Law Enforcement: Recruitment, Retention, and Compensation of Support Staff

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-05-22.

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

                          C‘nite $7States   General Accounting   Office

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                                    to the Chairintin, Subcommittee
                 ._       . on CiviLand Cdrts.tiWtional Rights,                   l

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             General           ofk
             Washington, D.C.20548

             General Government Dhisbn


             May 22.19W

             The Honorable Don i3kuds
             Chairman, Subcommittee on Civil
                  and Constitutional Rights
             Committee on the .Judiciary
             I Iouse of Hepresentativcu

             Dear Mr. Chairman:

             In response to your request., this report supplements the Sational Advi-
             sory Commission on Law Enforcvment’s ( WLE) study of federal law
             enforcement personnel issues, The Omnibus Antidrug Abuse Act of
              1988 crcatcd SACWto study recruitment, compensation, and retention
             issues affecting federal law enforcement officers. You expressed partic-
             ular interest in the difficulties federal law enforcement agencies experi-
             ence in attracting and retaining qualified suppon staff.

             Law enforcement support staff perform a wide array of professional,
Background   administrative, technical. and clerical functions essential to accomptish-
             ing their agencies’ missions+ For the purposes of this report, the term
             “law enforcement support staff’ refers to non-agent white collar
             employees in Jaw enforcement agencies-the Department of Justice’s
             Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Prisons, Drug Enforce
             ment Administration, Immigration and Xaturahzation Service, and US.
             Marshals Service, and the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Alco-
             hol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Customs Service, Federal Law Enforce-
             ment Training Center, and U.S. Secret Service.’ “Son-law enforcement
             agencies” include all other federaJ agencies.

             Few empirical data are available to quantify the magnitude of support
             staff problems facing federal law enforcement agencies today. Conse-
             quently, rnudh of the in:ormation contained in this report reflects law
             enforcement officials’ perceptions and opinions.

             It should also bc noted that the support staff problems discussed in this
             report are not exclusive to federal Jaw enforcement agencies. Studies
             show that non&w enforcement federal agencies face similar problems
             in recruiting, retaining, and compensating their support staff. However,
             the problems can be exacerbated for agencies that require Top Secret

             ’ I S .Swrrr ?+n’~w 1‘n~f~rnntdfhwwm mrmbws were mrwludod
                                                                     in the SprctE tiudy and.tM<n,
             cxcludwl from rhilr study

             Page I                              GA0iGGDsoBo PI?dMd law lhf -nrSllppar               surf
                        security clearances and drug tests for all of their staff, such as the FBI
                        and Secret Service. Although recruitment. retention, and compensation
                        issues are interrelat4    we discuss them separately for ease of presenta-
                        tion in this letter and in appendixes I, II, and III.

                        Although available data on support staff problems are limited, federal
Ftesults in Brief       law enforcement managers and personnel specialist.s believe that
                        attracting and retaining qualifti support staff have become incre;lrs-
                        ingly difficult as the pay disparity between federal and private sector
                        employment has grown. They consider support staff recruitment and
                        retention significant problems. and they point to noncompetitive federal
                        compensation ;1sthe underlying causeof both problems.

                        Soncompetitive salaries cause recruitment and retention problems in all
                        federal agencies. However, when low starting salaries are combined
                        with :aw enforcement agencies’ security clearance requirements, law
                        enforcement managers report they have greater recruitment problems in
                        terms of time, expense, and number of qualified applicants than their
                        counterparts in most other federal agencies.

                        Our analysis of available governmentwide statistics for foal year 1988
                        indicates that quit rate+ for law enforcement agencies-excluding the
                        ml---are about comparable to non-law enforcement agencies. When sta-
                        tistics include the wt. the turnover is much higher. Our analysis also
                        shows that within the law enforcement community, support staff turn-
                        over varies by occupation and location, with the greatest turnover
                        occurring in clerical occupations in high-cost cities. Due to time con-
                        straints. we did not determine the reasons for variations in turnover.

                        The consequence of recruitment and retention problems. according to
                        law enforcement managers, include increased recruiting and training
                        expenses and lost productivity.

                        Our objective was to obtain data and information on the recruitment,
Objective, Scope, and   compensation. and retention of support staff in federal law enforcement
Methodology             agencies. To accomplish our objective and to provide overall perspec-
                        tive. we attempted to identify and compare problems of support staff in
                        federal law enforcement agencies with support staff in other federal
agencies, in state and local law rnforcement agencies, and in the private

Information required to make direct comparisons with the private sec-
tor, state and local law entircement agencies. and with non-law enforce-
ment federal agencies was limited or unavailable. For e;;arnple,
information on salaries paid to state and local law enforcement support
staff was readily available for only a few locations; data on recruitment
activities other than the number of new hires were not readily available
at the federal, state, local. or private sector levels; and turnover data
were available only on the federal level. In addition, no standard defti-
tion of “vacancy” exists within the federal government. Thus. where
vacancy statistics are available. interagency comparisons to discern the
difficulty in filling jobs could be misleading. Becauseof the problems
with availability and definition, we used available aggregate data and
information obtained during interviews with Iaw enforcement officials.

To compare compensation paid to support staff by the federal govem-
ment with the private sector, we used the August 1989 annual report of
the President’s pay advisoi-s, Comparability of the Federal Statutory
Pay Systems With Private Enterprise Pay Rates. and a July 1989 report
sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management (0~) entitled Study
of Federal Employee locality Pay. In addition, two FBIfield offices pro-
vided information from local law enforcement agencies for comparative
purposes on salaries paid to support staff in Sew York City and Seattle.

To determine the extent of support staff turnover in federal law
enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies during fiscal years 1986,
1987, and 1988, we obtained and analyzed governmentwide turnover
data for a judgmental sample of 14 occupational series. The elected
occupations are common to federal law enforcement and non-law
enforcement agencies. From 0~~'s Central Personnel IMa File (CPDF), we
obtained turnover data on all federal agencies for the 14 support staff
occupational series except those agencies exempt from certain personnel
reporting requirements (e.g., the FIX Central Intelligence Agency, and
other intelligence agencies). To derive aggregate and 1-l “law enforce-
ment” data, we supplemented the cpof metropolitan statistical area data
with similar data collected directly from the FRI.We also analyzed tumu
ver data for five of eight metropolitan areas identified by SXXE as high-
cost areas (Sew York City; Washington, DC; Chicago; Los Angeles; and
San Francisco) and three of six identified as lowcost (Brownsville,
Texas: Kansas City, Missouri; and Spokane. Washington). We did not
independently verify the accuracy of the CPDF or FBI data.
                                           .-   .,,   ..,_-   --‘--’


                      To supplement t hc limited empirical data. we interc iewed a judgmental
                      sample of Secret G-vice and ~731    managers, recruiters, and personnel
                      specialists in ~IUand Secret Semicc headquarters in Washington, D.C.;
                      tl$l field offices in i3altimore: Sew York City; Washingmn. DC.; and the
                      Secret Scrvim’s Sew York field office. :Ve also reviewed ( 1) information
                      on support staff rcynritment and retention problems obtained during
                      SIV‘U intcmicws with 102 federal law enforcement managers in 14 cities
                      and (2 1studies by tixo and other organizations. The Secret Service and
                      t?ll assigned a personnel specialist to facilitate data collection at their
                      respective agcncirs and to assist in our overall review efforts.

                      Although our work focused on recruitment and retention issues within
                      tiic iaw cnforccment community. we made limited contacts with the fol-
                      lowing non-law enforcement agcncic5 to obtain their views on these
                      same issues -the Department of Health and IIuman SerGzes in Wash-
                      ington, D.C., and Svw York City; the Environmental Protection Agency
                      in Sew York City: and OPYand the Departments of Defense and Energy
                      in IVashington. D.C.

                      N’e did our work between O(Zo&!r 1989 and March 1990. using generally
                      accepted go~~crnmt~ntauditing standards.

                      Ag#X?gate data identifying trend? in law enforcement support staff
Law Enforcement       recruitment arc not available. Although supporting data are not rou-
Officials Perceive    tinely maintained. many federal law enforcement managers and
Significant Support   recruiters perceive a significant support staff recruiting problem. For
                      example. 44 percent of the 102 law enforcement managers interviewed
Staff Recruiting      by S~V’I.Ereported experiencing rect‘rrf problems recruiting sufficient
Problem               qualified support staff. Of the problems affecting law enforcement sup
                      port staff reported by these managers, recruitment was the third most
                      often cited.

                      According to federal law enforcement officials. their offices frequently
                      have several suppon staff vacancic?sat one time, some of which have
                      taken months-or yearn-to fill. Such long-standing vacancies disrupt
                      office operations and diminish overall efficiency. These officials added
                      that noncompetitive entry lcvcl salaries and stringent hiring standards
                      such ;1$requiring Top Secret security clearance for a higher proportion
                      of support staff combine to make recruiting more difficuIt and expen-
                      sive f:,r law enforcement agencies than for many other federal agencies.

                      Govummenrwwlc statistic% indicate that support staff turnover varies
;uppmt Staff          by occupational series and location and is higher in law enforcement
b-never Statistics    agencies than in non-law enforcement federal agencies for 13 of 14 sup
kry Ektween Law       port series that we reviewed. Ilowever, the ~EI’Shigh quit rate is the
                      principal reilson thiit the statistics show law enforcement agencies’ quit
bforcement and Non-   nltcs ;FSbeing greater than those of non-law enforcement agencies. In
AW Enforcement        fiscal year 1988. the nr<s average quit rate for the 14 support staff
                      occupational .seric%was 18.52 percent-almost 2 l/2 times greater than
igencies Primarily    all trf the other law enforcement agencies combined.
Krause of FBI Quit
lates                 IVhen VWdata are cscluded. the average quit rate for law enforcement
                      agencies decreases from about 11 percent to 6.7 wrcent. which is about
                      cornp;lrabk* to rhc 62 percent quit rate for non-law cr.forcclmcnt agen-
                      tics. Since federal law enforcement and nun-law enforcement support
                      staff of the same grade arc paid the same salaries. compensation alone
                      dots not account for the differences between the t%l and other.agencies’
                      quit rates. Due to time constraints. we were not able to obtain the data
                      needed to dctcrmine why tumovcr varies between the ml and other

                      .Qcording to law cniorcement managers. it is not uncommon for a single
                      position to turn over several times within a year. New suppon     employ-
                      tvs acquire training and experience at government expense and then
                      Ieave for higher paying jobs in the private sector. As a result, federal
                      Iaw enforcement agem& have become support staff “training grounds”
                      for iaw firms, banks. and other private employers. Law enforcement
                      managers attributed their support staff turnover in federal law enforce-
                      ment agencies primarily to noncu>mpetitive compensation. They said the
                      consequoncc’s of the high turnover include increased recruiting and
                      training expenses and lost productivity.

                      According to the         report of the President’s pay advisors, there was
2xw Enforcement       a pay gap averaging ‘79 percent between federal salaries and private sal-
hlpport Staff         aries For all types of comparable positions. Other studies have also
hmpensation Is Not    shown that federal sector pay is less than private sector pay for compa-
                      rable support positions. F’Orexampk. a 198189  owl-sponsored study
hsidered              showed that the federH1 mean salary for computer specialist (grade 5)
hmpetitive With       was abwt S ltj.275 compared with the salary range of about $22,000 to
                      Q%.OoUin the private sector. Although special salary rates, where
Jonfederal Sector     available. narruw the gap between federal and private support salaries.
                      WJI and law enforcement officials do not believe that these rates adc-
                      quatcly address the overall pay problem.

                  Law enforcement managers cited two related consequcnees of the dis-
                  parity between federal and private sector compensation. The most fre-
                  quently cited consequence was that federal law enforcement agencies
                  find attracting and retaining qualified support staff increasingly diffi-
                  cult. -*other consequence, managers believed, is a conspicuous decline
                  in the quality of candidates who do apply for law enforcement support

                  As requested by the Subcommittee, we did not obtain written comments
Agency Comments   from agencies. We did, however, discuss the contents of the report with
                  law enforcement officials at the FBIand Seeret Service and non-law
                  enforcement officials at OPM and the Departments of Defen.se. Energy,
                  and Ilealth and Human Services and incorporated their comments where
                  appropriate. The officials generally agreed with the facts presented, and
                  the k-ts~said it plans to do further analysis on its quit rates. The non-law
                  enforcement officials‘generally said that the problems cited in the report
                  are not exclusive to law enforcement agencies. and they experience simi-
                  lar recruitment and retention problems because of noncompetitive fed-
                  eral pay.

                  As agreed with the Subcommittee, we have also included as appendix IV
                  governmentwide data on transfers of employees among federal agencies.

                  Also as arranged with the Subcommittee, we are providing copies of this
                  report to the Directors of the FBI,U.S. Secret Service, and OPM. We plan
                  no further distribution of this report until 10 days from the date of its
                  issuance unles you publicly announce its contents earlier. At that time,
                  we will send copies to interested parties and make copies available to
                  others upon request.

The major contributors to this report are Listed in appendix V. If you or
your staff have any questions concerning the contents of this report,
please call me on 27550'74.

Sincerely yours,

Bernard L. Ungar
Director, Federal Human Resource
  Management Issues

Page 7                         GAO&G-       Fdemi Law l?.&rcemnt   Support Staff
                                                      ..,_ - _-

~p@endixI                                                                         10
law Enforcement        Recruitment Statistics Lacking                             10
                       Suppolt Staff Recruiting Considered Increasingly           10
officials Perceive          Difficult
ignificant Support     Stringent Hiring Standards May Increase Recruiting         11
taff Recruiting        Recruiting Alevities Expanded                              13
Lppendix II                                                                       14
upport Staff           Support Staff Turnover Varies by Series, Type of Agency,   14
                           u~d Location
‘umover Statistics     Law Enforcement Managers Perceive Support Staff            19
‘ary Between Law           Turnover as a Critical Problem
:nforcement and Non-
law Enforcement
,gencies Primarily
‘mause of the FBI’s
!uit Rate
,ppendix III                                                                      22
,aw Enforcement        Documented Disparity Between Federal and Private           22
                            sector salaries
upport Staff           Indications That Special Rates Are Sot Sufficient to       23
‘ompensation Is Not         Compete With Private Sector Salaries
                       Pay Gap fbists Between Federal and Some Imal Law           24
‘onsidered                  Enforcement Support Salaries
lompetitive With       Pay Disparity Ckmsidered Cause of Recruitment and          24
ionfederal Sector           Retention Problems
                       Noncompetitive Compensation Also Considered Cause of       26
                            Staff Quality Decline
endix IV                                                                                     27
aI Year 1988
lsfer Rates for
cted support Staff
endix V                                                                                      30
x Contributors to
; Report
Les                  Table II. 1: Quit Rates for Selected Law Enforcement                    15
                         Support Staff Seties
                     Table 11.2:Comparison of law Enforcement and h’on-Law                   16
                          Enforcement Agencies’ Quit Rates for Selected
                         Support Staff Series for Fiscal Year 1988
                     Table 11.3:Comparison of FBI With Other Law                             17
                          Enforcement Agencies’ Quit Rates for Fiscal Year
                     Table 11.4:Comparison of Foal Year 1988 Law                             18
                          Enforcement and Non-Law Enforcement Support
                         Staff Quit Rates in High- and Low-Cost Cities
                     Table III. 1: Comparison of Federal and Private Sector                  23
                          Salaries for Selected Support Staff Positions
                     Table IV. 1: Comparison of FBI, Other Law Enforcement,                  27
                          and Non-Law Enforcement Agencies’ Transfer Rates
                          for Selected Support Staff Series for Fiscal Year 1988
                     Table IV.2: Comparison of FBI, Other Law Enforcement,                   28
                          and Non-Law Enforcement Agencies’ Support Staff
                          Trarrfer Rates in High- and Low-Cost Cities for
                          Fiscal Year 1988

                     CPDF      Central Personnel Data File
                     EPA       Environmental Protection Agency
                     rB1       Federal Bureau of Investigation
                     HI-IS     Department of Health and Human Services
                     Iw3.E     National Advisory Commission on Law Enforcement
                     OPM       Office of Personnel Management

                     -9                           G.40/GGD~    Ptdtd   Ltw Enfo-nt   sopport SW
ldix I

iii Ehforcement Officials PerceiveSignificant                                                                           -
pport Staff Recruiting Problem                                                                         I        .   t


                     Aggregate data identifying trends in law enforcement support staff
                     recruitment are not available. Nevertheless. mvty federa! li;-~ enforce-
                     ment managers and recruiters we interviewed perceive a significant sup
                     port staff recruiting problem. The managers and recruiters cited several
                     factors that contribute to their suppo~ staff recruiting problems. Princi-
                     pal among these factors were noncompetitive compensation, stnngent
                     hiring standards. and the cost and length of time required to bring new
                     employees on board (See app. 111for a more detailed discussion of non-
                     competitive federal compensation. I

                     OPM does not   track vacancies throughout the federal government and,
x.Ament Statistics    although some agencies do track vacancies, interagency vacancy rates
cing                  arc not comparable because no standard definition of “vacancy” exists.
                     ,%)meindividual federal law enforcement managers have documented
                      their support staff recruiting problems by systematica!ly tracking and
                      analyzing support staff vacancy rates and other recruiting statistics
                      Yowever. f he data arc specific to individual offices and cannot be pro-                                        P
                     jected to the entire federal law enforcement community.

                     Despite the scarcity of recruitment data, many federal law enforcement
port Staff           managers believe chat recruiting qualified support staff has become
viting Considered    increasingly difficult as the pay disparity between federal and private
easingly Difficult   sector employment has grown, the prestige of public service has
                     declined, and the skills required for entry positions (e.g., com~P%cr
                     skills) have increased.

                     Of the 102 law enforcement managers interviewed by SXLE in 14 cities                  .
                     across the nation in 1989,44 percent reported experiencing recent
                     problems recruiting enough qualified support staff. Of the problems
                     affecting law enforcement support staff reported by these managers,                            -
                     recruitment was the third most often cited.

                     According to a Secret Service recruiter, LOyears ago the secret Service               :-           _
                     had an abundance of qualified candidates to choose from and little or no
                     specialized recruiting was required to fill support positions. However, in
                     his opinion, recruiting is more difficult today due to the tight job mar-
                     ket. the increasingly technical nature of support positions, and the low              -.               -*
                     pay and benefits associated with federal government employment. For
                     example, Secret Service document examiner positions were easily filled        -

                     Page 10                       GAOGGD9040 Federal Law Enfmcmzmt Sappart surf                    .             .

                       .-      .--__   -   .-

                           in the past. However, a recent Secret Service rrcruiting trip to a confer-
                           ence where ncar!y 100 potential applicants were present did rc7t pro-
                           duce a single applicafion for vacant documert examiner positins. The
                           recruiter attributed the lack of interest in t&e positions to the low
                           starting salaries. Fut recruiters re!ated similar recruiting experiences.

                           Law enforccmr!nt agencies’ difficulties attracting qualified support
                           applicantri have sometimes resulted in vacancies remaining open far
                           long periods of time. For example, an analysis of support staff tumover
                           in the Secret Servic~‘s Los Angel= office showed that support vdes
                           remained open an average of 251 days in fti       year 1987,34X days in
                           fiscal year 1988. and 248 days in fiscal year 198%The Secret Srvice’s
                           Phoenix field office, which has three supportpmitionsauthorized, had
                           one position vacant fcr the 2-year period ending May 1989. The KU
                           Washington, D.C., field office had a 20-percent vacancy rate vnong its
                           secretarial staff from October 1989 through January I990. According to
                            law enforcement managers, long-standing vacancies disrupt office ope-
                           ations, increase other staff members’ workloads, and diminish overa.lI

                           According to several law enforcement managers, recruiting is generally
Stringent Hiring           more expensive and difficult for law enforcement agencies than for most
Standards May              other federal agencies because of their more stringent and time+zonsum-
Increase Recruiting        ing hiring standards. Unlike most support staff in non-law enforcement
                           agencies, certain support staff in some law &&cement agencies need
Difficulties               Top Secret security clearances. In other agencies,such as the Secret Se-
                           vice and FBI, all support staff need Top Secret security clearances and
                           drug tests.

Stringent Security         The background investigations required for Top Secret clearances
                           include reviews of applicants’ credit, employment, education, medical,
Standards May Limit Pool   military, t-x, and any criminal records that may rxist- They also include
of Potential Applicants    interviews with references and other acquaintances, criminal records
                           checks on all close relative and roommat.es, reviews of immigration
                           records if the applicant or cl- relatives are registered aliens or natu-
                           ralized U.S. citizens, and ovefi%.aschecks if ihe applicant or close rela-
                           tives resided or traveled out&c- t.be United States.

                           In addition to hackground investigations, applicants for law enforce-
                           ment support positions may also be subject to drug tests, polygraph
                           tests. medical examinations, and physical fitrte~ requirements. Such
                              izz2’   onwmen1OmelrLPwcdve
                              2a@dfhnl supwn sun hitbag     hdkr

                              demanding hiring rcquircments may deter somejob seekers from even
                              applying at law enforcement agencim in the first place. As a secret Ser-
                              v.icT manager explained. up to -50 percent of potential applicants at the
                              Sew York field office lose interest in working for the Secret Service
                              when informed of the agency’s strict rules against drug use, as well as
                              agency drug-testing rCquirements.

                              Of those who do apply fcJr law enfm~ment    support positions, many are
                              rejected due to advem material fdc 3 (criminal records, drug use, bad
                              credit) uncovered during the Frsunal interview or background tnvesti-
                              mtion. Although data are not routinely accumulated, in I986 the Secret
                              Service’s Sew York field office interviewed IF)4 applicants listed on the
                              OIW registry for support pitions. Due to adverse material facts
                              rwealed during the intenMvs, only five candidates warranted a back-
                              ground investigation. and only one candidate’s background could sustain
                              the necessary security clearance. According to FM managers, the FM
                              denies more than twice as many applicant security clearances as it
                              grants because of derogatory information develop4 during background

Time-Consuming                Personnel specialists told us the length of time required to obtain WWF
                              ity clearances further limits the pool of potential applicants for law
Clearance Process Furthe lr   enforcement support positions. Unlike most other federal agencies, FBI
     -. Pool of Potential     and Secret Service support staff need Top &ret security clearances.
APPllCantS                    Therefore, they do not always have the flexibility to hire applicants to a
                              nonclassified position and reassign them upon clearance approval. The
                              security clearance process takes an average of 3 months and can take as
                              long as 1 year. During that time, many applicants take otherjobs with
                              private employers or non-law enforcement federal agenciw that may
                              offer the same or better salary and benefits as law enforcement agen-
                              cies, but can bring new employees on board quicker- According to HHS
                              and EPA staffing specialists in the Sew York regional offices, new sup
                              port employees can begin working at fm- and EP~\within a few weeks of              i
                              being offered positions. On the other hand, officials at the Departments
                              (Jf Defense and Energy said that they are not always able to bring sup             /
                              port staff on board until they obtain security clearances.

Recruiting Is More            Law enforcement managers contend that support staff recruiting is far
                              more expensive for them than for their counterparts in most other fed-
Expensive for Law             eral agencies. According LOa C’S Merit Systems Protection Board study,
Enforcement Agencies          replacing a federal employee typically costs from $300 to $2,200,
                                                     -._,    -                                 - ,-    ,-.__
               I   .                     -   .
-.        -,

                                delwnding on rhe position. Ilowvrvcr, due to the additional costs of con-
                                ducting background irrvcstigatir,ns. dmg tests, polygraph tests, and med-
                                ical osaminations. data provided Iry the Secret Service and FENshow that
                                it cosw an avcraw trf S9.%0 to replace their professional   and support

                                According to FIII and .Scrrt .SeWce managers, exacting hiring standards
                                and Top Stuct  security  ckdr;rncvs are necessary for all support empioy-
                                WY txau~         ~6 tbtbir   c-onstant   us+t of classified   infonnation      in the per-
                                frxm;tnce rlf their durics and the mission of the &.gency.Due to time
                                constramts. WVdid not evaluate the reasonableness of requiring Top
                                Stunt    ckranccs      for all law enfcvccment support staff or compare tk
                                tnft’icitmc>-I 11’law c*nfrJrcVmcntsecurity clearance pnmssing with that of
                                other :~gcncics.

                                w and Secret tin-ice officials told us they have responded to the
        Recruiting Activities   recruitment chalknge by expanding and upgrading their recruiting
        Expanded                efforts. but with limited SUCCESS   In the past, law enforcement agencies
                                rc:r-niitcd ~pf~rt stziff on an -as-neededbasis. S-xv, however, recruiting
                                has bc-comca fl-ILtime, year-round activity.

                                FHIand %x-ret Ser~-ic~ field vfficPs each have at least one Special Agent
                                and or ant! support employee z%igmxi to recruiting, In addition, both
                                Secret Serx-ice and 6-1 headquarters have units dedicated to directing
                                and ccujrdinating recruiting activities.

                                Law enforcement agvn4r-j expnd considerable resource conducting
                                nationwide rcvruiting activities and developing innovative recruiting
                                techniques. In addition to customary recruiting methods, such as attend-
                                ingjob fairs and adv-cirtising in local newspapers, law enforcement agen-
                                cies have begun consulting with advertising professionals, producing
                                recruiting videotapcx and establishing or expanding high school camp,
                                college intern, summer. pan-time. and handicapped      employee programs.
Shq&Lrt Staff Turnover StatiSticSVary ltl&Wt%n-i
L;tvv Enforcement ad Non-Law Enforcement f
AgenciesPrimarily Becauseof the FBI’s
Quit Rate
                          Federal govrrrnmentwide statistics for foal year 1988 indicate that law         .
                          enforcement agencies. primarily becauseof the FBI’Squit rates, wri-             ’
                          ence higher turnover in certain support occupations than non-law
                          enforcement agencies. Excluding data on the FBI,the tumover statistics           i
                          for Lw enforcement agencies are about comparable to non-law enfor#              .+
                          ment agencies. Funher. turnover varies by occupation and geographic              f
                          IcKcation.with the greatest turnover occurring in clerical occupations in         ’
                          highccat cities. According to many law enforcement managers, high                ;
                          turnover among support staff is a critical problem that is primarily due        ”
                          to noncompetitive federal compensation, and results in lost productkiky          .f
                          and increased recruiting and training expense. (See app. III for a more         .“j
                          defr’ mddiscussion of noncompetitive federal compensation.)                      i

support     Staff         varies by occupational series and location, and turnover in some support        -1
Turnover Varies by        series is higher in law enforcement agenties than in non-law enforce!-           ;
                          ment fcde& agencies. The FDI’Shigh quit rate is the principal reason             i
Series, Type of       -   why govcmmcntwide statistics indicate that Iaw enforcement agencies’            ;
Agency, and hation        quit rates arc generally greater than those of non-law enforcement ages          8
                          ties. Since federal law enforcement and non-law enforcement support              1
                          staff trf the same grade are paid the same salaries, compensation alone
                          does not account for the differences between the FBI and other agencies’            :
                          quit rates. Due to time constraints, we were not able to obtain the data
                          needed to determine why turnover varies between the FBIand the other                *

Turnover Varies by        Among the 14 support series we analyzed, the highest turnover gener-                :
                          ally occurred in clerical positions, such ,a mail and file, cIerk-typist, and
Occupational Series       data transcriber. Table II. 1 lists in descending order for fiscal year 1998
                          the nationwide quit rates for the 14 law ‘enforcement support series.                 I

                          Page 14
                                                                             .- .     - _,        -            ..,.
T&h     II.1 : ouit Rate8 lot wetted      Law Enlorcement support stall series
                                                                        Fiscal yaw 1988                  FUymrl967                     Fiua1 Yew 1#6
                                                                             Quit Avmgo                   Ouit Avemga                  Quit      A-
-.-._..    - _. Tit*  -__- ~~-. ~-- -I .~ -~                                 rate populrdkn               -POP--
                                                                                                          -- - -                       -pal
0305              Mad and hle                                                19 51%          2,983--       1239%       -.2378-~‘~-     1295%          3.058
__ -.- -
0356              Data !ranscrtber                                           18 14             226 --.-..- If 11.-_-._       22l3      14.35            2xJ
 _.---.                    __  -- . ---                                                                                       --_---
0322              Clerk-1yprst
             _-_---                                                          17 78           2.098         1366            1,633       1646           r.802
 -       _    _----.--II..__.
0332              Computer operatbon                                         l4BB              168 _-- -862                  174        696              172
-- _._~-           Vouch& ;;amk”o                                            1284              148         17 16             134        662              132
i&L30             M~cellaneous
                       __~ - ~~ clerk and asslstant                           971            2.708      693           2.912          667---           2.907
0525           A&ounrmg technman                                              901              566       737             52!3----- 906                  508
0310            Secretary                                                     7 98           31X?
                                                                                             - 1         ---
                                                                                                         ULJ?         --*
                                                                                                                      L.!Nil         824              2.791
                                                                              6 14            651        4 15            579         460                534
ii334        _ Computer    speclaltst -..-.. _
                __ ._-_ --~-..~~
leo2           Compliance
                 -- ..__.-___.lnspect+on___.and support                       506            1739
                                                                                              ,i3 --0943s ~- - -..---,-   ol;-IT~t-- 406 -.--
                                                                                                                      1.176                             837
0393           Qmmunlcatlons       speclabst                                  4 42                   -.. - _..--.--___
 - _-
0132            lntelhgence I          --_~i...
                                                                              3 54            650_-      336
                                                                                                          _. _-__ ----___35          i .a7              428
0301            MtsceUaneous
                  ._ .._ ._--   adminlslratron    and program                 351           941._--
                                                                                         ___~              363
                                                                                                           .--.. -.__       855         3.72
c5oau           Eiecur~tyadmtn6tralton                                        271           221            1 51             199         529             170
                kveraoe~?w&htedl                                             11IIt%                        a 94%                        956%
                                                                                       arid FBI data

                                                      Table 11.1 also illustrates that quit rates have generally increased during
                                                      thr last 3 years for lvhich data are available. Between the most recent 2
                                                      fi.wai years-1987 and IS&S-the computer operation series has experi-
                                                      cnccd the largest increase (73 percent) among the occupations for which
                                                      quit rates were higher than 10 percent. In 9 of the 14 occupations, quit
                                                      rates were. to varying degrees, higher in fiscal year 1988 than in the
                                                      preceding 2 years. In four occupations-mail and file, computer opera-
                                                      tion. security administrz=tion. and communications specialist-quit     rates
                                                      in fiscal year 1988 were at least S7 percent higher than in the preceding

Turnover Varies Between                                   During fiscal ywr 1988. law enforcement agencies’ turrmver statistics
                                                          were higher for virtually every support staff series than in non-law
Law Enforcement and                                       enforcement agencies. Table II.2 compares nationwide law enforcement
Non-Law Enforcement                                       and non-law enforcement quit rates for the 14 support series. As shown
Agencies Because of the                                   in this and subsequent tables. the clerk-typist series is usually among
FBI’s Quit Rate                                           the highest in quit rates irrespxtive of the agency or location involved.
                                                                    .-                         -

Tablo II2 Comprriron                ot Law Edorcommc      ti   Non-Larr   Enlorcemenl   Agencies’   ouit Rtier      lar SWctmd    Support     staff    Sails   lw
                                                                                         Law enforcement                Non-law   6nforcomont

S0fi.S      ml. -- -~-~- --- -~
__..__. .~-----
0300        Securtty admm~strat~on                                                                                                                             1.15
_-..--       ~-I Intethgence
                  ___. ----~       _~_.~ ~. -
                .__.              --~ - anaprogram
                    .-.. ------ admtnlstratron
0303                   Ml~ellaneous     clerk and ass&&
._-. -..
--.--    -
                       :darland   We
0318              ~-     .- -. .-...- - -. .~- -
                                                                                           1778             2.09%  _ _.-. 1347 -.--_
Gii                    Clerk,typtst
                            __-~ _ _ .~~                                                                                                    ---37.416
                                                                                                                                                 .-.I ..--. .---132
0332                   Computer o*rallon                                                   :4:88             168           347                  9.062- _-___429
  .._                                                                                                                               .~.                          _
-... __                Computerspecrallsl                                                   6 1J             651           L”a7             ~-42.436          2 59
0356                   DaIaIranscrIber                                                     18 14             226           727                  5.766         250
6393          -        Communications     speclal61                                         442-            -113.          241
                                                                                                                            ----__-~            3.117
                                                                                                                                                   --___       1 0.3
                                  ._ .
0525                   Attounting   technclaii                                              901 -.           566           464                 19.978          1 94
05a                    Vouiher examlfirng                                                  1264    -         148 .. _~ ---.661 .-----           5.202
                                                                                                                                                ~-.-~__        194
Iiim                   Comphance rnspectron anb supoor:
                                                      -.                                    506             I ?39           5 70                 952           0.08
                       Avera& (we&ted1             --                                      t101"6       -                   6 22%                              1 77

                                                           As table II-2 illustrates, consolidated quit rate statistics for fderal law
                                                           enforcement agenck were higher than quit rates for non-law enforce-
                                                           nwnt fdwal agencies during kcal year 1988 for 13 of the 14 support
                                                           54~ies. Overall. quit rate stat&k for law enforcement agencies were
                                                           &Jut ii percent greater than for non-Iaw enforcement agencies. The
                                                           quit  KltCstatistics for computer operation in law enforcement agencies
                                                           w8zre about 4 times greater than for non-law enforcement agencies. The
                                                           quit rate statisticlj fr)r mail and file. computer specialist,. and data tran-
                                                           scriber were about 2 1: 2 times greater in law enforcement agencies than
                                                           in non-law enforcement agencies.

                                                           Our funher analyses of the fiscal year 1988 quit rates within the law
                                                           enforcement agencies show that the FM’Squit rates account primarily
                                                           for the overall difference between law enforcement and non-Iaw
                                                           enforcement quit rates. Table Il.3 shows that the FM’Saverage quit rate
                                                           frK all of the Wcupational fries was 16.52 percent-almost 2 l/2 times
                                                           eater than all of thP other law enforcement agencies. By excluding the
                                                           EM data. the average quit rate for ocher L.M- enforcement agencies (6.69
                                                           percent] is about comparable to the 692 percent shown in tabte 11.2for
                                                           non-law enforcement agencies.
                                                                        -..                       .-          ..,.--.
Table 11.4: Comparison   ot Fiacd   Year 1981 Law Enforcsmenl8nd         Non-Law    Enforcement          Support        Staff Quit   tlaler     in High- end
Low-Cost Cities
                                                  Law enforcement     age&e*                          Non-law enforcement     mencier
                                      -   kgh-cost    cltier           Low-cosi cities
                                                                  -__----           --__       High-cost cities             Low-cost cities
                                           Quit        Average          OUlt      Average     Quit            Average        Ouit       Avemge
            Title                          rate     population          rrte    population       rate      pOplJlUti6~       me       pOpUbti5fl
            Securttb admnsrr3tlc~           8 ‘0” 0
                                           Cd                xc         OQC~,                    2 16%                1 624  s7:"b               35
            Wteilqence                     .:fl               37’       CCC                      ;r 53                1068   000                 24
            admin~stral~on anC
            proyam                                                                                      .a 20              !0940              1 OT              396
            ‘hscellaneous clerk
            an0 awstanl                                                                                  7 32              11 a24              4 35            1011
            ‘Jab1and IlIe                                                                                ., 77              3 359              557               521
            Secrewi                                                                                      ‘Y7               28 j!8              537             1 325
            c’erk TtD61                                                                                * 7 74              '0 030             11 63             361
            Comoufer~operal~o~                                                                           3 56                1 403             2 11             237
            Cornpurer spec!allS!                                                                        -' 78              14 203             2 79              789
            Oara Iranscelber                                                                            307                    657            508               177
            speclaltst                                                                                  2 84                  881
            Acccunmg tectvcw                                                                            5 38                3 399
            ‘:oucher edam8nlrr 3                                                                        532                   870
             Compliance 17specI1cn
            and sur.,port                                                                               7 69                   :59
            ‘Au&&e l~&ghTed:                                                                            7 34%

                                                 ..\s table II.4 indicates, borh lxw vrrforr.cmtnt and non-law enforcement
                                                 ;igcnc.lt~s’suppcrrt staff turnc)v~~r.on an overall basis. was greater in
                                                 high-cost metropolitan arra!! rh;ln in low-cost metropolitan areas. For
                                                 each support staff seriw at the law enforcement agencies, the staff tum-
                                                 of’er was greater in high-cost c’itks compared with the low-cost cities. In
                                                 non-law    enforcement itgencit*s. it ic’xs greater in high-cost cities in 11 of
                                                 the 1-I series.

                                                 The table also indicates that. with the exception of the compliance
                                                 inspection and supwrt *rics. law enforcement quit rates exceeded all
                                                 non-law enforcement quit rates in high-cost cities. The law enforcement
                                                 agencies’ average quit rate for all of the series was twice that of non-law
                                                 enforcement agencies in high-cost cities. On the other hand. in low-cost
                                                 cities. the average quit rate for non-law enforcement agencie was about
                                                 1 3,‘4 times greater than that of the law enforcement agencies combined.
                         Appendb 11
                         %lppoH St8fr-nlmover st8u8tlcl vuy
                         Rotwee L8w Edorcernent 8nd !Wt-Law
                         comment       Ageode Prlmully lkw8uBToc
                         the FBI’S Quit ht@

                         Factors beyond pay accrlunt fr~r thv apparent diffcrcncc in quit rates
                         experienced by law cnforcemcnt agencies in the high-cost cities. The
                         tT)t’squit rates were again higher than those of the other law cnforce-
                         ment agencies in almost all serit! in the high-cwsccities. When FBIdata
                         were excluded. the non-law enforcement agencies’ average quit rate was
                         within 1 l/2 percent of that for law enforcement agencies combined. So
                         single city was responsible for making the t’m’s c~erall quit rates higher
                         than those of the other law cnforccmcnt agencies in the high-cmt cities.

                         Turnover of law enforcement support staff is it critical problem. accord-
aw Enforcement           ing to many law enforcement managers. The majority f-57 percent) of
Gknagers Perceive        law enforcement field office managers interviewed by SXIG in 1989
upport Staff             reported having difficulties retaining qualified support staff. In addi-
                         tion. law enforcement managers and personnel specialists told USthat
‘umover as a Critical    retaining qualified support staff is even more difficult than recruiting
Voblem                   them. According to law enforcement managers. high turnover creates
                         support staff shortages in many offices and results in increased rxruit-
                         ing and training costs and lost productivity.

.apid Turnover L-eaves   Turnover and recruiting problems have rcsuittd in support staff
                         shortages in many federal law enforcement offices. An analysis of sup-
lany Law Enforcement     port positions in the !%cret Service’s Los Angel- office showed that
lffices Understaffed     one-third of them were unfilled during fiscal years l9M and 1989. Simi-
                         Iarly. the Secret Service’s Boston office reported having GOpcrccnt of its
                         support staff positions unfilled between 19Fkiand 1989.

                         Federal law enforcement recruiters said they espend considerable time
                         and effort recruiting new support staff. Only to see a large number leave
                         within a relatively short period of time. According to law enforcement
                         managers, it is not uncommon for a single position to turn over several
                         times during the course of a year. FBIand Secret Service managers refer
                         to this situation as the support personne1 “revolving door.” That is, new
                         support employees acquire training and experience at government
                         expense and then leave for higher paying jobs in the private sector.
                         According to Secret Service and FBI officials, federal law enforcement
                         agencies have become support staff “training grounds” for law firms,
                         banks, and other private employers. In this regard, Secret tin-ice offi-
                         cials told us that their support staff, having met the agency’s high hiring
                         standards, become very attractive to other employers.

                         l%ge 19
                                Similarly. itccording to t ht* C’hicf of the l’erscmnct Kt?jcmrcc?i(‘nit.
                                bet wevn fiscal yews I980 3rd 1988. over one-half of the support staff
                                rcAgn;~tions from FM headquarters were employees with 2 years or less
                                (II n!n%c. C)vcrall. cmly IS percvnt of tw support staff stay with the
                                llureau until retircmcnt.

ligh Turnover Is                As discussed in appendix I. replacing law enforcement staff is espensive
                                and time consuming. The Secret Service and n%rc3timafc that it costs an
Zxpensive                       average of W.iOO to replace professional and support staff. The cumu-
                                1;ctivc costs of replacing employees c;in be particularly high when the
                                sittIlt’ Ix)sjticrn must be filled on a recurring basis.

                                l’hc~ cstinuites of the cost of turnover are limited to the more direct
                                posts of rccnriting new employetts. Total turnover costs are likely to be
                                much higher. since they also include such indirect costs as lost produc-
                                tivity while the position is vacant, the disruptive effect of the vacancy
                                on related jobs, loss of experience, reduction of work quality while the
                                replacement learns the job. and inoreascd requirements for trainmg and
                                supemision. Law enforcement personnel spcyiaiists were not able to pro-
                                itide training cost estimates for new support employees because most
                                law enforcement support training is conducted on the job and because
                                training costs vary by job series. They did note. however, that clerk-
                                typists can learn word processing within a few weeks of on-the-job
                                training, whereas new intelligence research specialists spend a J-ear
                                training on the job.

ligh Turnover Inhibits          Costs associated with lost productivity are difficult to quantify. Iiow-
                                ever, according to law enforcement managers, they include the costs of
‘roductivity                    ( 1) relying on inexperienced support staff and (2) having agents per-
                                form clerical duties.

~re#$,,~~          staffs &I?   Frequent turnover results in support staffs composed of gem?raHy inex-
                                perienced employees with little knowledge and skill. according to law
mover Fksults in Agents   In many ft4cral IilW cnforcrmcnt offices, support staff turnover ha.5
forming support Staff     forced inwstigatiw prwnnt+ to perform various support functions in
WtiOtlS                   order to m;lint:iin clfficic%ntopwations, thus creating morale and prtduc-
                          tivity problems. InfornIill surveys conducted by the FHI’SChicago and
                          SW+ York fi~~ltfotfic~cs in !&rrch 1989 and July 1989, reqectivcly, indi-
                          catcd that ;I sllbstiult ial number of agents were spending a significant
                          pw-tficm01 tlwir timtb on tlrltic?i that they ~rccivc-d rc~uld or should bc
                          done by SU~~IKTcmploycw. One agent commented:

                          This sitwtirm W:IS;tlso rcl;ttwl at the Secret Serx+e. where one manager
                          comm~ntcd that dw to t hc shortage of support staff, agents must spend
                          their time on clt~rical duties. such as filing and photocopying, as well a~
                          on technical dutws. such :LSdata entry on fraud and forgery operations
                          and checking c.ountcrft~it notes.

                          Page 21                       GAO/ GGDM     Frdclrt   kw   Enfwcemenr   Support Staff

aw Enfcrc~ment Support Staff Compensation
I Not ConsideredCompetitive With
                            S&stantial   clvidcncv      vsists tlut feilr!ral sector pay is nc-t compfxitivc
                            with private stu’tor pay for comparable support positions. AIthough spe-
                            cial salary    rates.  whcrc+av;ulablc. IIaIMW the @p bctwccn federal and
                            pnvatc     support    salarics. indicatiwts are that they have not been suffi-
                            cient to make federal salaries competitive. Federal law enforcement sup
                            port salarics aLso apparently cannot compete with support salarit5 in
                            some IW:~ law enfwccmcnc ap;encies.Federal law enforcement manag-
                            tarsAd two rclatcti conscquenct*s of the pay disparity between their
                            agcncir?; itnd both the private swtor and local agencic5 arc that

                        0 federal law enforcement agencies find attracting and retaining quaIified
                          support personnel increasingly difficult, and
                        l the overall quality of candidates who do apply for law cnforctmcnt sup-
                          pxt prjitions h&s declined markedly.

                            Sumcrous studies document the pay disparities       between the federal and
cumented Disparity          private sMors. According to the August 1989 report of the I’rcsident’s
tween Federal and           pay advisors. there was it gap averaging 29 percent betwcwn federal sal-
ivate Sector Salaries       arics and private salaries for comparable positions. To achieve compare-
                            bility with t ht* private sector, the pay advisors recommend4 that
                            ft&~ral salaries h increased at a graduated rate. from about 20 pcrccnt
                            at GS-1 to almostit 37 percent at GS-15.

                            Similarly, a 1589 study commissioned by WM found a significant pay
                            gap between federal and private ~alaries.~Of the .51positions ctudied,
                            prifpatc sector salary lcvcls exccyded federal levels by at least POper-
                            cent for 31)of’ the positions and by Xl percent or more for lti of the
                            positions. Table 111.I shows mran federal salaries and private sector sal-
                            a? ranges rcpcbrtc’d in the study for selected support positions.
                                                                                                                                              -        --
 11.1: Comparison   of Federal and                                                                                       ,-             -._                    -
, sector Salaries   for Selected                                                                                              Privrt*    ¶ectof       range
rt Staff Portions                                                                                      F.&d
                                     SerierJgrade          TM*                                __         mean                      __~ .I _ .__- -~~-.
                                     30313                 Millscellane’ous clefk                     SliS?E! - 514,771          ’ $19 406
                                     30513                 “iratl and Me                            -._-
                                                                                                                  ‘3~3c6 -- ~. ~---L-
                                                                                                                                                  l    19732

                                     322i4                  Clerk   typlsl                         --_.. 14.835
                                                                                                         -. -.    14652~~~ - _--
                                                                                                                 -~.                22.517        l

                                     525.4          -       Accoufwng        lechncc~a~                    14.812             17332               . 22.781
                                     318;5                  Secrelary                     -            17.237
                                                                                                   _---...   --     ---17 374
                                                                                                                            _ ------.”            l 22.255
                                     334!5                  Compuler    sp&~al~st                      16 ~-_-
                                                                                                           275 -..- 22.183
                                                                                                                        .----___                  l 26030
                                     332:6                  Carnouler   operation                      18.905        a.314                        . 26,211
                                     Source   $a~       cl Federal Employee Locdl~ty Pay Wall Campny

                                     As the table illustrates. mean federal salaries (whictl include special sal-
                                     ary rates riisc,rlsscd Mow 1 XP less than private seWor .:alarics for many
                                     support positions.

                                     .\ttracting   and retaining qualified support staff is difficult even for
ications That                        positions   coverod by special salary rates.-’according to law entorcement
cial Rates Are Not                   m;magrrs     and personnel specialists. For example. in one Secret Service
ficient to Compete                   field office. all-of the cleri&l positions covered by special rates have
                                     turned over at least once during the last 3 years. and .semehave turned
h Private Sector                     over wvcral     times. In the opinion of FBI and Secret $&-ice managers,
wies                                 special salary rates are “too little too late.” OPMhas remntiy :estified
                                     that the special rate program is unable to adequately zxidress the need
                                     for variances from the General Schedule. Moreover. law enforcement
                                     managers and personnel specialists said special salary rates create
                                     morale problems. For example. becausespecial rates apply to only cer-
                                     tain occupations at certain grades, siP,ations exist in which supervisors
                                     are not eligible to receive the special rates their subordinates receive.

                                     Page 23                                         GAO/GMMMO Fdud               law Enforcement Support Staff
J Gap Exists
.ween Federal and
ne Local Law
forcement Support

                         I,aa t’nforc*camcnl mimagcrs ;md personnel specialists consider ncncom-
I Disparity              pctiti\.cb compensation the lc;irling cause of their recruitment and reten-
lsidered Cause of        cion probl~~ms.This I’W!Vis generiiliy supported by owt, GAO, and other
                         studios th:ir indicate rhat noncompetitive federal salaries comribute to
truitment and            rr~~ruirmcnt ;tnd rctrntion problems throughout the federal government.
ention Problems

lagers Believe           In t III* trpinion of m3ny ftYilhritl law enforcement managers. noncompeti-
                         tlvc compcnsatlon is thr primary cause of their support staff recruit-
 competitive             mrnt and retention problems. Of the 102 federal law enforcement
lpensation Is            managers S.KI.E interviewed. i0 considered inadequate pay for support
ponsible for             staff t(J be a problem. Of the prdAemS       affecting law enforcement sup-
ruitment and Retention   port staff reported by these managers, pay was cited most often.
                         SirnililrIy. the law enforcement managers, recruiters, and staffing spe-
                         cialists we sprbkt with consider inadequate compensation      to be the major
                         contributor to their rccruitme!it and retention difficulties. In their expe-
                         rience. betow-market starting salaries prevent federal law enforcement
                         agencies from competing with the private sec?or for qualified, experi-
                         cnccd support     staff. A law enforcement manager explained that his
                         office gets Jvhat it pays for and attracts young and inexperienced work-
                         crs who lack the skills lo comprte in the prh-ate sector.

                         As with recruitment. law enforcement managers consider noncompeti-
                         tive compensation the leading causeof high support staff turnover. A
                         December 1989 Secret Se17-ictbmemorandum stated that the support
                         staff “quit for pay” rate could be characterized in one word--“EXO-
                         DE” The .Secret !W-Cce tracked all support staff resignations from the

                               + 18 cited “better salty’” as their rcl;dSr,nfor leaving;
                               . 1-l iIccTpt4 higher paying jobs in the private seWor.3 transferred to
                                 c,ther fctir~ral agencies. and 1 went to a local law enforcement agency;

                                 Similarly, each of the .il sc?port rmployws    who rl5igned from the FBI
                                 SIV liavtn tlffice between 1983 and 1989 cited the need to SAC higher
                                 in[.ixie ;LS t!~c principal reas0n for Iewing.

    ---        -
    Studies Support the View     CPX (;.A(,.and other studies crmclude that noncompetitive iederal sala-
                                 rics contribute to federal recruitment and retention problems. According
    That Noncompetitive Pay      to the 1989 Wyatt study:
    Is a Problem

                                  Similarly, in 1989 we reported that (1) to recruit and retain a quality
                                  wr)rkfr,tce, the federal government must pay competitive salaries and
                                  benefits and (2) the competition from the private sector was hurting the
                                  federal government’s ability to maintain the quality it needsto be effec-
                                  tlve: In addition, the 1989 report by the President’s pay advisors cau-
                                  tioned that the federal government’s *.ontinued ability to recruit and
                                  retain qualified employees is dependent upon pay comparability

                                  A 1989 employee exit surw_v conducted by the U.S. -Merit Systems Pre
                                  tection IkJard to determine reasons why employees resign from the fed-
                                  eral government also tends to confirm these views. The responses of a
                                  limited sample of professional and support staff lewing the Depart-
                                  ments of Justice and Treasury sugg+z&xl that compensation was one of
                                  the more important reasons for their resignations. Other important rea-
                                  sons included employees’ (1) desire to pursue nonwork interests and

                        improve career opportunities  u~tnd
                                                          (2) tfiss;rtisfac%ion with various            /
                        aspwts of !he job. such as poor use trf I heir skills and unfair treatment.     I
                                                                                                      _ i

Noncompetitive          dcclincn in applicant quality. acmrding to law enforrvment managers and
Compensation Also       pcrwnnel spwialists. Declining applicant quality, in turn, results in poor
Considered Cause of     quality support staffs. managers believe. For example. according to an
                        kw manager.    in January l!%N the WI’S Sew York field office tested 303
Staff Quality Decline   support applicants in basic skills and abilities. and only 44 passed, a
                        lower passing rate than was experienced in prior years. Overall, this
                        office recruits and tests over 33 applicants for every 1 successful appli-
                        r.ant it brings on board.

                        Because federal salaries are not competitive with the private sector, law
                        enforcement managers and personnel     specialists said they are fre
                        quently forced fo fill positions with minimally qualified candidates. The
                        cumulative result, they believe, is a marked decline in the quality of law
                        enforcement support staffs. Managers expressed concern over the
                        potential impact this workforce may have on agency operations. More-
                        over. since law enforcement agencies frequently promote their support
                        supen?sors and office managers from within. law enforcement officials
                        arc also concerned about the potential effect the quality of this
                        workforce will have on their future ability to staff such positions. How-
                        ever. none of the law enforcement managers or personnel specialists we
                        interviewed could provide any objective measure of the decline in sup-
                        port staff quality because they do not systematically track applicant
                        test scores or support staff performance over the years.

                        Page 26
l?i.sd Year 1988 Transfer Ratesfor i!Wcted
support Staff series

l.Me IV.2: Comparison    of FBI, 0th~ l.aw                                            . --             -,,                        -..
Enforcement    and Non-hw     Eniorcemont
Ag*ncior’   SuppOrt Stdf TrWWiOr RMeS
in H~II- and Low-Cost C-S      for FIwL                                                                                     Fel
Year 49aa                                                                                                    %nder
                                             Series   Title                                                          mtepc$z
                                             KY0      Scc:,rl!, .lc!~lln~srraflon                                    2.78%                72
                                             a:32     ?!Clll:plCC                                                    435                  92
                                             GO1      ‘.‘5.~~~l3~~~0~~~damtn6trarfon and program                     3.29                152
                                             3X3      *.‘~s~dan~~u~ c!err and assManl                                4 15                 772
                                                                                         _I-~ ~_
                                             c305     ‘,#a!1dnrl 1~112                                               401                1,570
                                                                                        - ----
                                             OS:8     Zecre!ar,                                                      1 15                436
                                             a322     E Fir t,pst                                                    492                 447
                                             r,332    Zmouwr     speralion                                           106                  94
                                             .;‘,34   S~mcb:cr :Eor..atlst                                           2 71                22t
                                             5356     3afa transcrlher                                               569                 123
                                             c393     Ckmmufw3tians      specraltsl                                  7 14                 14
                                             C525     Accounf~ni; ffcnnfclan                                         2.u                  41
                                             c5-m     Jcljcher ezamlnrng                                             536                  93
                                             1EC2     Camptfancc mspectlon and supporl.--                            4 52                155
                                                      A ;eral;c .vciq”tcdl                                           3 76%
                                   .._ Low-cnatcitbes
                                  Othw law enforcement          Non-law enkwcement
_-...          FBI-~-             __-     rgencies                     aaencw
 Transfer             Average      Trader           Average     Tmnrfer         Avemgu
      rate         population           rate poptdmiom                mte     pqwlation
       , ji:--                J         J CG’O              t         286%              35
           I’,                          ‘2CG                I         000               24
        .> ,..I                         I ‘X               6         1 52             396
                                         : 30             27         3 46            1011
                                        : 36               6         3 45             521
                                        i 33              30         498             1025
                                        3 co               11        942              261

                                                                     1 27              237
                                                                     I 14              709
                                                                     1 13              177
                                                                     500               ~40
                                                                     3 a9              560
                                                                     1 19               84
                                        .I 00             76         000                13
                                        7 60’7                       3 48%
Appendix V

Major Contributurs to This Report

                        LII-ry t I. Endy. Assis;lnt Duwtor, Fedtrat I tuman Resource Manage-
General Government         ment Issws
Division, Washington,   Hr,bcrt A. Kclrinchak. Assignment !&wager

c-1                     Page 30                      GAO/GGDtHl40   Federal JAW Fhhmmnent   Support   SUU





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