The CBP Push For Border Patrol Conversion to LEAP

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On February 8, 2011, representatives from AFGE-NBPC Local 2366 met with staff from both Senators for the state of Texas to express their concern about the possible conversion from the current Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) system employed by the Border Patrol to a corrupted version of Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP).

The representatives addressed other pertinent concerns, including Improved Border Security, proposed changes to the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Plan and the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). However, for the sake of brevity, we will save these issues for a later discussion and focus solely on the AUO conversion to LEAP.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to peruse the proposal to convert the overtime pay system, please click here. This is a copy of the October 21, 2010, proposal to move Border Patrol Agents to the LEAP system. The money lost from your salary may amount to as much as $7,000 per year — that’s for a GS 12-1 agent who maintains an average of 20 hours of AUO per pay-period and receives FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act). That means that agent will make $86,011 per year pay versus $92,661 dollars per year, regardless of how many overtime hours that agent works. Click here to view a chart that breaks down the yearly dollar amounts.

To be clear, while the October 21 proposal promises to save up to $110 million dollars, that money is not going to be removed from CBP’s budget. The proposal is not a misguided effort on the part of CBP to be fiscally responsible. Instead, it will be used for a variety of other measures which CBP feels are more important than Border Patrol Agent compensation. According to the October 21 proposal, the money removed from a Border Patrol Agent’s Salary will be spent on, among other things, the following:

  • $24.9 million: To compensate all GS-5 through GS-9 CBP Officers under the Office of Personnel Management’s Law Enforcement Officer Special Salary Rate tables. This comes as a result of being designated as Law Enforcement Officers for pay and retirement purposes.
  • $11.2 million: To convert Office of Field Operations GS-14 and GS-15 managers from the Customs Officer Pay Reform Act to Law Enforcement Availability Pay. This would allow these managers to go home after eight hours and be paid an additional amount for being available to respond to phone call and rare call-outs.
  • $3.3 million: For converting Office of Air and Marine employees from AUO to LEAP. Some of them are not currently receiving the maximum 25 percent under AUO, but they would receive 25 percent under LEAP.
  • $2.3 million: For a TEMPORARY four percent Special Salary Rate for Border Patrol canine handlers that would expire when their salaries match their AUO and FLSA earnings at the time they are converted to LEAP.
  • $68.4 million: For miscellaneous agency expenses.

Since the October 21 proposal was issued, there have been a number of misconceptions that Local 2366 has been made aware of regarding transitioning to LEAP. According to the proposal:

  • Border Patrol Agents will be required to work a ten-hour shift to be LEAP certified.
  • They will receive the same 25 percent increase (without FLSA) as they would if they were maintaining a balance of 20 AUO hours per pay-period.
  • Border Patrol Agents will receive NO additional compensation if they stay additional hours, are called in after work, or called in on their scheduled days off.

There is no fiscal or other advantage to Border Patrol Agents by moving to the proposed LEAP system.

Local 2366 urges you to contact your Congressperson as soon as possible. To that end, we have included a sample letter below that you can use to contact your designated Congressperson. Simply fill out your name in the appropriate field, include your duty station and home address, copy, and then paste into their contact pages on their websites, listed below. You are also encouraged to write your own letters to your Congressperson.

Let your government know how you feel about this problem before it is too late.

Sample letter:

My name is _______________ and I am an employee of the United States Border Patrol working at the __________________ Texas Station. I have recently been made aware of efforts to substantially reduce the pay of Border Patrol Agents and feel that the conversion of Border Patrol Agents from the Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) to the Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) System is unwarranted.

Every day, Border Patrol Agents along America’s border put their lives on the line to keep our nation safe. They deserve the pay that they receive and any reduction in their pay is an insult to the efforts and sacrifices of the men and women of the Border Patrol.



Congressperson contact pages: