welcome Mr. Moravec, and he's going to, I think, do a good job for us. But I think it is your obligation as Congress when you see that there's trouble, where there's smoke, there's fire, and sometimes you need to take action. Change is not easy, and change is what is needed. And I think the FPS and its staff are doing a lot of great work in improving the organization. They've done a lot of good stuff. The contract guard program is not where it should be, as Mr. Moravec indicated. They have made some improvements.
But contract guards are not the answer. You need the uniformed officer who is trained to handle the job on the beat, just as your cities and towns have police officers. How would you feel if your administration decide and said, we're not going to pay the police, we're just going to have a few, and if nothing happens, nothing happens. If something happens, something happens. So we need to do a better job in that. The job of Government is to ensure safety and security. And if it costs money, it costs money. You'd find hard pressed any citizen who would say, I didn't want to pay for security for Oklahoma City. I didn't want to pay. And that's the reality that we are in today.
The law enforcement personnel we have on this job are very dedicated to this function. Every day we lose many of our best and brightest due to non-competitive compensation, and a structure and chain of command that is not working. Even though the new changes that they say are going to work, we've heard it all before. I've been an FPS officer for five years, we've heard it all before. And in this town, the Nation's capital, we need personnel. And I thank Congresswoman Norton for her excellent bill in getting us additional jurisdiction, which really helps us do our job. Because oftentimes we're powerless, when people are casing our Federal buildings, threatening our workers who step off a curb, and you just pray, there's nothing you can do for them.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It's not the city, State or local authority's job to police the Federal buildings in the major cities. Now, they can do it in smaller communities, in which it's not always feasible to have FPS. But major cities don't have the coverage we think they need. And AFGE represents Federal workers, not just the FPS officers. And AID is a prime example of an agency that is not happy. I would recommend if you discuss these matters with other agency heads, you'll find a different set of opinions of how GSA has treated them. You'd be quite surprised, we're not a warm and fuzzy organization, we're not all one big Government family. So I think we should really get into that area.
And the pay and benefits issue is very important. What we have is, the officers are doing a good job but they're not really where they should be in pay and benefits. So consequently, many of our best and brightest leave on a daily basis. While a new position does offer enhanced pay, it doesn't offer all the benefits it needs for the risks that you take. So those are real issues, real issues. And while Mr. Moravec did say that a good percentage of those positions are filled by FPS officers who are police, a lot of them took the position simply for the money. They don't necessarily enjoy the work, because it is a different kind of work. Cops are cops and security specialists are security specialists. And we are not a national police force, nor do we want to be a national police force. We're here to protect the Federal Government alone.
So I thank you for the opportunity to address you. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions at this time.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Byrd, I thank you very much. I thank both of you for your excellent testimony.
Mr. Bellew, I'd like to start with you . And first of all, Mr. Byrd, I want to agree with you . I've been very impressed with Mr. Moravec the few times he's appeared before the Subcommittee and my sense is that he's a fellow that wants to do the best that he can for the agency and he's going to do his level best to do that. Sometimes on some of these issues that may be new to him, given his real estate background, you kind of get the sense that perhaps he's being told the party line in some instances and I think he's at least open to thoughts and suggestions.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Bellew, have you, Mr. Moravec talked about the training program in Georgia, FLETC, I think it was. Have you ever participated in that training?
Mr. BELLEW. No, sir, I haven't.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Byrd, have you?
Mr. BELLEW. You're talking about the four week program?
Mr. LATOURETTE. Yes.
Mr. BELLEW. We have not.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Byrd, did you?
Mr. BYRD. No.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Do you know anything about it, from talking to folks who have participated, either of you?
Mr. BELLEW. We have talked to several people who have been there. And most of them are people who have no prior law enforcement experience. They're accountants, people who deal with contracts, things of that nature. They go there for two weeks of training, which by the way, is not from what we understand, is not certified by FLETC. It contains FLETC instructors and instructors from management of FPS, but is not sanctioned as a FLETC school. They go there for two weeks of training, then fly back to their home districts for two weeks to catch up on work, then fly back for two more weeks of training and then they're given a gun and a badge and law enforcement authority.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Is there anything that you know about that program, Mr. Byrd, that you'd like to add?
Mr. BYRD. Yes, sir. Pretty much what Steve has indicated, and that it's titled a leadership academy. My definition of a leadership academy is to learn about leading personnel and resources, not learning to be a police officer. So there's definitely something that needs to be said about what they're there for. And four weeks I don't think is adequate, since I have to attend a ten week course or more. If you want to hold the position, the position requires that you have the training, then you should be prepared to do what I have to do. If not, don't even waste your time.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. I think all of us, Ms. Holmes Norton focused on counter-terrorism, Mr. Costello had some questions, and I did as well. I mean, my recollection is that the basic police academy takes a little longer than that. But Mr. Moravec was of the view, and I think that again this view came from someone who told him what it was about, rather than his personal experience, that this four week course was a compressed 10 or 12 week course. Any observation you have on whether or not that can be so, can you get somebody ready in four weeks to do what we're asking people to do?
Mr. BYRD. I don't personally think four weeks is adequate. I mean, some people are quick learners, and I understand for myself, but you need to have the prescribed training. You should be certified by FLETC, not by FPS or GSA. FLETC has set a standard which the majority of Federal agencies attend, and many State and local agencies and their employees, to FLETC, for many of their courses. Just four weeks it not sufficient. I think they should attend the basic police course, as I do. If you want them to have police powers, which is in defiance to their own administrative directive, which indicates you must attend FLETC, they have never even amended those.
And it also creates a problem with morale. You have a person in charge of you that's never had this kind of a job and he's suddenly telling you what to do, while some people can do good jobs in new professions, law enforcement is one that requires experience and proper training. I guess if I attended a two week or four week drafting course, I should be the commissioner of the Public Buildings Service. I could score well on the test just like anybody else.
Mr. BYRD. But training is training.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I'm sure you'd do a good job, Mr. Byrd.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. I would say, I mean, when I heard that 9 of 11 had prior law enforcement experience, I was wondering who the two were. I will say that Mr. Yamamoto's credentials impressed me, and I think that as the fellow sort of at the top, he seems to be somebody that is certainly worthy of the trust that's been placed into him.
Mr. Bellew, I want to get to something you said in your testimony, because I think most of it I agreed with, but there was one portion that caused me some concern. You're recommending to the Subcommittee that three portions of the bill, H.R. 307, as drafted, be changed. One was the jurisdictional difficulty that to allay the fear on behalf of DOJ and others, and I understand that, I also understood the pay and benefits. But I heard you advocate the deletion of the provision of the bill that calls for a contract cost study.
And the reason, if I remember your testimony, was that you are fearful that PBS and GSA will have hard data to indicate that this is where the force would be. I think my question to you is, I listened very carefully to Mr. Moravec when he was asked the question, I think it was by Mr. Costello, as to what the comparative costs were between contracting out versus hiring an FTE. And his answer kind of surprised me, I expected a different answer, I thought he was going to say it was cheaper, he said it was not more expensive to contract out than it was to have an FTE. I didn't expect that answer from him, quite frankly. My understanding, again from the author of the bill, Mr. Traficant, is that the purpose, I think, his hope is that the contract cost study would show that you can have an FTE fully trained FPS officer for the same or less cost as you could contract out.
So I guess I'm wondering why you want, it could either be used, I suppose, at this stage, to say they could be used as a hammer and shield, based upon what the study showed. But I thought it was a good idea to have such a study, because it may provide you with the opportunity to come back to the PBS and say, look, you're not saving any money by going to less trained, less qualified contract officers than having people like Mr. Byrd, for instance, FTEs on the payroll that can do the job and have better training. So maybe you could just tell us what your thoughts on that are.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BELLEW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Moravec's response somewhat perplexes us, too, because it flies in the face of everything we've been told about what that study would ultimately decide. We also found that the wording of that section was somewhat ambiguous as to what the report was supposed to accomplish, when it was supposed to be completed, what the uses for the report were, and just felt as though it was unnecessary to codify a cost study when FPS obviously has the funds and the ability to do so now without a Congressional mandate.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I think that on this issue I may have to respectfully disagree. My view is that we should have the stuff. I think that all my experience in this issue shows, there are a lot of people around here that are great advocates of contracting out. But at the end of the day, they find out that they're losing money on the contract, and it's cheaper to have somebody that works for you full time than it is to contract out. So I think I might ask you to go back to your folks at the FOP and rethink that when we get to the point of a markup, and maybe we can come to a different conclusion, or maybe that section can be refined language-wise to satisfy some of the ambiguity questions you might have. But I don't think having a study that shows what it shows is a bad idea, as long as it's a fair study.
And with that, I don't have any further questions. Mr. Costello?
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Bellew, you mentioned that that flies in the face of everything we have been told as far as the cost issue is concerned. What have you been told? What is your understanding as far as contracting out versus FPS officers on the job?
Mr. BELLEW. What we've been told is that the fact that they don't have to pay health benefits, retirement benefits and things of that nature enable them to go under contract a lot cheaper than what it would cost to bring on an extra FTE. Historically, that's pretty much been the case, because 10 years ago, we had over 5,000 police officers that were full time FTE, and now we have less than 500. And we have over 5,000 security officers who are ill-prepared, ill-qualified, over half of them are ill-prepared and ill-qualified, as provided by testimony before the Senate last year, by GSA's own OIG, that they were unable to work the functions of the job, and were not qualified for those positions. They have since had an ongoing audit on these positions. So it may turn out that it actually is reasonably cheaper to have us as opposed to them, depending on all these different audits and catching up they've had to do over the procurement of certain contracts.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. There's no question, though, I mean, in anyone's mind here, that it's driven by cost, and it has been for the last 30 years. They've been able to reduce their costs by contracting out as opposed to hiring FTEs, or they wouldn't have done it.
Mr. BELLEW. Yes, sir.
Mr. COSTELLO. Let me ask you, I know you're from Dallas, Texas, is that what you said in your testimony?
Mr. BELLEW. Yes, sir.
Mr. COSTELLO. Where are you working now and what is your assignment?
Mr. BELLEW. I work in Dallas, Texas. Our primary assignment are the large number of Federal facilities within the Dallas area. We have another section of officers that work the Fort Worth area. And we work all the surrounding areas around there. But our secondary responsibility is the entire State of Arkansas, the eastern portion of Texas and northeast Texas, and the eastern part of Oklahoma.
Mr. COSTELLO. How many years have you been on the job?
Mr. BELLEW. On this job here, I've
Mr. COSTELLO. With the agency.
Mr. BELLEW. With the agency for over five years.
Mr. COSTELLO. You obviously work with employees that are contract employees as well?
Mr. BELLEW. Yes, sir, I worked as a contract security officer for a year.
Mr. COSTELLO. I'd be interested in knowing from both of you, from your experience, if you're working with a person, you work for the agency, they work for an agency that's been contracted for their services, as far as salary, benefits, the difference between the two, working for the agency and working for a company that has received a contract to provide this service, what's the starting salary based on what you know of an FTE versus a contract employee?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BELLEW. It varies from State to State, but I can just speak for Dallas, because that's the one I'm aware of right now, a lot of them make almost exactly what the police officer makes. The difference is the fact that the officer gets that type of money plus he gets the health benefits and everything else. And the contract security officer doesn't. And that's how they justify the increased pay for the contract security officer, is the fact that he has to pay for his retirement, his 401(k) account, and his health benefits out of his own pocket. That's why they're paying $15 or $18 an hour, or whatever, is because of that fact.
Mr. COSTELLO. Are the contract employees that you have worked with, are they full time employees? Are they working 40 hours a week or are they working 30 hours?
Mr. BELLEW. It varies. Some of them work a flex schedule in which they work 30 hours, and then they'll work maybe 10 hours the next week. I guess you would call it sort of like a part-time employee. But the majority of them are full time, 40 hour a week employees.
Mr. COSTELLO. There's a continuity issue in some respect, though?
Mr. BELLEW. Yes, sir.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Byrd, same questions.
Mr. BYRD. I would say the costs, they do vary from area to area. There are problems, specifically with the contracting, Alaska has been an issue, because they're unionizing them because they want more money, they feel they should be paid more for what they're being asked to do because of the lack of FPS officers. So we're talking about ranges of $12 in some places to as high as $19 directly to the officer. That doesn't include the company's profit margin that's added in there. And as Steve indicated, the health and welfare benefit is sometimes thrown in or taken away as an added item.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The FPS officers salary range, high 20s, $20,000, $29,000, maybe $30,000. It depends where you are. Washington, D.C. is the highest paid FPS, despite New York and San Francisco being higher cost areas. We don't understand how it works that way, but it is. Our counterpart organizations, New York and San Francisco, receive a higher pay because of the cost.
Mr. COSTELLO. You mentioned in your testimony that oftentimes local police departments are called to respond to a Federal facility and those reports often are not reported to GSA. Do you want to expand on that or elaborate a little bit?
Mr. BYRD. Yes. From information we have received, just from across the country, a lot of times we don't have FPS officers, sometimes the agency will contract with them and pay them a fee for response and sometimes they don't. The organization will respond to the agency and take a call, theft of Government property, something small, and we don't often get that kind of information. So it gives the appearance that, oh, there's no crime.
When I talk to our counterpart officers who may work in an area near there, it's high crime, millions of dollars of Government computers stolen, we recently heard about the FBI losing computers and the INS, firearms. You would be surprised what walks out of your Federal buildings, and it adds up to money. Some of that material is sensitive and can affect the operations of Government. Those are the kinds of things that you have happening, the information is not reported.
We even have problems with our own agencies that we serve, the tenant agencies, but not reporting the offenses to FPS. And that continues to be a problem recently.
Mr. COSTELLO. You also mentioned in your testimony that there are other Federal agencies opting out of the network for protection purposes, specifically you mentioned the IRS and Social Security Administration. Can you elaborate on that?
Mr. BYRD. Well, IRS is one of the ones that has offices everywhere. I know in regard to how they pay their rent, there's been problems in wanting to pay for services they don't receive. They're paying for officers that don't exist. So when they don't get an FPS officer, they get a guard, and the guard is very limited. So what a lot of them have asked for is delegation of authority, which they hire and run their own guards, which for us means we don't get the revenue, which is an issue for GSA. It's all about revenue and money. Social Security, which receives lots of threats, because of the work they do, IRS, lots of threats, violent offenders. So they've taken a do it yourself approach, and the U.S. Marshall Service with the Federal courts. GSA has historically had the authority but has delegated through memorandums of agreement.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. In these cases that you personally are aware of, the IRS and Social Security Administration, are they contracting out, or are they hiring?
Mr. BYRD. They have contract security guards, which many of them administer themselves. Because they have better control, when they discipline a guard or fire a guard, they don't have to file complaint after complaint and not get action from GSA. But they can just set the standards and facilitate it themselves.
Mr. COSTELLO. Final question. You heard the Commissioner testify that it costs 30 cents a square foot to provide security and that they are only charging tenants 18 cents now, but as contracts expire and are renewed, they're going to increase that to try and cover their costs. I guess the big issue in his testimony was that this is sealed off, that the money for security goes for security only. In your testimony, you mentioned that may be the case today, but it hasn't always been that way. I'd be interested in hearing you elaborate on that issue.
Mr. BYRD. Through different IG investigations, the General Accounting Office, even through testimony of Mr. Moravec's predecessor, Mr. Peck, it was determined that funds were taken from security funds from the Oklahoma City bombing funds that were allocated to buy artwork and other things, simply because they needed money to finish the building prior, because they were behind or above budget, and they used FPS funds. Or they spent the money on things that weren't approved. Because you had a large pot of money that was unrestricted funds. They had internal administrative controls, using Government accounting procedures, but they weren't always followed.
Today they say they're followed. I don't know. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. But I would recommend the General Accounting Office do a top to bottom financial review for the past five or ten years, and you'd be surprised the findings that you'll see, because numbers do not lie to you, and records the Government has lots of. So I would say that maybe they're going to do better, but have it in the statute so it's clear, no one can say they didn't know or they didn't understand. That's the Washington way of getting around things.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. Gentlemen, I appreciate your testimony and I can assure you that I'm going to follow up on the cost issue, both with the GSA and with other sources as well. Thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you, Mr. Costello.
Ms. Holmes Norton.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say to both of you how much we appreciate your work, not only those who go into the buildings but those on the outside of the buildings, especially those of us here in the District of Columbia, of course.
I'd like to ask both of you what you regard as the relationship between the Federal Protective Service and the contract guards and what you regard as individual police officers, as your relationship to the contract guards, for law enforcement purposes.
Mr. BYRD. Well, Ms. Norton, I would say for the contract guards, we have many, in this area, we have a large number of them, I have a pretty good relationship with many of them, because they're hard workers. In this area, a lot of them are full time employees, for the different companies, and many of them do a pretty good job. But of course, we still have those who slip through the cracks.
Ms. NORTON. Do you all work side by side?
Mr. BYRD. No. The contract guards are all fixed post. We are a mobile organization, so we respond building to building and patrol area to area. The entire metropolitan area, not just, for me, the city of Washington.
So when I interact with them, I come into the building to check them, see what they're doing, make sure they're on their post, and they're properly wearing their uniform.
Ms. NORTON. You don't have any supervisory authority over them?
Mr. BYRD. Well, yes, we do. If we come in and see them not doing something, then we can cite them with a citation which affects the company, they may fine the company and take money away from them. If I see them doing something, I can give them some directives. But they do assist us when we go into a place, to show us the way around or give us assistance if there is an intrusion in areas, that does happen.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. NORTON. Now, if the Federal Protective Service became an independent part of the GSA, what would be your relationship then to the contract guards? They would, I take it, still be under the Public Buildings Service?
Mr. BELLEW. Well, they get contracted out through the Federal Protective Service. The Federal Protective Service has been delegated that authority by the Public Buildings Service to go and seek the contracts, do the contract cost study and come up with the best deal that would be sufficient for covering their security needs. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing, as we found out here recently when several of the contracts started paying their security officers with faulty checks. The security officers even went so far as to threaten a walkout, because for several weeks, they didn't receive any payments for the work that they were doing. And they had to go to an emergency situation, into an emergency situation in which they canceled a contract and picked up another contract. And this affected a good third to a quarter of the United States.
Ms. NORTON. This must be a legal question, whether or not you would retain that authority that is apparently delegated to you to contract out, if the Federal Protective Service becomes an independent service under this bill.
Mr. BELLEW. Yes, ma'am, we should retain that capability, because the $250 million budget that Robert stated that we have, a majority of that goes for contract security guard operation.
Ms. NORTON. So the bill must contemplate that.
I would like to ask you about, Mr. Bellew, about a section of your testimony that focuses really on what you think is the chief benefit of a separate law enforcement organization within the GSA. And you said it is the establishment of direct line authority for the Assistant Commissioner of FPS. Then you go on to indicate that of course, an attempt was made to do this through an administrative order, and then to say that that administrative order has in effect been countermanded.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You indicate that there are two new levels of civilian managers that were put in place?
Mr. BELLEW. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. NORTON. So that you are saying that there is not a direct line authority under the administrative order any longer. There was, but there no longer is direct line authority because of these two civilian managers that are now here and weren't there when the administrative order was put in place?
Mr. BELLEW. That is correct, ma'am. What it is is, in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Environment and Public Works last year, Mr. Robert Peck, who is Mr. Moravec's predecessor, he and the OIG came to testify that direct line control could be an alternative to separation from PBS, and that if the Federal Protective Service was granted line control, then that would alleviate the need for taking FPS out from under PBS. The premise behind that was the fact that FPS was a law enforcement agency that's being run by a real estate agent, and that real estate agents were making the policies for law enforcement when in fact they had no knowledge or background of law enforcement and no experience in law enforcement. They were becoming, I guess the best analogy would be a plumber telling a CEO how to run his corporation or something. It was just ludicrous.
So Senator Voinovich, who was the chairman of the subcommittee, spoke with Mr. Peck, and Mr. Peck said that he would grant line authority, which meant that instead of our regional directors answering to the GSA Regional Administrator in each individual region and getting our policies handed down that way, that we would answer that the Regional Directors of FPS would answer directly to the Assistant Commissioner of FPS here in Washington, D.C. So instead of a police officer or the head of a police agency answering to a head of a real estate agency in that area, that individual would be answering to the head police officer here in Washington, D.C.
Now, when that went into effect, PBS was supposed to report back to Congress or to the Senate by the 15th of December, which never happened. Matter of fact, we clarified that in a meeting yesterday that to date, they have failed to report back to the Senate on how line control is working out. In January of this year, they issued a second order which countermanded the first by taking all the administrative procedures of personnel hirings, the manipulation of personnel, disciplinary actions, promotions, everything, and they took it and they delegated that back to the regional directors.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Well, as was stated in testimony, 9 of the 11 regional directors do not have law enforcement experience. The nine personnel that do not have law enforcement experience came from PBS. So these people have always worked to countermand what a police agency should work for and should be accountable for.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, I think we're going to need some written explanation from PBS about the administrative order that directed them to grant this authority, and then, what may be, and we need to understand what was in, why they believed that key parts of the administrative order should be taken back. I recall that Mr. Moravec just testified before us today that personnel authority was what the FPS had. And your testimony says they don't.
Mr. BELLEW. He has the authority, but he delegated it back toFPS is run like 11 different kingdoms, so to speak. Everybody has always done their own thing, there's no continuity across the United States. Up until recently, all the 11 regions had different uniforms even, different policies and procedures. If one region was sent to another region for backup on, say, a high profile trial, a terrorist trial or something of that nature, you had 11 different uniforms, 11 different types of equipment or equipment that was issued in one area was not issued to another area. So everybody was running like 11 different kingdoms with 11 different policies and procedures. It went so far as to where some of the regional directors would say, if central office would send out a policy, they were like, ''we're not going to abide by this policy. That's something that everybody else can do, we're not going to abide by it.''
So once they delegated the personnel authority, the disciplinary authority and everything back to the regional directors, it's the same as going back to square one, back to where we started from, to having no line authority.
Ms. NORTON. I think we need an explanation of that. Besides enhancing the prestige of the Federal Protective Service, what do you think this direct line authority does for law enforcement, either for the direct ability of the cop on the beat or for the institution as such? Why is direct line authority to the administrator so important for law enforcement?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BELLEW. The reason they were trying to do the direct line control was so that they could have police officers answering to police officers. As you stated earlier, the chief of police is like the lead person in a police agency. But everyone under him are police officers, and all the police managers answer to the chief of police, and it's the chief of police who answers to the mayor, which is his civilian superior.
In our organization, we have a lot of police officers who are answering to people who know nothing about security or law enforcement. Some of these people have law enforcement experience, which was simply going to basic training. But just because you go through the training doesn't mean that you're experienced as a police officer. Even a police officer, once they've completed training, has to go through a field training time when they ride along with an experienced police officer, they learn the ropes, then they let them go off by themselves or with another police officer or whatever the case may be.
In this case, line control was meant to establish police officers to answer to other police officers. The bad part about that is, basically it killed the bill in the Senate, because everybody was thinking, okay, we have line control, we no longer have to worry about the separation issue, and as a result, it should work out. But things have not worked out. Things have gotten worse. The regional directors are usually where the problem lies, because most of those came from PBS, and they don't have the best interest of the police force or the security concerns of the facilities at heart.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, could I ask one more question? Have any steps been taken as far as you know to prepare you for the IMF-World Bank meeting coming at the end of the month?
Mr. BYRD. I'll comment on that, Congresswoman Norton. As an officer here, I've received additional training for civil disturbance in case it is necessary. We've taken some other steps to get better equipment for ourselves and I believe they have requested some assistance from our other areas. And I can tell you some more that I don't want to discuss here publicly.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. NORTON. Mr. Chairman, I just want to indicate that there is a very serious matter, the Mayor and I went to the White House, met with Mr. Gonzalez, White House Counsel, and high Federal officers just a couple of weeks ago, because the demonstrations in Canada and Genoa were totally out of control. We have the most experienced police force in the Metropolitan Police Force in the country for handling demonstrations. You can call it a Million Man March, you can call it anything, it's been peaceful in this town.
I think it has been normally peaceful elsewhere, too, but we have all kinds of intelligence that this is going to be something like Washington has never experienced before. And I want to say that I appreciate the way in which the Administration has worked with us to get the police forces, I wished I had asked Mr. Moravec about his role.
But I wanted to see whether or not the word had gotten down to you all that you would have an important role here, of course guarding Federal buildings, but you may be playing, and I see you are, an enhanced role as well in these other jurisdictions that's cost upward of $100 million, $70 million, and of course we have a local police force here that gets no reimbursement whatsoever. The White House has agreed to come forth with partial reimbursement and we do appreciate that. But I am relived to know that you have gotten some additional training as of now, and that you feel that you are prepared for what promises to be a demonstration in a different stratosphere, according to all the intelligence that we are receiving, from any this city has seen before.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you. And I thank you, Mr. Byrd, and you, Mr. Bellew, for your testimony today and answering our questions.
Before we adjourn, I want to ask unanimous consent to leave the record open for a few days, so that those groups who may be interested in this legislation but weren't able to participate may submit items for the record. So ordered.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to thank all of our witnesses for testifying today, the members of the Subcommittee. Without further business, the Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:50, the Subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
Testimony of Steven Bellew, Vice Chairman, Fraternal Order of PoliceFederal Protective Service Labor Committee
Good morning Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Costello, and Members of the Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Economic Development; and thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Steven Bellew, and I am a Federal Protective Service Officer from Dallas, Texas, and Vice Chairman of the Fraternal Order of PoliceFPS Labor Committee. I am here today at the request of Steve Young, National President of the Grand Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police to testify about the importance of enhancing public safety through enactment of H.R. 307, the ''Federal Protective Service Reform Act.''
For several years, the F.O.P. has strongly advocated reform of the existing structures and jurisdictions of the Federal Protective Service. We know that this is an issue of the utmost importance to Members of this Subcommittee, and we thank you for holding this important hearing.
The tragic bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the deaths of 168 innocent people served as a startling reminder that the United States is not immune to acts of terrorism, and underscored the need for increased protection at America's Federal buildings provided by a highly skilled and qualified organization of law enforcement professionals. Congress listened to the concerns of FPS officers and others, and thanks to the work of the Members of this Subcommittee and the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House of Representatives passed a version of this legislation in the 106th Congress by voice vote.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Despite the fact that since 1995 much has been done to strengthen Federal building security and public safety, we continue to view the General Services Administration and the Public Buildings Service as unwilling or unable to implement those reforms which are most necessary to address several lingering problems within the Federal Protective Service. Among these are providing clear, direct line control authority to the FPS Assistant Commissioner, ensuring law enforcement experience in front line supervisors and managers, increasing the number of fully sworn and qualified FPS police officers, and addressing the heavy reliance of GSA on the use of contract security guards to provide the bulk of protective services in America's Federal buildings.
One of the most important provisions of H.R. 307 continues to be the separation of FPS from the Public Buildings Service, and reestablishing the agency as a separate operating entity of the General Services Administration. By placing the Federal Protective Service outside of the Public Buildings Service, the legislation ensures that law enforcement will be given the same level of consideration as property management, and not as a secondary concern of PBS. Over the years, we have heard from GSA and PBS that separating the two entities would impede the integration of the design and management of public buildings with the security of those facilities. In fact, however, providing FPS with an opportunity to provide independent review and recommendations with regard to the design and management of public buildings can only help to strengthen the security and public safety of those buildings and, in the end, save lives.
We would also direct the Subcommittee to two separate reports which support this provision of H.R. 307. In 1995, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Marshals Service and several other Federal law enforcement agencies released the Vulnerability Assessment of Federal Facilities, which contained several important recommendations to upgrade the capabilities of the FPS. Specifically, the report noted that ''the placement of FPS within the organizational structure of GSA [under the Public Buildings Service] may have limited the ability of FPS to obtain the resources to assure appropriate security in large, multi-tenant facilities, even when the security needs have been well-defined.'' The report went on to recommend that FPS, and not the Public Buildings Service, should be responsible for providing security services for GSA-controlled facilities, improving the standards for contract guards, and be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of a centralized data base of all Federal office buildings.
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In addition, the 1996 Federal Operations Review Model (FORM: Federal Protective Service, a GSA-requested study by Arthur Anderson, concluded that of the recommendations for FPS contained in the 1995 Vulnerability Assessment, ''elevation is most advantageous to the government as it will provide for cost savings as well as enable FPS to be self-financing.'' Having recommended that FPS be elevated to a Service Line organization reporting directly to the Administrator of GSA, the study further concluded that this would recognize the priority of security in the Federal environment, ensure a direct funding mechanism for Federal security, provide savings on overhead costs, and streamline the management and reporting structure.
The Fraternal Order of Police continues to believe that separation and elevation of the Federal Protective Service is the only sure way of improving the effectiveness and the capabilities of the agency. The often used comparison of the relationship between PBS and FPS with that of the U.S. Park Police and the National Park Service used by PBS officials is not entirely accurate. We would submit that, like the Park Police, 99 percent of all Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies have the same type of command and reporting structures. For a local agency, officers on the beat report to sergeants, who in turn report to lieutenants, on up to the Chief of Policeall of whom have direct law enforcement experience. The Chief is then responsible to the Mayor and City Council. Indeed, it would be extremely odd to see a law enforcement agency independent of any civilian oversight, and would no doubt be a major source of concern to the citizenry. By the same token, we are unaware of any agency structured in a similar fashion to that of the FPS, where you have civilian PBS managers and employees interspersed throughout the command structure from the Officer up to the Assistant Commissioner of FPS.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The most important and direct benefit of a separate law enforcement organization within GSA would be the establishment of direct line control authority for the Assistant Commissioner FPS, and a clear chain of command from the field to the headquarters level. In response to a Senate hearing in September 2000 on this issue, as well as the efforts in recent years to enact the ''Federal Protective Service Reform Act,'' GSA attempted to address this issue in November of last year through an administrative order. The order reassigned FPS Division Directors in the regions from reporting to the Assistant Regional Administrators for PBS to reporting directly to the Assistant Commissioner of FPS.
However, in April of this year, our Labor Committee was advised by agency management that there would be several changes to the FPS organizational structure on the regional level. Into this new structure, two new levels of civilian managers were put in place between the FPS law enforcement officers and the Deputy Regional Directorsthe District Director and the Area Security Manager who, according to the new organization chart, are ''trained in leadership, physical security and law enforcement.'' These civilian managers would attend a newly established four-week FPS leadership academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which is aimed at teaching the rudiments of police and physical security work to upper level managers within the agency. Upon completion of the course, they are given police authorization under 40 U.S.C 318 to enforce laws, make arrests, and execute arrest and search warrants. This appears to be in direct violation of established PBS policy (PBS P 5930.17C) which states that persons other than FPS police officers and Law Enforcement Security Officers (LESO) must possess one year of police experience as an FPS police officer, LESO, or state or local law enforcement officer prior to gaining 40 U.S.C. 318 authorization.
In May of this year, GSA made further moves to undo the direct line control of the FPS Assistant Commissioner when they redelegated personnel authority from the Assistant Commissioner to the FPS Regional Directors. Essentially, these Regional Directors now have authority over personnel selection, promotion, detail and reassignment; disciplinary actions, adverse actions, and actions based on unacceptable performance; grievances; training; labor relations on the regional level; and approval of budgetary obligations. And according to our information, nine of the eleven Regional Directors are former PBS employees or managers.
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In addition to reestablishing FPS as a premiere Federal law enforcement agency, H.R. 307 has several other provisions vital to the future of the Service. It will clarify and enhance the authority of FPS officers, to include the carrying of firearms, petitioning Federal courts for arrest warrants, and executing those warrants; and it will further ensure that individuals throughout the chain of command have the experience and knowledge necessary to effectively command a law enforcement force. Indeed, the requirement of Section 106 regarding the qualifications of the newly created FPS Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, and Regional Directors is in line with the testimony of Mr. Joel Gallay of the GSA Office of Inspector General during the September 2000 Senate hearing on this legislation. Mr. Gallay noted that ''law enforcement agencies which operate within larger parent organizations * * * are traditionally staffed by professional law enforcement personnel. This structure assures more effective oversight of the use of law enforcement authorities and consistent application of policies and procedures, particularly important with respect to matters such as jurisdiction and the use of deadly force.''
Furthermore, the provisions of H.R. 307 regarding the reestablishment of FPS will help to ensure that the Assistant Commissioner has direct control over the vital issues of funding and staffing levels at GSA facilities across the country. One example of the need for this provision is the recent situation in New York City during the World Trade Center and African embassy bombing trials in which 35 ''term'' police officers hired to supplement the existing force and provide enhanced security were fired at the end of Fiscal Year 2000.
In 1999, the General Services Administration planned to reduce the level of FPS officers in that region at the end of Fiscal Year 1999, effective October 1. This prompted a letter from Attorney General Janet Reno to then-Administrator David Barram requesting that GSA continue to provide the same level of protective services in the region in Fiscal Year 2000, at the previously authorized level. These were fully sworn and trained law enforcement officers who had completed the 10-week police training course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, and were responsible for providing law enforcement services at the Federal Civic Center; consisting of 26 Federal Plaza, 290 Broadway, 40 Foley Square, the U.S. Court of International Trade, 1 St. Andrews Plaza, the U.S. District Court, 500 Pearl Street, the Bureau of Prisons facility at the Manhattan Correctional Center, and Federal facilities in Newark, New Jersey. While it is true that the World Trade Center bombing trials had concluded by the time of their removal, there was a potentially greater threat posed by the commencement of the African Embassy bombing trials of individuals associated with the terrorist network of Osama bin Laden.
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The ''Federal Protective Service Reform Act'' will also address the security concerns raised by GSA's heavy reliance on the use of contract security guards to provide the bulk of protective services in America's Federal buildings. As a whole, private contract security guards do not receive the same level or quality of training as do FPS police officers, who are required to attend the twelve week police training course at FLETC, followed by various in-service training programs. While the use of contract guards by GSA has been steadily increasing over the years, the number of full-time police officers has declined. This decline was appropriately noted in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee report on H.R. 809 (H. Rpt. 106676, pg. 5): ''Since 1971, the workforce of both PBS and FPS has steadily shrunk. In 1971, total employment of Federal Protective Officers (FPO's) exceeded 4,500. By 1995, the FPO force had been reduced to less than 500. At the same time, [the] contract guard workforce had grown from 700, to over 2,500. The total protective force stood at 3,000, while the PBS inventory had grown by 70 million square feet of space, from 230 million square feet of space in the 1970's to over 300 million in 1995. The extent of protective personnel coverage had shrunk dramatically.''
The Committee also noted that by 1995, guard functions in Oklahoma City had been so reduced, that a single contract guard, who also provided protection for two other Federal buildings, was responsible for patrolling the Murrah Building. Section 109 of the bill addresses this concern by authorizing the new Commissioner of FPS to proscribe minimum standards of suitability for employment which are to be applied by the agency in the contracting of private security guards for GSA buildings.
A second provision of H.R. 307 also speaks to this issue. Section 108 of the legislation requires that FPS hire and maintain no less than 730 full time police officers one year after enactment. Unfortunately, this provision is greatly needed due to GSA's disregard of the provisions of Public Law 100440. Through this, Congress had attempted to require the agency to increase the number of police officers and retain an annual average of not less than 1,000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions. Congress initially imposed this requirement in 1988 because of the concern that the FPS was insufficiently staffed to enable it to meet its important responsibilities to the public and Federal employees. I am sure that there are myriad reasons why this congressional mandate was never implemented by GSA, however, I would refer the Subcommittee to the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) June 30, 1995, Report on GSA's noncompliance with Section 10 of the General Provisions of Public Law 100440 (Report No. A53663/A/C/F95018).
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Although never being presented with a definitive explanation for the agency's refusal to implement this provision, the OIG concluded that:
GSA management did not support the requirement for a larger uniformed protective unit, evidenced by the fact that whenever funding and FTE positions became available, these additional resources were directed into an alternative protection programeven after P.L. 100440 was enacted;
While agency management did not seek to increase its uniformed police force, GSA made no effort to inform or attempt to work with Congress to get the law changed until 1995;
Despite the fact that Senate Report 100387 (June 17, 1988) directed GSA to fund the hiring of additional Federal Protective Officers (FPO) using funds appropriated for real property operations, GSA used available funds to hire Physical Security Specialists and increase contract guard services;
In Fiscal Year 1990, the evidence indicated that the agency's internal budget directives did not provide for an increase in regional FPO positions. Not only were the FPO ranks not increased, but GSA also permitted the number of officers to decline significantly; and
''The fact that responsible agency managers knew of the law and neither took action to comply with it nor reported non-compliance during past years' Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) processes was in itself a breach of the FMFIA and a reportable condition. Moreover, the fact that such a large circle of management was aware of the non-compliance issue and did little to address it calls into question the general state of the management environment which permitted this to happen.''
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In addition to highlighting the need for and the benefits of this legislation, I would also like to use the opportunity afforded by this hearing to point out several provisions which the F.O.P. believes should be amended during the future markup of H.R. 307. First, as you will recall, the bill ran into difficulty last year with several Federal law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice over their concern that the bill could be construed to alter their authority to provide security to a number of Federal buildings throughout the country. For example, the U.S. Marshals service was concerned about a possible conflict with their authority to provide security to the judiciary in those Federal courts located in facilities under the control of the Administrator of GSA. In order to speed passage of this legislation, we recommend that the language of current Section 106 be amended to ensure that nothing in the bill will affect the existing authority or jurisdiction of any other law enforcement agency of the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury.
Secondly is the issue of the ''Contract Cost'' study required under Section 109 of H.R. 307an extremely important issue to the rank and file officers of the Federal Protective Service and to our membership. With the main purpose of this bill being the reestablishment of the Federal Protective Service as an elite Federal law enforcement agency, the effect of this section if enacted into law would be the exact opposite. It is our hope that through passage of this bill, the agency will be able to increase their ranks with qualified Federal law enforcement officers above and beyond the current requirements of H.R. 307. Therefore, our main concern is that this section would give GSA and PBS administrators the hard data they need to justify not increasing the number of uniformed law enforcement officers above the 730-officer requirement of Section 108 in the name of cost savings.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, we do not believe that there is any study which could ever be conducted which would adequately reflect the costs and benefits of maintaining a fulltime force of fully trained and sworn law enforcement officers as opposed to contract security guards. The dangers of contracting out law enforcement and security services far outweigh any perceived benefit or cost savings. As I mentioned before, private security guards are not required to undergo the same rigorous training and do not possess the minimum skills necessary to serve as full time police officers. Furthermore, while the main concern of any police officer is the preservation of the peace and public safety, private contractors are always driven by the bottom line. For these and many other reasons, we request the Subcommittee's assistance in deleting the ''Contract Cost'' study from Section 109 of the legislation.
Finally, is the issue of pay and benefits under current law. One of the reasons that the FPS has been unable to obtain a better pay and benefits package in the past has been as a result of existing Title 40, Section 318 which states, ''the Administrator of General Services, or officials of the General Services Administration duly authorized by the Administrator, may appoint uniformed guards of such Administration as special policemen without additional compensation for duty in connection with the policing of all buildings and areas owned or occupied by the United States and under the charge and control of the Administrator.'' Therefore, we request that the proper amendment be made to H.R. 307 to delete the phrase ''without additional compensation'' from current law under 40 U.S.C. 318(a).
The legislation which is before the Subcommittee again this year is an issue of the utmost concern to the Fraternal Order of Police and the officers of the Federal Protective Service. We continue to view H.R. 307 as an officer safety issue, supported by law enforcement professionals who take a great deal of pride in the work they do and the agency they work for. As a Federal Protective Service Police Officer, I believe that the safety of Federal employees and the security of the facilities which they occupy are of vital concern to our national security; and that H.R. 307 is the best solution for the issues which I have outlined for you here today. We hope that the Subcommittee will move forward with this legislation as soon as possible, and we look forward to working with the Members of the Subcommittee to ensure House passage of this legislation prior to the end of the current Session. On behalf of National President Young, the F.O.P. wishes to thank you again Mr. Chairman for your continuing work to strengthen the Federal Protective Service and your commitment to America's Federal, State and local law enforcement officers.
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I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Statement by Robert Byrd, American Federation of Government Employees (AFLCIO)
Good Morning Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Costello, and members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Robert Byrd, and I am a Federal Protective Service (FPS) Police Officer from Washington, D.C. and a member and representative of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). I am here today on behalf of Mr. Bobby L. Harnage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employeesthe nation's largest federal employee unionto testify about the pressing need to improve federal building security. This issue is of the utmost importance to members of this committee, FPS officers, federal employees, and the millions of Americans who visit federal buildings every day.
AFGE, which represents more than 600,000 federal employees strongly, supports H.R. 307, ''The Federal Protective Service Reform Act,'' introduced by Representative Traficant. Mr. Chairman, you and your staff are to be commended for holding today's hearing. As you may know AFGE has a special interest in this matter. Not only is AFGE the largest government employee organization in the nation but also it represents the majority of the FPS work force. AFGE offers special thanks to Representative James A. Traficant and his staff who introduced this legislation and has fought tirelessly for its passage since the 105th congress.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The goal of ''The Federal Protective Service Reform Act'' is simple: To rebuild the FPS into an elite federal law enforcement agency with a well trained, professionally led, and highly motivated cadre of officers. We believe that it correctly addresses the current problems within the FPS, namely the status of FPS within the General Services Administration (GSA), unclear lines of authority and jurisdiction, and non-competitive salary and benefits for our officers. Additionally this legislation addresses the issue of federal childcare facility programs and operations. AFGE supports these childcare operational proposals of H.R. 307.
First, H.R. 307 will establish the FPS as a separate operating entity within the GSA and properly establish statutory guidelines for the agency. Under current law, the FPS operates under the Public Buildings Service (PBS) of the GSA, and although Title 40 sec. 318 of the U.S. Code gives the GSA Administrator the authority to appoint ''special police officers'' and investigators, there is no statutory requirement to have a Federal Protective Service. The issue of elevation of FPS is a critical component of H.R. 307, and section six ensures that the mission of FPS is fulfilled by a professional management staff and that accountability is maintained. It will also ensure that human resources and funding provided to the agency will be utilized effectively and as intended by Congress.
Second, H.R. 307 will firmly establish the authority and jurisdiction of the Federal Protective Service officers. Since its enactment over fifty years, the pattern of crime and the threats to federal buildings and their occupants has grown exponentially, contrary to the crime reports of the Public Buildings Service. The reason this is not more well known is due to an unreliable data collection system and the numerous federal buildings where local authorities respond to calls for service because of the high number of contract security guards responsible for building security. Many of those local police reports are never reported to GSA, which creates a false impression, that crime rates are low. In addition, under current statue sidewalks, parking lots and streets surrounding the majority of our properties are outside of the jurisdiction of the FPS, and our police officers are virtually powerless to respond to situations outside of the physical building structure.
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Currently, the majority of FPS law enforcement personnel are deployed across the nation in twenty-three core cities and satellite locations with responsibility for security at over 8,200 Federal buildings. Many of those cities have crime rates which impact federal buildings and their occupants. In the last two-years FPS has begun expanding its presence in other locations across the nation with its newly established ''series 080 Law Enforcement Security Officer'' positions. While these positions have expanded our presence to previously underserved areas, they do not increase the overall manpower of the Federal Protective Service. The security of Federal Buildings is not a luxury or an option, but with the current authority in place, FPS capabilities are not sufficient in deterring crime and terrorists acts.
As an FPS Police Officer, I believe that a major change needs to be made within the General Services Administration culture to make the securing of these buildings a real priority. If enacted, the legislation before this committee will correct the ineffective provisions of Title 40, section 318 and Congress will ensure that GSA fulfills its obligation to protect America's Federal Buildings and its employees.
This leads me to the third problem, which will be solved by enactment of the ''Federal Protective Service Reform Act'' i.e., appropriate staffing levels and the current problems with recruitment and retention of qualified law enforcement officers.
As you know, GSA used the 1998 Treasury-Postal Service and General Government appropriations bill to secure the repeal of section 10 of Public Law 100400 by which the Congress required the agency to increase the number of Federal Police Officers (FPOs) to ensure that the agency maintained an annual average of not less than 1000 fulltime equivalent (FTE) positions. Congress imposed this requirement in 1988 because of a concern that FPS was insufficiently staffed to meet its important responsibilities. In the intervening years, the world has become more dangerous and the threats to federal facilities have grown in both frequency and intensity.
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Unfortunately, the history of this requirement is essentially one of GSA's defiance. The growing inability of GSA to adequately protect federal facilities may explain why many agencies are opting out of the agency's network for protection purposes. Those agencies taking a do it themselves approach, rather than rely on GSA, include the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration and the United States Marshals Service.
HR 307 requires the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to survey the pay and benefits of all federal police forces to determine whether any disparities exist that are not commensurate with differences in duties or working conditions. The problems of pay and benefits are critical issues to any work force especially that of law enforcement. Unfortunately the federal employment system administered through the Office of Personnel Management continually refuses to objectively provide for fair compensation and equal benefits to all 083 series police officers.
AFGE appreciates this provision but feels that additional studies are not needed. Previous versions of this legislation provided for relief by authorizing the Administrator of GSA to establish a compensation and benefits package equal to that of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division and the United States Capitol Police. That provision was removed due to objections from another House Committee. The Congressional Budget Office reviewed those pay proposals and rated it as achievable within FPS budget resources.
Several counterpart law enforcement organizations such as the United States Park Police, United States Secret Service Uniformed Division and the United States Capitol Police share an equal level of responsibility but also receive an enhanced level of pay and retirement for their work. While the officers of those departments perform a vital mission to the nation, they do not physically perform the volume of criminal investigations and police patrols that FPS Officers perform. With that being said, FPS police officers are a vital part of the national security network for protection of federal employees, facilities and other national resources. OPM recognizes those other organizations as law enforcement agencies but FPS is not recognized despite their primarily identical functions and training.
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The majority of all FPS police officers are mobile, which means' that the majority of our officers operate in multiple geographic jurisdictions across the nation. None of the points addressed above should in any way be construed as lessening the importance of the services provided by the other counterpart organizations. The bottom line is that the men and women of the Federal Protective Service deserve improved compensation and retirement benefits.
AFGE has grave reservations regarding section 9 (Employment Standards and Training) of H.R. 307. This section is very general and invites several questions. AFGE opposes contracting of the police function to non-governmental entities and individuals. We would like to discuss our concerns further, including but not limited to the timing and type of any cost analysis of security personnel supply contracts.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, let me again express the gratitude of the American Federation of Government Employees for allowing us the opportunity to appear before you today. I hope that the testimony I have given has provided this committee with a clear view of the issues at hand, and the importance of passing H.R. 307, the ''Federal Protective Service Reform Act'' during this Congress. As a Federal Protective Service police officer, I believe that the safety of Federal employees and the institutions which they occupy are of vital concern to the national security of the United States. H.R. 307 is the best solution to the issues I have outlined for you here today. AFGE hopes that support for this legislation will be bipartisan, and we are eager to work with both parties of this Committee to ensure enactment.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me the opportunity to address you this morning. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have at this time.
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Statement of Hon. Jerry Costello
Thank you, Chairman LaTourette for scheduling this hearing on H.R. 307, a bill to amend the Act of June 1, 1948 to enhance safety and security on our federal buildings. As a former law enforcement official, I am well aware of the importance and the risks involved in ensuring the public safety. I know this subcommittee has been keenly interested in the subject of building security and has worked with the General Services Administration (GSA) for many years to upgrade the level of security in public buildings as well as elevate the position of the Federal Protective Service (FPS).
During the 106th Congress the subcommittee favorably reported H.R. 809, the predecessor bill to H.R. 307. The House passed the bill on June 27, 2000. Also, in the 105th Mr. Traficant introduced H.R. 4034, a bill to enhance security in federal buildings and the subcommittee held hearings on that bill on October 2, 1998. In addition, the subcommittee has held numerous hearings on the subject. It is clearly evident the subcommittee is committed to the federal building security program and its oversight responsibilities regarding this matter.
Mr. Chairman, after the Senate hearings on H.R. 809, the Commissioner of PBS agreed to issue a GSA administrative order that would grant line authority to the head of the FPS rather than allowing line authority to be granted by statute, as envisioned in H.R. 809. The subcommittee views the issue of line authority as being integral to a well functioning security force, and supported granting the authority by statute. The subcommittee believed security service would not only improve but also make the FPS more directly accountable to client agencies. However, the 106th Congress ended before the subcommittee could negotiate with the Senate over how best to implement line authority. I will be very interested in hearing how well line authority granted by administrative order has worked.
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Another issue that has received considerable attention is the contract guard issue. Controversy and questions have swirled around how well are contract guards trained and prepared. While they may be less expensive to employ, do they perform their jobs as well as noncontracted employees? Secondly, do we have the information needed to show that they are in fact less expensive?
Mr. Chairman, we have seen some improvement in the overall management of the FPS. After throwing millions of dollars at security problems since the Oklahoma City bombing I believe the PBS now also recognizes that management also plays an essential role in providing state of the art security for our federal assets. I am pleased at the professional credentials of Mr. Richard Yamamoto and certainly wish him well in his new position. As the trained security professional we must rely on his expertise and experience.
I look forward to hearing from all our witnesses this morning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Statement of F. Joseph Moravec Commissioner of Public Buildings Service U.S. General Services Administration
Good morning Mr. Chairman, and members of the Subcommittee. I am Joseph Moravec, Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service. Thank you for the opportunity to update you on our progress in improving security in GSA-owned and leased facilities and to express our position regarding H.R. 307. H.R. 307 was introduced January 30, 2001, to provide for the reform of the Federal Protective Service, and to enhance the safety of Federal employees, the public and children enrolled in childcare facilities located in facilities under GSA control.
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Former PBS Commissioner Robert Peck last spoke to this Committee regarding H.R. 809, the predecessor to H.R. 307, on September 28, 2000. A significant proposal in H.R. 809, the establishment of the FPS as a separate service from the PBS, did not have support from GSA nor the Senate. The principal reason we at GSA continue to oppose H.R. 307's proposal to make FPS a separate service within our Agency is that it would divorce security from other Federal facility functions when the opposite needs to be done. Security needs to be tightly integrated into decisions about the location, design and operation of Federal facilities. Divorcing FPS would create an organizational barrier between protection experts and the PBS asset managers, planners, project managers and facility managers who set PBS budgets and policies for our inventory as a whole and who oversee the daily operations in our facilities.
The security we provide is financed out of rent revenues collected by PBS from our tenants who look directly to PBS for responses to their security needs. A separate GSA security service would lead to confusion about who is responsible for what in GSA's security efforts. It is also contrary to agency efforts to present our customers with a seamless GSA, capable of offering more integrated workplace solutions.
Following the September 2000 testimony by Commissioner Peck, the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee recommended the establishment of direct line authority within PBS. The Administrator subsequently approved and issued GSA Orders ADM 5440.548 and ADM 5450.137, effective November 17, 2000, that reorganized the FPS and reassigned the reporting authority of FPS Regional Directors from the PBS Assistant Regional Administrators to the FPS Assistant Commissioner in the Central Office.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Under direct line authority, PBS has made substantial strides in fulfilling our mission to reduce the threat to Federal facilities under GSA control nationwide. The FPS budget, personnel actions and operational focus have been centralized to yield results better than that which could be obtained by establishing a separate competing service. All FPS Regional Directors now report to the FPS Assistant Commissioner in the Central Office. The FPS Assistant Commissioner reports to the PBS Commissioner who reports to the Administrator.
Leading the Federal Protective Service is Acting Assistant Commissioner Richard Yamamoto. Mr. Yamamoto is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with over 20 years law enforcement experience in the U.S. Army. He also spent seven years coordinating joint Federal, State, and local law enforcement activities through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Mr. Yamamoto exemplifies the core competencies we desire of all our operational management personnel within FPS. Not only does Mr. Yamamoto possess extensive law enforcement and security skills, he also has been designated as a certified protection professionalone of the premier accomplishments in the field of security. Within FPS, we are developing and requiring both law enforcement and security core competencies for all of our operational managers. While many of our current managers have Federal, military or local police training and experience, those who do not have law enforcement training will be sent to the Leadership Academy Law Enforcement Course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, to attain these necessary skills. This course provides the same essential core elements of the courses taught in the FPS Mixed Basic Police Training Program with identical examinations and standards including the full firearm qualification course and test.
Specifically addressing the proposal in H.R. 307 that there be at least 730 full-time equivalent FPS Police Officers, we believe that FTE levels should be based not on an arbitrary number set forth in legislation, but rather on the threat that may vary from time to time. FPS regularly conducts individual facility security surveys and Regional Threat Assessments to determine the threat to Federal facilities. FTE requirements are based upon these threat assessments. Currently, our planning anticipates that current levels should be adjusted for FY02 and FY03 to enable FPS to achieve a more desirable mix of operational personnel. The FY03 FTE targets have been constructed to support an anticipated need for 408 Federal Protective Police Officers and 323 Law Enforcement and Security Officers, for a total of 731 uniformed positions. Specifically, we are increasing the number of our criminal investigators and uniformed Law Enforcement Security Officers (LESO) who have both law enforcement and security competencies.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC FPS has made great strides in reducing the threat to Federal facilities, tenants, visitors and their property. We are actively implementing many initiatives to identify and decrease threats through individual facility security assessments and the Regional Threat Assessment Program. Relying on this information, we have refined our requirements, coordinated more effectively with other law enforcement agencies, improved our training, and positioned ourselves to measure our expected outcome of reducing the threat.
We at GSA have no more important responsibility than providing for the security of the tenants and visitors in our facilities and are continually striving to enhance our protection services. I thank the Subcommittee for this opportunity to discuss our promising new security initiatives at GSA facilities. This concludes my prepared statement. I am pleased to answer any questions you should have.
Statement of Hon. James Oberstar
Thank you Chairman LaTourette for holding this hearing. As part of our oversight responsibilities on this Committee we work with the General Services Administration (GSA) to ensure a safe and healthy workplace not only for the employees who use that space but also for the visitors who use federal facilities. The matter of building security is of the utmost importance to this committee. I believe we have had at least one hearing in every Congress for almost a decade on building security. Millions of dollars are involved and the cost of injured or lost human live is incalculable.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During the 106th Congress the committee reported a bill, H.R. 809, to establish the Federal Protective Service as a separate entity within the GSA. We believed that separation would ensure more accountability, and provide better service. However, I understand GSA's position is that the agency continues to object to FPS autonomy, fearing that separating FPS from PBS would ''divorce security'' from federal facilities and create an organizational barrier between protection experts and PBS asset managers.
During the Senate hearing on H.R. 809 the GSA agreed to establish line authority by a GSA administrative order rather than through statute. Two administrative orders were signed in November 2000 that delegated to the head of the FPS all authorities pertaining to the safety and security of employees and buildings presently delegated to the regional administrators, and set up the reporting chain from FPS division directors directly to the head of FPS in central office.
One reason why the hearing this morning is important is that we can learn and evaluate how well this arrangement has been working and then, if necessary, adjust the legislation accordingly. The Committee does not expect mere ''lip service'' on the notion of line authority. We expect FPS managers to be fully in control of their personnel, their programs, and their budgetsanything less may jeopardize security in federal buildings.
Another issue, which the Committee has extensively reviewed, involves use of contract guards in federal buildings. While we all acknowledge the budget realities of conducting the government's business serious concerns have been raised about the quality of the guard service. How are contract standards being set? Who is setting the standardtrained law enforcement professionals or a real estate specialist? Who is monitoring these contracts, and most importantly, are they really more cost effective than having federal employees in uniform?
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We are here this morning to receive testimony about these issues as they are contained in H.R. 307. It is important we bring closure to the debate about autonomy, contract guards, expanded authority and employment credentials.
Thank you again, Chairman LaTourette for arranging this hearing.
Statement of Hon. James A. Traficant, Jr.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Costello and Members of the Subcommittee.
I am making this statement in support of my Bill H.R. 307, The Federal Protective Service Reform Act of 2001. I have offered this legislation to correct serious deficiencies within GSA that threaten the lives of Americans across the nation.
When the Murrah Federal Building was attacked in 1995 it was done so after careful planning that used the holes in the federal security net to allow the massive destruction and loss of life that we have witnessed and has touched all Americans.
Sadly, there are others like Timothy McVeigh who would perpetrate another such crime, in fact my office regularly shares leads on possible terrorist activities with the law enforcement community. Those who helped Timothy McVeigh and are still at large would no doubt help another madman or would themselves inflict massive pain and suffering on more people with little thought or conscience.
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Also, sadly GSA, through the Public Building Service (PBS) and its Federal Protective Service, are as ill-equipped and ill-managed to prevent such a tragedy today as they were now some six years ago.
The numbers of well-trained and motivated Police Officers has been allowed to dwindle just as it did in 1995. Morale within the Federal Protective Service is at an all-time low and good, experienced officers are leaving the system out of disgust.
It is time to change the system before more Americans have to pay for this mismanagement and negligence with their own blood.
In 1994 a memo was circulated within GSA warning of problems that could occur if the number of Police Officers continued to drop. GSA ignored this warning then and they are ignoring the safety of the American Public now.
Recent actions by those within the leadership of the Federal Protective Service and the Public Building Service have shown a total disregard for sound law enforcement principles, oversight by Congress and the very regulations that are supposed to be the guidelines for operation of the Federal Protective Service.
The Federal Protective Service recently initiated a condensed leadership-training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. This program was designed to give Law Enforcement credentials to Public Building Service personnel who had no real meaningful law enforcement experience. The goal I believe was to credential persons who were already in management positions that they were not suited for, in an attempt to make the Federal Protective Service look more like a professional law enforcement organization.
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We are handing out guns and badges to people who have never spent time on the street in critical situations and giving them control over the system, literally placing life and death in their hands.
This program violates the Federal Protective Service guidelines and regulations. Moreover when I learned of this program I made inquiries, only to be stonewalled. Federal Protective Service management claimed that the program had been designed and endorsed by FLETC.
FLETC on the other hand told my staff that it was the Federal Protective Service management that had requested the course and had designed the synopsis from a selection of regular courses offered at FLETC.
The last time I checked, lying to Congress was a felony and a system that has this much total disregard for the rule of law, its own regulations and Congressional oversight is one that should be changed as soon as possible before more innocent people die from neglect.
This is the same system, the same managers that ignored Public Law 100440, violated it by reducing the federal police force size to only 40% of what was mandated on April 19, 1995, when a complete lack of security allowed Timothy McVeigh and others to kill 168 innocent Americans with impunity.
Timothy McVeigh has been put to death for this crime, yet GSA has not been held to answer for their willful violation of the Law, which was a factor in the original planning and carrying out of the bombing.
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In the aftermath of the tragedy of the bombing GAO found a disturbing and massive pattern of falsifying installation records of security upgrades on the part of PBS. Countermeasures such as x-ray scanners and metal detectors were carried on the books as installed and operational when in reality they were found by GAO auditors to be sitting in a warehouse in Washington while the warranties were expiring.
H.R. 307 addresses these problems by re-establishing the Federal Protective Service within GSA and requiring that competent and seasoned Law Enforcement Management veterans lead it.
H.R. 307 is supported by every major Law Enforcement Organization in the United States, it is supported by the labor unions who represent the employees in the facilities that are under the charge of the Federal Protective Service.
H.R. 307 is not supported by the leadership of the Public Building Service in part because it would eliminate the ability of that leadership to access and spend funds designated to be spent on legitimate security and law enforcement needs on other things.
H.R. 307 would eliminate the shortsighted firing of officers such as happened in New York City last year. While Osama bin Laden and company were threatening sites in New York, the Federal Protective Service cut the number of officers in half. Now the taxpayers are buying airline tickets and hotel rooms for officers who must be sent in on temporary details in order to bolster the weakness of the force in New York City. One of these officers will be testifying here today.
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H.R. 307 needs to proceed through to passage in the House and Senate without delay. The lives of innocent Americans are far too important to play politics or semantic games with. Domestic terrorism is far too dangerous and the human cost too high for second chances.
As it is currently organized the Federal Protective Service cannot effectively fulfill its law enforcement mission and it is not in any sense the security advocate that it needs to be for the millions of Americans who work in and visit Federal facilities everyday.
I urge you to move this legislation and help it along with all diligence for the sake of the living and most importantly out of respect for, and in memory of, those innocent victims who paid for our carelessness with their lives.
Statement of Judge Jane R. Roth, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: I appreciate the opportunity to submit this written statement about the Federal Protective Service Reform Act, H.R. 307. I wish to convey the views of the Judicial Conference of the United States on the bill.(see footnote 1) If Congress continues to pursue H.R. 307, the Judicial Conference respectfully requests that the House amend the bill to maintain the current roles of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) for providing protection to the judiciary.
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Under 28 U.S.C. §566, security for the federal judiciary is the responsibility of the USMS. However, prior to 1982, the GSA and the USMS shared responsibility for security inside of courthouses. Under this system, security in the courts diminished to a point considered completely inadequate. In 1982, the Chief Justice and Attorney General agreed that the USMS should have responsibility for court security. Under an agreement between the Attorney General and the Administrator of GSA, the Attorney General assumed the authority to contract for guards to provide for security and protective services in federal courthouses. The USMS then became responsible for all the security inside courthouses and the GSA became responsible only for perimeter security.
Security inside courthouses was greatly improved after the responsibility for providing it was delegated to a single agency. The judiciary is concerned that H.R. 307 could be construed to give GSA, instead of the USMS, the authority for security inside courthouses. The judiciary wants to ensure that responsibility for security inside of federal court facilities will remain with the USMS.
Two sections of the bill as drafted are problematic for the judiciary. Section 106 of the bill could usurp or infringe upon the role of the USMS in providing security for the federal judiciary, especially considering that a specific exemption is given to the United States Secret Service, but not to the USMS. Section 106 establishes a Commissioner of the FPS who would: ''except as otherwise provided by law, serve as the law enforcement officer and security official of the United States with respect to the protection of Federal officers and employees in buildings and areas that are owned or occupied by the United States and under the charge and control of the Administrator (other than buildings and areas that are secured by the United States Secret Service).''
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Section 106 further specifically exempts the Secret Service as follows: ''Nothing in this subsection may be construed to supersede or otherwise affect the duties and responsibilities of the United States Secret Service * * *''
Any exemptions provided for the Secret Service in the bill must also be provided for the USMS to ensure that current security agreements remain intact.
Section 109 of the bill could change the responsibility for contract guard employment standards. Currently, the USMS contracts for court security officers in court space and uses USMS standards of suitability for employment. Section 109 of the current bill would require the Commissioner of the FPS to: ''prescribe minimum standards of suitability for employment to be applied in the contracting of security personnel for buildings and areas that are owned or occupied by the United States and under the control and charge of the Administrator of General Services.''
To address these concerns about sections 106 and 109, the Conference at its March, 2000 meeting, adopted a position to seek an amendment as follows: ''None of the provisions of this Act shall be construed to interfere with, supercede, or otherwise affect the authority of the United States Marshals Service to provide security for the federal judiciary pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §566.''
This amendment is necessary to clarify that sections 106 and 109 of the bill do not change the responsibility of the USMS to provide for all security inside of federal court facilities and to set appropriate standards for court security officers. Report language, such as that included by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in its report on H.R. 809, the version of this bill in the 106th Congress, is not sufficient. That report language stated, ''This legislation enhances the FPS, and has no impact on the facilities secured by the Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Marshals Service.'' Such report language is non-binding. The judiciary remains concerned that it could be argued that the bill itself changes the agency responsible for court security. This is especially true since the bill explicitly exempts the Secret Service but not the USMS. To ensure that there is no impact on the USMS, clarification should be provided by amending the bill itself rather than through report language.
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In summary, the judiciary is concerned that H.R. 307 could infringe upon the responsibility of the USMS to provide court security. The amendment suggested by the Judicial Conference would not substantially change the legislation but would simply preserve the current assignment of responsibility for court security. I therefore urge the Subcommittee to amend H.R. 307 as requested by the Judicial Conference.
Hon. STEVEN C. LATOURETTE, CHAIRMAN,
|Fraternal Order of Police,|
|Washington, DC, September 21, 2001.|
Subcommittee on Public Buildings & Economic Development, Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I am writing on behalf of the more than 297,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police to thank you for holding the 6 September hearing on H.R. 307, the ''Federal Protective Service Reform Act,'' and to request that the Subcommittee markup H.R. 307 at the earliest possible opportunity.
I also hope to clarify our position with regard to the ''contract cost'' study authorized by Section 109(a)(1) of the legislation. As evidenced by our testimony before your Subcommittee, passage of this legislation is a priority for our organization; however, we continue to be concerned about the possible ramifications of enacting this provision of the bill into law,
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Section 109(a)(1) authorizes the head of FPS to conduct a region by region analysis to compare the cost effectiveness of contract security guards with FPS police officers. First, this provision is unnecessary given that FPS does not require statutory authorization to conduct such a studyand may already have the information to be provided by the analysis readily available. Furthermore, given the data contained in numerous internal and external reviews of the contract guard program, and GSA's yearly disregard for the provisions fast enacted as part of Public Law 100440, it is highly unlikely that such an analysis, conducted by the agency, would provide any clear or useful information. In fact, it would probably only serve as an opportunity for GSA officials to justify why the number of contract guards has been allowed to increase dramatically, while the number of full-time police officers has declined.
Second, and perhaps unfortunately, the benefits of providing highly trained and qualified law enforcement officers to protect and serve the citizens of this nation does not easily lend itself to such a simple analysis. It has appeared to many both inside and outside the agency that the cost of providing this law enforcement service continues to be the driving force behind GSA's decision-making processes. The primary benefit of H.R. 307 is to de-emphasize the importance of cost when considering the allocation of personnel and resources to ensure to the greatest possible extent the safety and security of Federal employees and facilities. Section 109 is contradictory to that goal.
Finally, what of the results of such a survey? Suppose in any given region, the analysis concludes that it is more cost effective to use FPS employees: is that conclusion drawn from the current number of FPS officers in that region, or the region's authorized number of police officers? Is the current number of officers sufficient to counter any existing or future threat to public safety (especially in light of the fact that FPS is understaffed across the country)? Regardless of the impact on public safety, at what point does it become more cost effective for the agency to use contract security guards, and is FPS to be the sole judge? In the end, Mr. Chairman, Section 109(a)(1) creates more questions than it would answer.
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On behalf of the membership of the Fraternal Order of Police, I would like to thank you for your efforts on this important issue. The Fraternal Order of Police stands ready to work with you and other members of the Subcommittee regarding our concerns to ensure prompt house passage of this legislation.
Please do not hesitate to contact me, or Executive Director Jim Pasco, if we can provide you with any additional information.
|Steve Young, |
(Footnote 1 return)
The Judicial Conference is the judiciary's policy-making body.