Is OBP lying about the budget?

On February 20, 2013, The Office of Border Patrol (OBP) presented their plan for sequestration, along with other possible budgetary decisions to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). Budgetary information, including plans under another Continuing Resolution, was also discussed.  Of most interest to NBPC was the apparent glaring contradiction presented to the council members involving the proportion of the budget spent on Salaries and “Expenses. “  Previously, OBP had proclaimed that most of our budgetary problems were the result of 90% of the budget being devoted to payroll.  Based upon the information recently presented by OBP to NBPC, this could not be further from the truth.

OBP informed NBPC that “Salaries and Benefits” for BP Agents, Customs and Border Patrol Officers, and Air and Marine Interdiction Agents accounted for 40.5% of the total budget in FY2009 for Salaries and “Expenses” and 55.6%  of the budget for Salaries and “Expenses” in the FY2013 Financial Plan.  Even if we add in the budget totals for “All Other Positions”, which was described as constituting 16.8% of the budget in FY2013, the resulting total is only 72.4% devoted to payroll of all classes of employees.  This is a far cry from the 90% that was proclaimed by Chief Patrol Agent Michael Fisher and other management representatives in past conversations.  OBP then attempted to explain what constitutes “Expenses”. “Expenses” are made up of Program/Project Activities (PPAs).  OBP gave NBPC four examples of PPAs.  They were: Border Security Control, Rent, Inspections Trade and Travel Facilitation, and Systems for Targeting. While four examples were given, NBPC was assured that there were many more.  While there may be “many more” PPAs, their purpose, and cost were not disclosed at this time. Their proportion to the general Salaries and Expenses budget was also not revealed to NBPC during the budget discussion.

Local 2366 feels that this all amounts to a purposeful effort to deceive the NBPC, the employees we represent, and our supporters.  This variance in the money allocated for employee pay and “expenses” leads us to ask whether the payroll percentage has been inflated in recent presentations by OBP to convince workers that payroll cuts are unavoidable.  Kind of like, “We are sorry guys, but we must cut your salaries to maintain a controllable budget. There is no other option available.”  It appears that OBP is playing fast and loose with budgetary figures in order to take advantage of this crisis to strip Border Patrol Agents of their hard earned compensation.  The 90% percent figure is one that has been trotted out tirelessly by OBP since October 2012 to justify the severe and unfair cuts in pay planned for Border Patrol Agents and their families regardless.  First, the inflated percentage was used as a justification for restricting AUO.  Now we are hearing this same, disputable information in relation to sequestration.  Ask yourself, are you and your families facing a 40 percent pay-cut, and are our borders being jeopardized because of this misinformation by OBP management?