GAO Reports Findings on New Border Patrol Pay Scale
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report that examined the methodology and analysis by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014 (BPAPRA), which established a new overtime compensation system for Border Patrol agents at CBP: 0, 1, or 2 hours of overtime per day, with a corresponding overtime pay supplement of 0, 12.5, or 25 percent, respectively.
The GAO identified several caveats in the report, including the reliance on agent hours worked in prior years and outdated data inputs.
Upon examination from GAO, they found that CBP relied on agent hours worked in prior years to establish staffing baseline levels, and their analysis was partially informed by the Manpower Requirements Determination (MRD) process – a 3 to 5-year implementation effort that started in 2014 and is intended to determine staffing requirements for each Border Patrol duty location from fiscal year 2017 on. But when the report was issued in January, Border Patrol had not identified such staffing requirements yet. Due to this limitation, the GAO found it was too early to determine the impact the MRD process will have on identifying future staffing requirements for each location and position.
GAO also found that CBP has yet to perform sensitivity or data reliability analyses on the data inputs used to develop the report’s cost assumptions and calculations, leaving these unknown.
While CBP concluded that allowing all Border Patrol agents to elect the BPAPRA Level 1 or 2 rate of pay – 1 or 2 hours of overtime per day with a corresponding 12.5 or 25 percent overtime pay – will result in overall cost savings and greater operational flexibility, GAO stressed that updating the report’s data will be important for determining whether the conclusions reached will support future determinations of BPAPRA rates of pay.
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