oversight

Federal Law Enforcement: Selected Issues in Human Capital Management

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-07-23.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                             United States General Accounting Office

GAO                          Testimony Before the Committee on
                             Government Reform, Subcommittees on
                             Civil Service and Agency Organization and
                             Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human
                             Resources, House of Representatives
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Wednesday, July 23, 2003     FEDERAL LAW
                             ENFORCEMENT
                             Selected Issues in Human
                             Capital Management
                             Statement of Norman J. Rabkin, Managing Director,
                             Homeland Security and Justice Issues




GAO-03-1034T
    Chairwoman Jo Ann Davis, Chairman Mark Souder, and Members of the
    Subcommittees:

    Many federal agencies in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area have
    their own police forces to ensure the security and safety of the persons
    and property within and surrounding federal buildings. In the executive
    branch, for example, the Secret Service has over 1,000 uniformed officers
    protecting the White House, the Treasury Building, and other facilities
    used by the Executive Office of the President. The Interior Department’s
    Park Police consists of more than 400 officers protecting parks and
    monuments in the area. The Pentagon Force Protection Agency has
    recently increased its force to over 400 officers. Even the Health and
    Human Services Department maintains a small police force on the campus
    of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. In
    addition, there are federal uniformed police forces in both the Legislative
    and Judicial Branches of the federal government.

    After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the government’s
    subsequent efforts to increase airline security, many of these local police
    forces began experiencing difficulties in recruiting and retaining officers.
    Police force officials raised concerns that the newly created
    Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its Federal Air Marshal
    Program were luring many prospective and experienced officers by
    offering better starting pay and law enforcement retirement benefits.
    Former Congresswoman Morella asked us to look into these concerns. I
    would like to summarize the results of that review, which was published
    last month.1

•   Most forces reported experiencing recruitment difficulties. Officials at 8 of
    the 13 forces told us they experienced moderate to very great recruiting
    difficulties. Despite this, none of the 13 forces used available human
    capital flexibilities, such as recruitment bonuses or student loan
    repayments in fiscal year 2002, to try to improve their recruiting efforts.




    1
    U.S. General Accounting Office, Federal Uniformed Police: Selected Data on Pay,
    Recruitment, and Retention at 13 Police Forces in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan
    Area, GAO-03-658 (Washington, D.C.: June 13, 2003).



    Page 1                                                                  GAO-03-1034T
•   In fiscal year 2002, many of the local forces experienced sizable increases
    in turnover, mostly due to voluntary separations. About half of the officers
    who left voluntarily went to the TSA. Some of the forces provided
    retention allowances and incentive awards to try to retain more of their
    officers.

•   Entry-level pay at the 13 agencies during fiscal year 2002 ranged from
    $28,801 to $39,427, a gap that narrowed for some of the forces in fiscal
    year 2003 because officers at 12 of the 13 agencies received increased
    entry-level pay.

    However, information we have gathered since we issued our report
    indicates that turnover in most of the police forces has dropped
    significantly during fiscal year 2003. The increase in turnover that
    occurred at 12 of the 13 police forces during fiscal year 2002 appears to be
    associated with the concurrent staffing of the TSA Federal Air Marshal
    Program. TSA's hiring of air marshals during fiscal year 2003 has been
    pared back.

    To perform our work, we identified federal uniformed police forces with
    50 or more officers in the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area
    (MSA)—13 in all. We interviewed officials responsible for human capital
    issues and obtained documents on recruitment and retention issues. Using
    this information, we created a survey and distributed it to the 13 police
    forces to obtain information on entry-level pay and benefits, officer duties,
    turnover rates,2 recruiting difficulties, and the availability and use of
    human capital flexibilities to recruit and retain officers. We reviewed and
    analyzed the police forces’ responses for completeness and accuracy and
    followed-up on any missing or unclear responses with appropriate
    officials.

    Chairwoman Davis, at your request and the request of Senator Voinovich,
    we have continued to examine the transformation of 22 agencies with an
    estimated 160,000 civilian employees into the Department of Homeland
    Security (DHS). To learn from private sector mergers and acquisitions, we



    2
     To calculate the turnover rates, we divided the total number of police officers who
    separated from the police forces by the average number of officers on-board at the
    beginning of the fiscal year and the number of officers on-board at the end of the fiscal
    year. For each police force, we included as separations both those who left the police
    force, as well as those who transferred from the police officer series (GS-0083) to other job
    series within the force.



    Page 2                                                                       GAO-03-1034T
                            identified key practices and their implementation steps that can serve as a
                            basis for federal agencies, including DHS, seeking to transform their
                            cultures to be more results-oriented, customer-focused, and collaborative
                            in nature. Our report on these implementation steps is being released
                            today.3

                            Some of these steps are to

                        •   define and articulate a succinct and compelling reason for change;
                        •   identify cultural features of merging organizations to increase
                            understanding of former work environments;
                        •   adopt leading practices to implement effective performance management
                            systems with adequate safeguards; and
                        •   involve employees in planning and sharing performance information.



                            Although the specific duties police officers perform may vary among
Federal Police Forces       police forces, federal uniformed police officers are generally responsible
in Washington, D.C.         for providing security and safety to people and property within and
                            sometimes surrounding federal buildings. There are a number of federal
                            uniformed police forces operating in the Washington MSA, of which 13
                            had 50 or more officers as of September 30, 2001. Table 1 shows the 13
                            federal uniformed police forces included in our review and the number of
                            officers in each of the police forces as of September 30, 2002.




                            3
                             U.S. General Accounting Office, Results-Oriented Cultures: Implementation Steps to
                            Assist Mergers and Organizational Transformations, GAO-03-669 (Washington, D.C.: July
                            2, 2003).



                            Page 3                                                                GAO-03-1034T
Table 1: Federal Uniformed Police Forces with 50 or More Officers Stationed in the Washington MSA

                                                                                                                    Number of officers on-board
 Department                                                          Uniformed police force                           as of September 30, 2002
 Executive branch
 Department of Defense                                               Pentagon Force Protection Agency                                      259
 Department of the Interior                                          U.S. Park Police                                                      439
 Department of Justice                                               Federal Bureau of Investigation Police                                173
 Department of the Treasury                                          Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police                               120
                                                                     U.S. Mint Police                                                       52
                                                                     U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division                               1,072
 General Services Administration                                     Federal Protective Service                                            140
 Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health Police                                                               53
 U.S. Postal Service                                                 U.S. Postal Service Police                                            109
 Legislative branch
 Government Printing Office                                          Government Printing Office Police                                      52
 Library of Congress                                                 Library of Congress Police                                            129
 U.S. Capitol Police                                                 U.S. Capitol Police                                                  1,278
 Judicial branch
 Supreme Court                                                       Supreme Court Police                                                  122
 Total                                                                                                                                    3,998
Source: GAO analysis of data provided by the 13 police forces.


                                                                 The enactment of the Homeland Security Act4 on November 25, 2002, had
                                                                 consequences for federal uniformed police forces. The act, among other
                                                                 things, established a new DHS, which includes 2 uniformed police forces
                                                                 within the scope of our review—the Federal Protective Service and the
                                                                 Secret Service Uniformed Division. Another component of DHS is TSA, a
                                                                 former component of the Department of Transportation. TSA includes the
                                                                 Federal Air Marshal Service, designed to protect domestic and
                                                                 international airline flights against hijacking and terrorist attacks. During
                                                                 fiscal year 2002, the Federal Air Marshal Program increased its recruiting
                                                                 significantly in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
                                                                 However, by fiscal year 2003, the buildup had been substantially
                                                                 completed. Because Federal Air Marshals are not limited to the grade and
                                                                 pay step structure of the federal government’s General Schedule, TSA has




                                                                 4
                                                                 P.L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (2002).



                                                                 Page 4                                                           GAO-03-1034T
been able to offer recruits higher compensation and more flexible benefit
packages than many other federal police forces.

Federal uniformed police forces operate under various compensation
systems. Some federal police forces are covered by the General Schedule
pay system and others are covered by different pay systems authorized by
various laws.5 Since 1984, all new federal employees have been covered by
the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).6 Federal police forces
provide either standard federal retirement benefits or federal law
enforcement retirement benefits.7

Studies of employee retention indicate that turnover is a complex and
multifaceted problem. People leave their jobs for a variety of reasons.
Compensation is often cited as a primary reason for employee turnover.
However, nonpay factors, such as age, job tenure, job satisfaction, and job
location, may also affect individuals’ decisions to leave their jobs.

During recent years, the federal government has implemented many
human capital flexibilities to help agencies attract and retain sufficient
numbers of high-quality employees to complete their missions. Human


5
 The General Schedule system consists of 22 broad occupational groups. Each group
includes separate series that represent occupations in that group. The police series
(GS-0083) is within the Miscellaneous Occupations group. The Office of Personnel
Management (OPM) defines the police series as positions in which the primary duties are
the performance or supervision of law enforcement work in the preservation of the peace;
the prevention, detection, and investigation of crimes; the arrest or apprehension of
violators; and the provision of assistance to citizens in emergency situations, including the
protection of civil rights.
6
 FERS benefits are derived from three components: an annuity, a thrift savings plan, and
Social Security. The basic annuity provided under FERS is computed on the basis of
(1) years of service and (2) the 3 years of service with the highest annual salaries (high 3).
Congress intended that the second component of FERS—the Thrift Savings Plan—be a key
element of FERS. The Thrift Savings Plan provides for an employer contribution, including
an automatic contribution of 1 percent of salary, along with a matching contribution of up
to 5 percent. Social Security benefits make up the third component of the retirement
package. The Civil Service Retirement System annuity, which applies to individuals hired
prior to January 1, 1984, is a stand-alone annuity based on age and years of service.
7
 Under FERS, officers receiving federal law enforcement retirement benefits receive
1.7 percent of their high 3 multiplied by the first 20 years of service and 1 percent
multiplied by each year of service greater than 20 years. Thus, a police officer who retires
at age 50 with 20 years of service would receive 34 percent of the officer’s high 3. After
30 years of service, the benefit would be 44 percent of the officer’s high 3. Officers retiring
under FERS would also receive benefits from their Thrift Savings Plan accounts and Social
Security.



Page 5                                                                         GAO-03-1034T
                               capital flexibilities can include actions related to such areas as
                               recruitment, retention, competition, position classification, incentive
                               awards and recognition, training and development, and work-life policies.
                               We have stated in recent reports that the effective, efficient, and
                               transparent use of human capital flexibilities must be a key component of
                               agency efforts to address human capital challenges.8 The tailored use of
                               such flexibilities for recruiting and retaining high-quality employees is an
                               important cornerstone of our model of strategic human capital
                               management.9


Most Forces Experienced        Eight of the 13 police forces reported difficulties recruiting officers from a
Recruitment Difficulties       moderate to a very great extent. Despite recruitment difficulties faced by
                               many of the police forces, none of the police forces used important human
                               capital recruitment flexibilities, such as recruitment bonuses and student
                               loan repayments, in fiscal year 2002. Some police force officials reported
                               that the human capital recruitment flexibilities were not used for various
                               reasons, such as limited funding or that the flexibilities themselves were
                               not available to the forces during the fiscal year 2002 recruiting cycle.10

                               Officials at 4 of the 13 police forces (Bureau of Engraving and Printing
                               Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Police, Federal
                               Protective Service, and NIH Police) reported that they were having a great
                               or very great deal of difficulty recruiting officers. In addition, officials at
                               5 police forces reported that they were having difficulty recruiting officers
                               to a little or some extent or to a moderate extent. Among the reasons given
                               for recruitment difficulties were:

                           •   low pay;
                           •   the high cost of living in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area;
                           •   difficulty completing the application/background investigation process;
                               and
                           •   better retirement benefits at other law enforcement agencies.



                               8
                                U.S. General Accounting Office, High Risk Series: Strategic Human Capital
                               Management, GAO-03-120 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 2003).
                               9
                                U.S. General Accounting Office, A Model of Strategic Human Capital Management,
                               Exposure Draft, GAO-02-373SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2002).
                               10
                                 All executive branch agencies have the authority to use human capital flexibilities, such
                               as recruitment bonuses and student loan repayments. However, agencies may choose not
                               to offer them.



                               Page 6                                                                       GAO-03-1034T
                                                                 Conversely, officials at 4 of the 13 police forces (Library of Congress
                                                                 Police, the Supreme Court Police, U.S. Mint Police, and U.S. Postal Service
                                                                 Police) reported that they were not having difficulty recruiting officers.
                                                                 Library of Congress officials attributed their police force’s lack of
                                                                 difficulty recruiting officers to attractive pay and working conditions and
                                                                 the ability to hire officers at any age above 20 and who also will not be
                                                                 subject to a mandatory retirement age.11 Supreme Court officials told us
                                                                 that their police force had solved a recent recruitment problem by
                                                                 focusing additional resources on recruiting and emphasizing the force’s
                                                                 attractive work environment to potential recruits. U.S. Postal Service
                                                                 officials reported that their police force was not experiencing a
                                                                 recruitment problem because it hired its police officers from within the
                                                                 agency. Table 2 provides a summary of the level of recruitment difficulties
                                                                 reported by the 13 police forces.

Table 2: Extent to Which Police Forces Reported Experiencing Recruitment Difficulties in the Washington MSA

 Uniformed police force                                  Very great extent     Great extent    Moderate extent      Little or some extent   No extent
 Library of Congress                                                                                                                               •
 Supreme Court                                                                                                                                     •
 U.S. Capitol                                                                                                                  •
 Pentagon Force Protection Agency                                                                        •
 Secret Service                                                                                          •
 Park Police                                                                                             •
 Bureau of Engraving and Printing                                     •
 U.S. Mint Police                                                                                                                                  •
 Government Printing Office                                                                              •
 Federal Bureau of Investigation                                                       •
 U.S. Postal Service                                                                                                                               •
 Federal Protective Service                                                            •
 National Institutes of Health                                                         •
 Total                                                                1               3                 4                      1                   4
Source: GAO analysis of data provided by the 13 police forces.


                                                                 Although many of the police forces reported facing recruitment
                                                                 difficulties, none of the police forces used human capital recruitment



                                                                 11
                                                                  Police forces that are not covered by federal law enforcement retirement benefits do not
                                                                 have a mandatory retirement age.



                                                                 Page 7                                                                     GAO-03-1034T
                           tools, such as recruitment bonuses and student loan repayments, in fiscal
                           year 2002.


Sizable Differences in     Total turnover at the 13 police forces nearly doubled from fiscal years
Turnover Rates among the   2001 to 2002. Additionally, during fiscal year 2002, 8 of the 13 police forces
13 Police Forces           experienced their highest annual turnover rates over the 6-year period,
                           from fiscal years 1997 through 2002. There were sizable differences in
                           turnover rates among the 13 police forces during fiscal year 2002. NIH
                           Police reported the highest turnover rate at 58 percent. The turnover rates
                           for the remaining 12 police forces ranged from 11 percent to 41 percent. Of
                           the 729 officers who separated from the 13 police forces in fiscal year
                           2002, about 82 percent (599), excluding retirements, voluntarily separated.
                           About 53 percent (316) of the 599 officers who voluntarily separated from
                           the police forces in fiscal year 2002 went to TSA.12 Additionally, about
                           65 percent of the officers who voluntarily separated from the 13 police
                           forces during fiscal year 2002 had fewer than 5 years of service on their
                           police forces.

                           The total number of separations at all 13 police forces nearly doubled
                           (from 375 to 729) between fiscal year 2001 and 2002. Turnover increased at
                           all but 1 of the police forces (Library of Congress Police) over this period.
                           The most significant increases in turnover occurred at the Bureau of
                           Engraving and Printing Police (200 percent) and the Secret Service
                           Uniformed Division (about 152 percent). In addition, during fiscal year
                           2002, 8 of the 13 police forces experienced their highest annual turnover
                           rates over the 6-year period, from fiscal year 1997 through 2002.

                           The turnover rates at the 13 police forces ranged from 11 percent at the
                           Library of Congress Police to 58 percent at the NIH Police in fiscal year
                           2002. In addition to the NIH Police, 3 other police forces had turnover
                           rates of 25 percent or greater during fiscal year 2002. The U.S. Mint Police
                           reported the second highest turnover rate at 41 percent, followed by the
                           Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police at 27 percent and the Secret
                           Service Uniformed Division at 25 percent.

                           There was no clear pattern evident between employee pay and turnover
                           rates during fiscal year 2002. For example, while some police forces with



                           12
                            Of the 316 officers who went to TSA, 313 accepted law enforcement positions and
                           3 accepted nonlaw enforcement positions.



                           Page 8                                                                   GAO-03-1034T
relatively highly paid entry-level officers such as the Library of Congress
Police (11 percent) and the Supreme Court Police (13 percent) had
relatively low turnover rates, other police forces with relatively highly paid
entry-level officers such as the U.S. Mint Police (41 percent), Bureau of
Engraving and Printing Police (27 percent), and Secret Service Uniformed
Division (25 percent) experienced significantly higher turnover rates.
Additionally, turnover varied significantly among the 5 police forces with
relatively lower paid entry-level officers. For example, while the Federal
Protective Service (19 percent) and NIH Police (58 percent) entry-level
officers both received the lowest starting pay, turnover differed
dramatically.

Likewise, no clear pattern existed regarding turnover among police forces
receiving federal law enforcement retirement benefits and those receiving
traditional federal retirement benefits. For example, entry-level officers at
the Library of Congress Police, U.S. Capitol Police, and Supreme Court
Police all received equivalent pay in fiscal year 2002. However, the Library
of Congress (11 percent) had a lower turnover rate than the Capitol Police
(13 percent) and Supreme Court Police (16 percent), despite the fact that
officers at the latter 2 police forces received federal law enforcement
retirement benefits. In addition, while officers at both the Park Police
(19 percent) and Secret Service Uniformed Division (25 percent) received
law enforcement retirement benefits, these forces experienced higher
turnover rates than some forces such as U.S. Postal Service Police (14
percent) and FBI Police (17 percent), whose officers did not receive law
enforcement retirement benefits and whose entry-level officers received
lower starting salaries.

More than half (316) of the 599 officers who voluntarily separated from the
police forces in fiscal year 2002 went to TSA—nearly all (313 of 316) to
become Federal Air Marshals where they were able to earn higher salaries,
federal law enforcement retirement benefits, and a type of pay premium
for unscheduled duty equaling 25 percent of their base salary. The number
(316) of police officers who voluntarily separated from the 13 police forces
to take positions at TSA nearly equaled the increase in the total number of
separations (354) that occurred between fiscal year 2001 and 2002.

About 25 percent (148) of the voluntarily separated officers accepted other
federal law enforcement positions, excluding positions at TSA, and about
5 percent (32 officers) took nonlaw enforcement positions, excluding
positions at TSA. Furthermore, about 9 percent (51) of the voluntarily
separated officers took positions in state or local law enforcement or
separated to, among other things, continue their education. Officials were

Page 9                                                          GAO-03-1034T
unable to determine where the remaining 9 percent (52) of the voluntarily
separated officers went. Figure 1 shows a percentage breakdown of where
the 599 officers who voluntarily separated from the 13 police forces during
fiscal year 2002 went.

Figure 1: Percentage Breakdown of Where 599 Officers Who Voluntarily Separated
during Fiscal Year 2002 Went

                                                                          20 - Other federal non-law
                                                  3%                           enforcement, excluding TSA
                                                                          12 - Other non-law enforcement
                                                       2%
                                                                          20 - Other
                                                           3%

                                                                          31 - State or local law
                                                           5%                  enforcement

                                                                9%
                                                                          52 - Unknown



                               53%
                                                           25%
316 - TSA
                                                                          148 - Other federal law
                                                                                enforcement, excluding TSA




Source: GAO analysis of turnover data provided by the 13 police forces.



Although we did not survey individual officers to determine why they
separated from these police forces, officials from the 13 forces reported a
number of reasons that officers had separated, including to obtain better
pay and/or benefits at other police forces, less overtime, and greater
responsibility. Without surveying each of the 599 officers who voluntarily
separated from their police forces in fiscal year 2002, we could not draw
any definitive conclusions about the reasons they left.

Data we gathered from the 13 police forces since we issued our report
indicate that fiscal year 2003 turnover rates will drop significantly at 12 of
13 forces--even below historical levels at most of the forces—if patterns
for the first 9 months of fiscal year 2003 continue for the remaining




Page 10                                                                                    GAO-03-1034T
    months.13 Prospective turnover rates at these 12 forces in fiscal year 2003
    range from being 21 to 83 percent lower than fiscal year 2002 levels. In
    addition, prospective fiscal year 2003 turnover rates at 8 of the 13 forces
    are below historical levels.

    The use of human capital flexibilities to address turnover varied among
    the 13 police forces. For example, officials at 4 of the 13 police forces
    reported that they were able to offer retention allowances, which may
    assist the forces in retaining experienced officers, and 3 of these police
    forces used this tool to retain officers in fiscal year 2002. The average
    retention allowances paid to officers in fiscal year 2002 were about
    $1,000 at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, $3,500 at the Federal
    Protective Service, and more than $4,200 at the NIH Police. The police
    forces reported various reasons for not making greater use of available
    human capital flexibilities in fiscal year 2002, including

•   lack of funding for human capital flexibilities,
•   lack of awareness among police force officials that the human capital
    flexibilities were available, and
•   lack of specific requests for certain flexibilities such as time-off awards or
    tuition reimbursement.

    The limited use of human capital flexibilities by many of the 13 police
    forces and the reasons provided for the limited use are consistent with our
    governmentwide study of the use of such authorities. In December 2002,
    we reported that federal agencies have not made greater use of such
    flexibilities for reasons such as agencies’ weak strategic human capital
    planning, inadequate funding for using these flexibilities given competing
    priorities, and managers’ and supervisors’ lack of awareness and
    knowledge of the flexibilities.14 We further stated that the insufficient or
    ineffective use of flexibilities can significantly hinder the ability of
    agencies to recruit, hire, retain, and manage their human capital.
    Additionally, in May 2003, we reported that OPM can better assist agencies
    in using human capital flexibilities by, among other things, maximizing its
    efforts to make the flexibilities more widely known to agencies through


    13
     Historical levels were calculated by averaging turnover rates, when available, for fiscal
    years 1997-2001. The turnover rate from fiscal year 2002 was excluded from the average
    due to the special circumstances of the startup of TSA.
    14
     U.S. General Accounting Office, Human Capital: Effective Use of Flexibilities Can
    Assist Agencies in Managing Their Workforces, GAO-03-2 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 6,
    2002).



    Page 11                                                                      GAO-03-1034T
                            compiling, analyzing, and sharing information about when, where, and
                            how the broad range of flexibilities are being used, and should be used, to
                            help agencies meet their human capital management needs.15


Entry-Level Pay and         Entry-level pay and retirement benefits varied widely across the 13 police
Benefits Varied among the   forces. Annual pay for entry-level police officers ranged from $28,801 to
Police Forces               $39,427, as of September 30, 2002. Officers at 4 of the 13 police forces
                            received federal law enforcement retirement benefits, while officers at the
                            remaining 9 police forces received standard federal employee retirement
                            benefits. According to officials, all 13 police forces performed many of the
                            same types of general duties, such as protecting people and property and
                            screening people and materials entering and/or exiting buildings under
                            their jurisdictions. The minimum qualification requirements and the
                            selection processes were generally similar among most of the 13 police
                            forces.

                            At $39,427 per year, the U.S. Capitol Police, Library of Congress Police,
                            and Supreme Court Police forces had the highest starting salaries for
                            entry-level officers, while entry-level officers at the NIH Police and Federal
                            Protective Service received the lowest starting salaries at $28,801 per year.
                            The salaries for officers at the remaining 8 police forces ranged from
                            $29,917 to $38,695. Entry-level officers at 5 of the 13 police forces received
                            an increase in pay, ranging from $788 to $1,702, upon successful
                            completion of basic training. Four of the 13 police forces received federal
                            law enforcement retirement benefits and received among the highest
                            starting salaries, ranging from $37,063 to $39,427. Figure 2 provides a
                            comparison of entry-level officer pay and retirement benefits at the 13
                            police forces.




                            15
                             U.S. General Accounting Office, Human Capital: OPM Can Better Assist Agencies in
                            Using Personnel Flexibilities, GAO-03-428 (Washington, D.C.: May 9, 2003).



                            Page 12                                                               GAO-03-1034T
Figure 2: Pay for Entry-level Officers and Retirement Benefits for Each of the 13 Police Forces with 50 or More Officers
Stationed in the Washington MSA as of September 30, 2002


                                                                                                                                             Federal law
                                                                                                                                       enforcement retirement


           Library of Congress                                                                               $39,427        +$1,381a           No
                                                                                                                            $40,808
           Supreme Court                                                                                     $39,427        +$1,381a           Yes
                                                                                                                            $40,808
           U.S. Capitol                                                                                      $39,427        +$1,381a           Yes
                                                                                                                            $40,808
           Pentagon Force                                                                                $38,695                               No
           Protection Agency

           Secret Service                                                                               $37,851                                Yes


           Park Police                                                                                 $37,063         +$788a                  Yes
                                                                                                                       $37,851
          U.S. Mint                                                                                    $36,613                                 No

          Bureau of Engraving                                                                         $36,613                                  No
          and Printing

           GPO                                                                               $31,262         +$1,702a                          No
                                                                                                             $32,964
           FBI                                                                               $31,259                                           No


           USPS                                                                           $29,917                                              No

           Federal Protective                                                         $28,801                                                  No
           Service
                                                                                      $28,801                                                  No
           NIH

                                          0      00        0            0        0        0        0          0         0        0
                                              5,0       ,00      ,00          ,00      ,00      ,00       ,00       ,00       ,00
                                                      10       15           20       25       30        35        40        45


 Source: GAO analysis of pay data provided by the 13 police forces.


                                                                    a
                                                                      Pay increase after successful completion of basic training.


                                                                    Entry-level officers at 12 of the 13 police forces (all but the U.S. Postal
                                                                    Service Police) received increases in their starting salaries between
                                                                    October 1, 2002, and April 1, 2003. Entry-level officers at three of the four
                                                                    police forces (FBI Police, Federal Protective Service, and NIH Police) with
                                                                    the lowest entry-level salaries as of September 30, 2002, received raises of
                                                                    $5,584, $4,583, and $4,252, respectively, during the period ranging from
                                                                    October 1, 2002, through April 1, 2003. In addition, entry-level officers at


                                                                    Page 13                                                                   GAO-03-1034T
both the U.S. Capitol Police and Library of Congress Police—two of the
highest paid forces—also received salary increases of $3,739 during the
same time period.16 These pay raises received by entry-level officers from
October 1, 2002, through April 1, 2003, narrowed the entry-level pay gap
for some of the 13 forces. For example, as of September 30, 2002, entry-
level officers at the FBI Police received a salary $8,168 less than an entry-
level officer at the U.S. Capitol Police. However, as of April 1, 2003, the pay
gap between entry-level officers at the two forces had narrowed to $6,323.

Officers at the 13 police forces reportedly performed many of the same
types of duties, such as protecting people and property, patrolling the
grounds on foot, and conducting entrance and exit screenings. Police
force officials also reported that officers at all of the police forces had the
authority to make arrests. Although there are similarities in the general
duties, there were differences among the police forces with respect to the
extent to which they performed specialized functions.




16
  In late April 2003, Supreme Court Police officers were granted a pay increase retroactive
to October 1, 2002. This pay increase brought the entry-level pay of Supreme Court officers
to the same levels as those of the Capitol Police and Library of Congress Police.



Page 14                                                                     GAO-03-1034T
                     We have observed in our recent Performance and Accountability Series
DHS Organizational   that there is no more important management reform than for agencies to
Transformation       transform their cultures to respond to the transition that is taking place in
                     the role of government in the 21st century.17 Establishing the new DHS is
                     an enormous undertaking that will take time to achieve in an effective and
                     efficient manner. DHS must effectively combine 22 agencies with an
                     estimated 160,000 civilian employees specializing in various disciplines,
                     including law enforcement, border security, biological research, computer
                     security, and disaster mitigation, and also oversee a number of non-
                     homeland security activities. To achieve success, the end result should not
                     simply be a collection of components in a new department, but the
                     transformation of the various programs and missions into a high
                     performing, focused organization.

                     Implementing large-scale change management initiatives, such as
                     establishing a DHS, is not a simple endeavor and will require the
                     concentrated efforts of both leadership and employees to accomplish new
                     organizational goals. We have testified previously that at the center of any
                     serious change management initiative are the people—people define the
                     organization’s culture, drive its performance, and embody its knowledge
                     base.18 Experience shows that failure to adequately address—and often
                     even consider—a wide variety of people and cultural issues is at the heart
                     of unsuccessful mergers and transformations. Recognizing the “people”
                     element in these initiatives and implementing strategies to help individuals
                     maximize their full potential in the new organization, while simultaneously
                     managing the risk of reduced productivity and effectiveness that often
                     occurs as a result of the changes, is the key to a successful merger and
                     transformation.

                     Chairwoman Davis, today you are releasing a report that we prepared at
                     your and Senator Voinovich’s request that identifies the key practices and
                     specific implementation steps with illustrative private and public sector
                     examples that agencies can take as they transform their cultures to be
                     more results-oriented, customer-focused, and collaborative in nature.19


                     17
                      U.S. General Accounting Office, Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: A
                     Governmentwide Perspective, GAO-03-95 (Washington, D.C.: January 2003).
                     18
                      U.S. General Accounting Office, Human Capital: Building on the Current Momentum to
                     Address High-Risk Issues, GAO-03-637T (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 8, 2003).
                     19
                      GAO-03-669.



                     Page 15                                                              GAO-03-1034T
                                               DHS could use these practices and steps to successfully transform its
                                               culture and merge its various originating components into a unified
                                               department. (See table 3.)

Table 3: Key Practices and Implementation Steps for Mergers and Organizational Transformations

 Practice                                                  Implementation steps
 Ensure top leadership drives the transformation.          Define and articulate a succinct and compelling reason for change.
                                                           Balance continued delivery of services with merger and transformation
                                                           activities.
 Establish a coherent mission and integrated strategic     Adopt leading practices for results-oriented strategic planning and
 goals to guide the transformation.                        reporting.
 Focus on a key set of principles and priorities at the    Embed core values in every aspect of the organization to reinforce the new
 outset of the transformation.                             culture.
 Set implementation goals and a timeline to build          Make public implementation goals and timeline.
 momentum and show progress from day one.                  Seek and monitor employee attitudes and take appropriate follow-up
                                                           actions.
                                                           Identify cultural features of merging organizations to increase
                                                           understanding of former work environments.
                                                           Attract and retain key talent.
                                                           Establish an organizationwide knowledge and skills inventory to allow
                                                           knowledge exchange among merging organizations.
 Dedicate an implementation team to manage the             Establish networks to support implementation team.
 transformation process.                                   Select high-performing team members.
 Use the performance management system to define the       Adopt leading practices to implement effective performance management
 responsibility and assure accountability for change.      systems with adequate safeguards.
 Establish a communication strategy to create shared       Communicate early and often to build trust.
 expectations and report related progress.                 Ensure consistency of message.
                                                           Encourage two-way communication.
                                                           Provide information to meet specific needs of employees.


 Involve employees to obtain their ideas and gain their    Use employee teams.
 ownership for the transformation.                         Involve employees in planning and sharing performance information.
                                                           Incorporate employee feedback into new policies and procedures.
                                                           Delegate authority to appropriate organizational levels.
 Build a world-class organization.                         Adopt leading practices to build a world-class organization.
Source: GAO.



                                               As Secretary Ridge and his leadership team will recognize, strategic
DHS Strategic Human                            human capital management is a critical management challenge for DHS. In
Capital Management                             our report on homeland security issued last December, we recommended
                                               that OPM, in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget and


                                               Page 16                                                                    GAO-03-1034T
    the agencies, should develop and oversee the implementation of a long-
    term human capital strategy that can support the capacity building across
    government required to meet the objectives of the nation’s efforts to
    strengthen homeland security.20 With respect to DHS, in particular, this
    strategy should

•   establish an effective performance management system, which
    incorporates the practices that reinforce a “line of sight” that shows how
    unit and individual performance can contribute to overall organization
    goals;

•   provide for the appropriate use of the human capital flexibilities granted to
    DHS to effectively manage its workforce; and

•   foster an environment that promotes employee involvement and
    empowerment, as well as constructive and cooperative labor management
    employee relations.

    In response to these recommendations, the Director of OPM stated that
    OPM has created a design process that is specifically intended to make
    maximum use of the flexibilities that Congress has granted to DHS,
    including the development of a performance management system linking
    individual and organizational performance. Chairwoman Davis, at your
    and Senator Voinovich’s request, we are reviewing the design process DHS
    and OPM have put in place and we expect to issue our first report this
    September.

    DHS must also consider differences in pay, benefits, and performance
    management systems of the employee groups that were brought into DHS.
    Last March, the Secretary of Homeland Security highlighted examples of
    such differences. For example, basic pay is higher for Secret Service
    Uniformed Division officers than for General Schedule police officers. TSA
    uses a pay banding system with higher pay ranges than the General
    Schedule system. The Secretary also cited differences in benefits. The
    Secret Service Uniformed Division officers and TSA Air Marshals are
    covered under the law enforcement officer retirement benefit provisions,
    while the Federal Protective Service police and law enforcement security
    officers and various Customs Service employees, among others, are not.
    Further, the Secretary stated that DHS and OPM employees will determine


    20
     U.S. General Accounting Office, Homeland Security: Management Challenges Facing
    Federal Leadership, GAO-03-260 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 20, 2002).



    Page 17                                                              GAO-03-1034T
if the differences in pay and benefits constitute unwarranted disparities
and if so, they will make specific recommendations on how these
differences might be eliminated in DHS’s human resources management
system proposal, which will be submitted later this year.

The performance management systems among DHS components also have
significant differences that need to be considered. The performance
management systems vary in fundamental ways. Of the 4 largest agencies
joining DHS, the Customs Service’s and TSA’s performance management
systems have 2-level performance rating systems.21 We have raised
concerns that such approaches may not provide enough meaningful
information and dispersion in ratings to recognize and reward top
performers, help everyone attain their maximum potential, and deal with
poor performers. The Coast Guard has a 3-level system and Immigration
and Naturalization Service has a 5-level system.22

One of the key practices mentioned above to a successful merger and
transformation is to use the performance management system to define
the responsibility and assure accountability for change. An effective
performance management system can be a strategic tool to drive internal
change and achieve desired results. Effective performance management
systems are not merely used for once- or twice-yearly individual
expectation setting and rating processes, but are tools to help the
organization manage on a day-to-day basis. These systems are used to
achieve results, accelerate change, and facilitate two-way communication
throughout the year so that discussions about individual and
organizational performance are integrated and ongoing. The performance
management system must link organizational goals to individual
performance and create a line of sight between an individual’s activities
and organizational results.

Chairwoman Davis, at your and Senator Voinovich’s request, we identified
a set of key practices that federal agencies could use to create this line of




21
 The Customs Service’s performance management system applies to all Customs Service
employees except the Senior Executive Service. The TSA performance management system
applies to all TSA employees.
22
  The Coast Guard’s performance management system applies to civilian employees. The
Immigration and Naturalization Service’s performance management system applies to all of
its employees except attorneys and the Senior Executive Service.



Page 18                                                                  GAO-03-1034T
sight and develop effective performance management systems.23 These
practices helped public sector organizations both in the United States and
abroad create a line of sight between individual performance and
organizational success and, thus, transform their cultures to be more
results-oriented, customer-focused, and collaborative in nature. DHS has
the opportunity to develop a modern, effective, and credible performance
management system to manage and direct its transformation. DHS should
consider these key practices as it develops a performance management
system with the adequate safeguards, including reasonable transparency
and appropriate accountability mechanisms in place, to help create a clear
linkage between individual performance and organizational success.24

We recently reported that TSA, one of the components that joined DHS,
has taken the first steps in creating such a linkage and establishing a
performance management system that aligns individual performance
expectations with organizational goals.25 TSA has implemented
standardized performance agreements for groups of employees, including
transportation security screeners, supervisory transportation security
screeners, supervisors, and executives. These performance agreements
include both organizational and individual goals and standards for
satisfactory performance that can help TSA show how individual
performance contributes to organizational goals. For example, each
executive performance agreement includes organizational goals, such as
to maintain the nation’s air security and ensure an emphasis on customer
satisfaction, as well as individual goals, such as to demonstrate through
actions, words, and leadership, a commitment to civil rights. To strengthen
its current executive performance agreement and foster the culture of a
high-performing organization, we recommended that TSA add
performance expectations that establish explicit targets directly linked to
organizational goals, foster the necessary collaboration within and across
organizational boundaries to achieve results, and demonstrate




23
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Results-Oriented Cultures: Creating a Clear Linkage
between Individual Performance and Organizational Success, GAO-03-488 (Washington,
D.C.: Mar. 14, 2003).
24
  For more information on adequate safeguards, see U.S. General Accounting Office,
Defense Transformation: Preliminary Observations on DOD’s Proposed Civilian
Personnel Reforms, GAO-03-717T (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 29, 2003).
25
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Transportation Security Administration: Actions and
Plans to Build a Results-Oriented Culture, GAO-03-190 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 17, 2003).



Page 19                                                                   GAO-03-1034T
commitment to lead and facilitate change. TSA agreed with this
recommendation.

Madam Chairwoman and Mr. Chairman, this completes my prepared
statement. I would be happy to respond to any questions you or other
members of the Subcommittee may have at this time.

For further information, please call me or Weldon McPhail at
(202) 512-8777. Other key contributors to this testimony were
Carole Cimitile, Katherine Davis, Geoffrey Hamilton, Janice Lichty,
Michael O’Donnell, Lisa Shames, Lou Smith, Maria Strudwick,
Mark Tremba, and Gregory H. Wilmoth.




Page 20                                                       GAO-03-1034T
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                    Page 21                                                     GAO-03-1034T
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                   Page 22                                                    GAO-03-1034T
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