7 May 2008
The Honorable David Price
Subcommittee on Homeland Security
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Price,
I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our concern regarding unilateral and unfair treatment of United States Secret Service (USSS) Agents and Officers with respect to retirement programs. It is important that we resolve this issue in a timely and efficient manor as many of these Agents and Officers can retire now or will be able to in the near future.
From 1 January 1984 to 31 December 1986 around 200 USSS Agents and Officers were hired. Special Agents were covered under the Federal Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) while the Officers were covered under the District of Columbia Police and Fire Retirement Plan (DC Metro). Then in 1987 the Agents and Officers were advised that they would be removed from both systems and placed in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).
This new system is troubling to these Agents and Officers and has a direct impact on their retirement. Annuities received under FERS are much less than what was offered under CSRS or DC Metro. Under FERS employees pay into the Social Security system and receive benefits. Agents and Officers hired under the original systems were not part of the Social Security system.
Attempts have been made to correct the problem through the judicial system. However, Agents and Officers are now being told they will have to go through the OPM and MSPB process before the judicial review process continues. This process could take years and greatly reduces the odds that these Agents and Officers will stay in public service beyond the 20 years needed for them to being collecting their pension.
As you begin working on the FY 2009 Homeland Security Appropriations bill I ask that you take this opportunity to resolve the problem. Many of these employees prefer to stay with the agency and continue to carry out their government service. However, this decision is difficult given the reduction in their pension benefit due to FERS. We can not afford to loose these highly qualified and motivated individuals.
On behalf of the more than 325,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, of whom more than 25,000 are Federal Officers, I want to thank you for all of your help on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me, or Executive Director Jim Pasco, through our Washington office if we can be of any further assistance.