oversight

Pay and Benefits: Contract Court Security Officers Compared to U.S. Deputy Marshals

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-04-16.

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

                                                  PAY AND BENEFITS
                                                  Contract Court
                                                  Security Officers
                                                  Compared to U.S.
                                                  Deputy Marshals


                                                                   141135




---.-_----                 _--._..~_--___-._______I____-   -----
(;Ao,/‘(;(;i)-!)o-(i71”s
       [[nited States
GAO    General Accounting Offke
       Washiugton, DC 20548

       General Government      Division


       B-237514

       April 16,199O
       The Honorable         Harry    Reid
       Chairman,        Subcommittee       on
          Legislative        Branch
       Committee        on Appropriations
       United      States    Senate

       Dear     Mr.    Chairman:

       This    fact    sheet     responds      to your request           that     we compare      the
       pay and benefits            of court      security     officers--contract
       employees       who provide        routine      court    security        services     in
       federal      court    buildings--       with     the pay and benefits              of U.S.
       Marshals      Service       deputy    marshals,       who could        alternatively
       fill    this    role.

       This   letter         summarizes   the results                of our       work and is
       supplemented           by appendix    I, which               contains       further details.
       BACKGROUND

       The U.S. Marshals              Service         provides         security         for the federal
       judiciary         using     deputy      marshals,           who are federal                employees,
       and court         security       officers,          who are employed                 by contractors.
       By an agreement             between        the Administrative                   Office      of the U.S.
       Courts      and the Marshals               Service,         funds      appropriated             to the
       federal       judiciary        are transferred                to the Marshals               Service      for
       security-related              services         and equipment,               including         the
       contracting          for court        security          officers.             In fiscal         year
       1989,     the Marshals           Service        had a total            of 17 contracts
        (awarded       to six contractors)                 to provide           court       security
       officers        in the 94 federal                judicial        districts.             These
       contracts         cost about         $34 million.               While      contractors            pay the
       salary      and benefit          costs       for court          security         officers,         they
       are reimbursed            by the government                 in accordance              with     contract
       terms     that      specify      salary        and benefit           amounts.

        Court      security       officers         operate     the security           posts      at
        building        entrances         to control       access       to buildings           that      house
         federal      court     facilities.            Deputy     marshals,         on the other
        hand,      provide      security         in courtrooms          during      criminal         trials.
        Deputy      marshals       also have many other                 responsibilities,
      I) including        apprehending           federal     fugitives,         operating          the
        witness       security        program,       transporting          federal        prisoners,         and
        carrying        out court         orders     and arrest         warrants.
B-237514

RESULTS       IN BRIEF

We found     that   the contract          cost     for court       security     officers’
pay and benefits         generally        was lower        than the cost of using
deputy    marshals.       While entry-level              deputy     marshals     were paid
less   than court      security       officers,        the pay rate         for deputy
marshals    after     about     l-1/2     years      of service       generally
exceeded    the pay for court             security       officers.

Retirement         and health          benefits       for court        security        officers
also were generally               less costly           than those        provided         to deputy
marshals.          Basic     life      insurance        was the only benefit                 we
identified         for which        the contractor’s              cost exceeded            that  of
the Marshals          Service.           In the five        districts         in which
contractors          provided       life      insurance       for court         security
officers,        the $145 annual             cost     per employee         was from two to
three      times more than the cost                   of life       insurance       provided       to
deputy       marshals.

APPROACH

We compared           the pay and benefits                  of contract       court      security
officers        in a random selection                   of 10 of the 94 federal
judicial        districts         to the pay and benefits                  provided         by the
civil      service        pay system         that     covers    deputy       marshals.           We
obtained        the contract            cost     for court      security        officers          from
contract        files       at the Marshals             Service     headquarters            in
Washington,           D.C.       Six of the 17 contracts                  and four       of the
six winning           contractors           were represented            in the 10 selected
districts.            The benefits           we reviewed        were retirement,                health
insurance,           and life       insurance.            We chose these         benefits
because       they were the most significant.                          To estimate            the pay
and benefits            of deputy         marshals        to provide       these      security
services,          we used the General                Schedule      pay rates         for federal
employees          and information             provided       by the Marshals            Service,
such as grade             levels,       number of deputy            marshals        at each
level,      and special           pay rates.            The results        apply      only to the
10 selected           federal       judicial        districts       and cannot          be
projected          to other       districts.            More detailed         information            on
our objective,              scope,      and methodology           is contained            in
appendix        I.

We discussed         the factual      information               presented    in        this    fact
sheet     with     Marshals   Service      officials,              who agreed          that    the
information         we developed      was accurate.



As arranged    with the Subcommittee,      copies    of this   fact                            sheet
are being   sent to the Attorney      General,    the Administrative
    ”
                            2
B-237514

Office    of   the U.S. Courts,     and    other   interested       parties.           We
will   also    make copies  available        to others     upon   request.

The major   contributors       to   this  fact    sheet   are listed           in
appendix  II.      If you   have    any questions,      please    call         me on
275-8676.

Sincerely      yours,

sqs,,
L. Nye Stevens
Director,     Government    Business
   Operations     Issues
                                              CONTENTS

                                                                                    Page

LETTER                                                                                1

APPENDIXES
      I          COMPARISON OF PAY AND BENEFITS OF                                    5
                 CONTRACT COURT SECURITY OFFICERS WITH
                 U.S. DEPUTY MARSHALS

      II         MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS           TO THIS            FACT SHEET          14


TABLES

           I.1   Number of     Court      Security         Officers        by
                   District

           I.2   Annual     Pay of Contract              Court    Security
                   Officers     by District
           I.3   Deputy    Marshals'      Pay by Grade Levels
                   Shown As a Percentage         of Court
                   Security     Officers'     Pay by District
           I.4   Employers'      Annual      Contribution             to             12
                   Health     Insurance

           I.5   Federal   Employers'         Annual    Cost for                     12
                   Employees'    Basic        Life   Insurance

FIGURES

           I.1   Deputy  Marshals'     Salary    by Grade Level                      10
                   and Average     Court   Security    Officers'
                    (CSO) Salary    in 10 Districts


                                          ABBREVIATIONS
cso                    Court   Security     Officer
CSRS                   Civil   Service     Retirement       System
FEGLI                  Federal    Employees      Group Life       Insurance
FEHBP                  Federal    Employees      Health     Benefits      Program
FERS                   Federal    Employees      Retirement       System
FICA                   Federal    Insurance      Contributions        Act
OPM                    Office   of Personnel        Management




                                                     4
APPENDIX         I                                                                                  APPENDIX         I

                              COMPARISON OF PAY AND BENEFITS
                           OF CONTRACT COURT SECURITY OFFICERS
                                 WITH U.S. DEPUTY MARSHALS

OBJECTIVE,           SCOPE,      AND METHODOLOGY

Our objective           was to compare             the costs          of pay and benefits          of
contract       employee       court       security        officers         with   those     of deputy
marshals.          To do this,          we obtained           the contract          cost    for court
security       officers       from the contract                 files      for 10 of the 94
federal      judicial       districts.             We estimated            the pay and benefits          of
deputy      marshals       using      information           provided         by the Marshals
Service      and federal          pay rates          contained          in the 1989 General
Schedule       for federal          employees.           The benefits            we reviewed      were
retirement,         health      insurance,           and life         insurance.         These elements
 (pay and selected            benefits)         make up about              SO percent       of the total
contract       cost     for court         security        officers.           The remainder       covers
general      and administrative               expenses          and profit.

We randomly       selected      the following            10 of the 94 federal             judicial
districts      for review:           Arizona,       central    California,        southern
California,       northern      Illinois,         eastern     Louisiana,       middle
Louisiana,       Maryland,      Nevada,       eastern       New York,       and Puerto       Rico.
The results       apply    only      to these       10 federal       judicial     districts        and
cannot      be projected      to other        districts.

We did       not verify          the contract            pay    rates  with         the      payroll      records
of the       contractors           because   of        time     and resource              constraints.

COURT SECURITY             OFFICERS

In fiscal         year       1989, the Marshals                Service        contracted           for 1,139
court      security          officers         nationwide         to provide          security          at federal
courthouses.               In order         to qualify         for these         positions,
applicants          must be graduates                  of certified           law enforcement
training        programs.              They must also have had at least                            3 years      of
law enforcement                experience.             According        to Marshals            Service
officials,          these        specific        qualification            requirements             assure     the
Service       of getting             highly      qualified,         highly       skilled,          experienced
security        officers           to handle         the security           needs of the federal
judiciary.            Court        security        officers        work in federal                courthouses
and federal           buildings           that     have federal           court      facilities.             Their
primary       role       is to operate             security        posts      at building            entrances.
By serving          as a "first             line    of defense,"            they provide             a daily
deterrent         and reactive              force      against      unauthorized,              illegal,       or
potentially           life       threatening           actions      against        judges,         jurors,
witnesses,          defendants,             other      court    personnel,           or property.

         Y

                                                          5
APPENDIX       I                                                                       APPENDIX    I

The pay and benefits             of court      security        officers      vary among
contractors         and judicial      districts.            The Marshals        Service    awarded
17 contracts          to six contractors          that      covered       the 94 judicial
districts        for fiscal      year 1989.         Contracts         are segmented       by
district       and the Marshals         Service      pays the contractor               the same
hourly      rate    for all    court    security        officers        in a district.       Table
I.1 shows the number of court                  security        officers       in the 10
districts        in our sample.

                                               Table    1.1:
                   Number       of   Court   Security     Officers   by District

                                                                               Number of
                                                                            court     security
District                                                                       officers

Arizona
California,           central
California,           southern
Illinois,          northern
Louisiana,          eastern
Louisiana,          middle
Maryland
Nevada
New York,          eastern
Puerto    Rico
    Total

U.S.       DEPUTY MARSHALS

Deputy   marshals    are career    civil    servants    and are paid under       the
General    Schedule    for federal     employees.      New deputy    marshals    are
hired   at the GS-5 or GS-7 level,          in accordance     with   standard
Office    of Personnel     Management    (OPM) qualification       requirements.
These requirements        are
--     for GS-5, a college    degree,               3 years    of general        experience,      or
       a combination   of education                and experience.

--     for GS-7, a college     degree    plus             successful     completion    of law
       or graduate   education    in a field               related     to law enforcement,
       or 3 years  of general     experience               plus    1 year of specialized
       experience.
APPENDIX           I                                                                  APPENDIX     I

The Marshals        Service    has an OPM-approved         agreement    that
authorizes      accelerated       promotions      of GS-5 deputy     marshals     to GS-7
after    6 months     service.       Because    of this,    GS-5 deputy      marshals
can reach the full          performance      level    of GS-11 after      about   2-l/2
years    of service.        As of November         5, 1989, there    were 1,256
deputy     marshals     at GS-5 through        GS-11 grades     as follows:

                                        Number of                       Percentage
Grade      level                       deputy marshals                at each level
   GS-11                                       903                            71.9
   GS-9                                        135                             10.7
   GS-7                                        158                             12.6
   GS-5                                          60                             4.8
Total                                       1,256                            100.0

PAY

In 9 of the 10 federal               judicial       districts       in our sample,          GS-5
and GS-7 deputy            marshals'      pay was less than contract                  court
security      officers'        pay.     According         to the General         Schedule,      the
1989 annual         salary     for a GS-5 step             1 was $15,738;        for a GS-7 step
1, $19,493;         for a GS-9 step           1, $23,846;        and for a GS-11 step             1,
$28,852.         (We used step         1 for    GS-5, GS-7, and GS-9 pay because,
according       to a Marshals          Service      personnel       official,        deputy
marshals      in these       grades     generally         are promoted        before     or soon
after    they     receive      a step     increase.           For consistency,          we also
used step        1 for     GS-11 pay.)

The 1989 annual       pay for a court     security             officer   in the 10
districts      ranged  from $11,192    to $26,134              and averaged       $20,649.
Table     I.2 shows the annual      pay of court              security   officers       for
each district.




                                                    7
                                                                                                          c




APPENDIX        I                                                                      APPENDIX       I



                                               Table  1.2:
      Annual         Pay of        Contract   Court  Security      Officers       by District

District                                                                         Annual   pay
Arizona                                                                              $20,845
California,             central                                                       23,936
California,             southern                                                        22,195
Illinois,            northern                                                           19,600
Louisiana,            eastern                                                           20,712
Louisiana,            middle                                                            19,780
Maryland                                                                                20,900
Nevada                                                                                  21,216
New York,            eastern                                                            26,134
Puerto        Rico                                                                      11,192


We found        that    GS-5 deputy         marshals'       pay generally           was 60 to 80
percent       of court      security        officers'        pay, and GS-7s'            pay generally
was 75 to 99.5 percent                of court        security       officers'       pay in 9 of
the 10 districts            in our sample.              In the only district               where
entry-level          deputy    marshals'         pay   exceeded        court     security
officers'         pay (Puerto        Rico),      we found       that     GS-5s'     and GS-7s'      pay
was 141 and 174 percent                 of court       security        officers'        pay,
respectively.            Table     I.3 shows a detailed                pay comparison          by
district.




                                                     8
APPENDIX         I                                                                       APPENDIX        I

                                                Table  1.3:
                 Deputy         Marshals'     Pay by Grade Levels   Shown As a
            Percentage          of Court      Security  Officers' Pay by District
                                       U.S.      Deputy       Marshals

District                                      GS-5             GS-7       GS-9             GS-11
Arizona                                        75.5             93.5       114.3           138.4
California,     central                        65.7             81.4        99.6           120.5
   Los Angelesa                                76.7             89.5       106.2
California,             southern               70.9             87.8       107.4           129.9
Illinois,            northern                  80.3             99.5       121.7           147.3
Louisiana,            eastern                  75.9             94.1       115.1           139.3
Louisiana,            middle                   79.5             98.5       120.5           145.9
Maryland                                       75.3             93.2       114.1           138.0
Nevada                                         74.1             91.8       112.3           135.9
New York,            eastern                   60.2             74.5        91.2           110.4
   Brooklyna                                   70.2             82.0        97.3
Puerto        Rico                            140.6            174.1      213.1            257.8
aFor these          two high-cost        geographic       locations       (Los Angeles      in the
central        California     district       and Brooklyn         in the eastern       New York
district),          a special     salary     rate    authorized       by OPM covered       deputy
marshals        at grades     GS-5, GS-7, and GS-9.                 Deputy    marshals    at
other      locations      in these       two districts         do not receive        a special
salary       rate.

The pay of newly                hired      deputy     marshals       was generally           less   than
that     of court        security          officers.          However,      with     the Marshals
Service's         training          and promotion           program,      GS-5 deputy          marshals
can become GS-9's                 after       about   l-1/2      years    of service.           At the
GS-9 level,           the pay of deputy               marshals       exceeded        that    of court
security        officers          in 8 of the IO districts                 and in part          of one
other     district--          the high-cost           area of Los Angeles.                 In addition,
the full        performance             level     for deputy        marshals,        which     can be
attained        in 2-l/2          years,       is GS-11.         Of the total          deputy     marshals
at grades         GS-5 through             GS-11,     about      72 percent         (903 of 1,256)
were GS-Ills,            who are paid several                  thousand       dollars      per year more
than court           security        officers.          (See fig.       1.1.)




                                                          9
APPENDIX       I                                                                                   APPENDIX     I


Figure     1.1:       Deputy    Marshals'   Salary                 by Grade Level              and Average
Court     Security      Officers'      (CSO) Salary                  in 10 Districts


                                      40   Thousands of dollar8




                                      25


                                      20


                                      15


                                      10


                                       5

                                           csoQs4             OS-7     m-9      OS-11

                                      Note: Almost 72 percent of deputy marshals in these grades were OS-1 1.

BENEFITS

In all     10 districts,          the costs          of retirement          and health            benefits
for deputy        marshals       were generally             higher    than the costs                of those
provided      to court       security       officers.            In the five           districts         in
which contractors            provided       life       insurance      for court            security
officers,       the Marshals          Service's          cost    for basic        life       insurance
per deputy        marshal     was less than contractors'                     cost        for life
insurance        per court       security        officer.          However,      the higher            cost
for life      insurance        is not sufficient               to offset       the higher             cost of
other     benefits      provided       to deputy          marshals.
Retirement

Marshals      Service    employees       hired     before      January     1984 are covered
by the standard         governmentwide         retirement         system--Civil        Service
Retirement       System    (CSRS).       The Federal         Employees      Retirement
System     (FERS) covers        employees      hired      since    January      1984 and those
who voluntarily         converted      to FERS.

The 1989 Marshals    Service contribution                             toward   retirement                for
deputy marshals   under CSRS was 8.95                             percent    of salary--7.5



                                                       10
APPENDIX       I                                                                          APPENDIX       I

percent       of pay for CSRS plus             1.45 percent           for medicare.              The
1989 contribution             for deputy       marshals        under FERS varied             from a
minimum contribution               of 33.77 percent            to a maximum contribution
of 37.77       percent.         The minimum contribution                 was 7.51 percent            for
Social      Security       (FICA),      25.26 percent          to the Civil         Service
Retirement        and Disability           Fund, plus         an automatic        contribution           of
1 percent       of an employee's            pay to the Thrift              Fund.      In addition,
the federal         employer       matches     dollar-for-dollar              an employee's
contributions           to the Thrift        Fund for the first                3 percent       of pay,
and $.50 on the dollar                for the next         2 percent         of employee
contributions.            The federal        employer's          contribution         to the Thrift
Fund is limited           to a maximum of 5 percent                   of an employee's            pay.
Contract     court    security      officers          are covered     by FICA.      The
contractors'       1989 contribution               for FICA (including         medicare)   was
7.51 percent       of employees         pay,       which     is less  than the percentages
the Marshals       Service     contributed            toward    the retirement      of deputy
marshals.
Health      Insurance

The Marshals         Service     generally        contributed        more toward      employees
health     insurance       premiums      than did contractors              for health
insurance       in all     10 districts         that     we reviewed.         (See table     1.4.
Under the standard            governmentwide           Federal      Employees     Health
Benefits       Program      (FEHBP),     a federal         employer,     by law, pays 60
percent      of the average         high-option          premium      of six of the largest
health     plans     but not more than 75 percent                   of the premiums       of any
individual        plan.

Health   care premiums       paid by contractors        generally        corresponded
closely    to the government's         premiums   for individual          plans.
Under the contracts,         there   is no provision       for higher         payments
for family     health    care plans.       This results      in more costly
health   benefits     for deputy     marshals    who select       family      plans.




1The     Marshals    Service   contribution     is substantially       less than the
full     cost   to the government        of CSRS benefits.       Under FERS, full
cost     is charged     to each agency.
                                                    11
APPENDIX            I                                                                                  APPENDIX   I
                                                    Table      1.4:
               Employers'             Annual      Contribution            to      Health    Insurance

                                               Maximum        premium
                                               payment        by                      Premiums   paid
Judicial         district                      Marshals        Servicea               under contract

Arizona                                        $1,181/2,586                                  $1,180
California,                central              1,181/2,586                                    1,180
California,                southern             1.181/2,586                                    1,180
Illinois,               northern                1,181/2,586                                    1,180
Louisiana,               eastern                1,181/2,586                                    1,184
Louisiana,               middle                 1,181/2,586                                    1,199
Maryland                                        1,181/2,586                                    1,180
Nevada                                          1,181/2,586                                    1,180
New York,               eastern                 l,i81/2,586                                    1,180
Puerto         Rico                             1,181/2,586                                    1,227
aThe first        figure              represents        the employer's               contribution         for
individual        plans;              the second        represents     the           contribution         for
family     plans.

Life        Insurance

The Marshals     Service     provides      life      insurance      to its   employees
under the governmentwide           Federal         Employees      Group Life    Insurance
(FEGLI)   program.       Under this     program,          the federal      employer    pays
one-third    of the cost of basic             life     insurance.

                                                 Table     1.5:
                                     Federal   Employers'       Annual     Cost
                                  for Employees'     Basic     Life    Insurance
                                                          Federal    Employers'
       Grade     Level                                        Annual   Cost
             GS-5                                                     $43.29
             GS-7                                                         52.91
             GS-9                                                         62.52
             GS-11                                                        74.55


In five    of the districts                       in our sample,        contractors      provided     life
insurance;      in the other                    five  districts,        contractors      did not
provide    life    insurance.                     When life      insurance      was provided,     the
                                                              12
APPENDIX       I                                                                         APPENDIX        I
$145 annual         cost per court           security      officer     was more than the
Marshals       Service’s        cost     for life     insurance       provided       to deputy
marshals,        which     ranged      from $43 to $75 annually.                 However,
because     life      insurance        is not provided          to court      security        officers
in all    districts          and because         of the relatively           small     additional
annual    cost,      the difference            is not enough        to offset        the more
costly    other      benefits        provided      to deputy       marshals.




                                                   13
APPENDIX     II                                                                  APPENDIX       II
                     MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS              TO THIS   FACT SHEET
GENERAL GOVERNMENT DIVISION,                WASHINGTON,        D.C.

William     Engel,    Assistant     Director,          Government     Business     Operations
   Issues
Loretta     Walch,   Evaluator-In-Charge
Katharine     Cunningham,       Evaluator




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