Happy New Year to all our brothers and sisters in green!
We wish health & blessings for all of you and your families.
Thank you to everyone working tonight keeping our nation borders safe!
The National Border Patrol Council would like to thank both President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence for seeking our opinion about the nomination of General Kelly as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. We have faith in President-Elect Trump, and although General Kelly does not have immigration experience, we recognize that he comes in with stellar credentials. We caution however, that because President-elect Trump’s meteoric rise was built on border security, we believe no other cabinet level nominee will be under more pressure to produce.
The NBPC was proud to endorse President-elect Trump very early on and we stood by him through thick and thin, and we continue to do so. However, our endorsement does come with expectations. We expect the new Administration to work with the NBPC to solve the historic problems within the Agency that have created an environment that consistently ranked at the bottom of all Federal Agencies in morale, job satisfaction, and trust in leadership. The challenge of meeting our expectations and solving these problems will be placed on the shoulders of General Kelly.
General Kelly’s troops, by all accounts, loved him, which, bodes well for the morale issue within DHS, and he appears to be a no-nonsense rule of law General. Tom Ridge is the closest comparison. Secretary Ridge also had stellar credentials but due in large part to the newness of the department and it’s size and breadth of work, he wasn’t successful. Unlike Secretary Ridge; however, General Kelly will have history on his side and if he comes in with a fresh approach – the non-establishment “outside of the box thinking” approach – and if he surrounds himself with the right people, we believe President-elect Trump’s administration will allow him to be successful.
We want to congratulate all elected officers for local 2554.
This are the results:
President: Mike Matzke
Vice President CAX: Guadalupe Valenzuela
Treasurer: David Yglesias
Sgt at Arms: Genaro Larios
Also big Kudos to the Election Committee members that worked tireless for 15hrs today!
Johnathan Dickey, Jaime Pacheco, Jacob Henderson, Ramon Arias.
Election Committee will be opening polls at 8am to 6pm located at our Local 2554 office at 1415 State St. El Centro, CA
As part of local 2554 efforts to secure an increase in our locality pay SGT at Arms Mike Matzke work on a petition package that he was able to present to the Federal Salary Council in person. At the same time President Amaya, IDO VP Friend, ELS VP Yglesias were able to meet to Congressman Vargas and Congressman Cook to secure letters of support. The letter of support were sent to the Federal Salary Council as well as each member of the President’s Pay Agent.
The combine efforts of local 2554 and the Executive Board hopefully will lead to an increase of locality pay not only for Border Patrol Agents but for all federal employees in the Imperial Valley.
Local 2554 would like to extend our gratitude to Christopher J. Harris
Director of Legislative & Political Affairs San Diego Local 1613. Director Harris in respond to Presidents Amaya request was able to facilitate the meetings with Congressman Cook and Congressman Vargas.
Here are the letters of support from Congressman Juan Vargas 51st District, and Congressman Paul Cook 8th District
THANK YOU CONGRESSMEN FOR SUPPORTING YOUR CONSTITUENTS AND YOUR BORDER PATROL AGENTS.
LETTERS OF SUPPORT:
Union Election Date Changed
To November 29, 2016
In order to ensure that all union members have a chance to receive an absentee ballot and vote in the upcoming election, the Election Committee has moved the date of the election to November 29, 2016. To vote in the union election, you can either go to the Union Office located at 1415 State St. El Centro between the hours of 8am to 6pm on November 29th,or request a ballot be mailed to you at email@example.com , please include the last four of your social and your current address. If you have already turned in a ballot it will be counted on November 29th. Election committee members are Johnathan Dickey (760) 879-6957, Jacob Henderson (585) 356-7983, and Jaime Pacheco (760) 554-1756.
The Agents running for E-Board are as follows.
for Calexico Vice President:
Sergeant at Arms:
The Offices of, Vice President EL Centro Station Anthony Maielli, and Vice President Indio Station Ray Friend, each received only one nomination and therefore the nominees were elected by acclamation.
Calexico Station Raises Money for Fallen Officers
Police Officer Lesley Zerebny and Police Officer Gil Vega of Palm Springs Police Department were shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call on October 9th 2016. BPA Henderson organized a raffle, and SBPA Nunez, SBPA Solorio, helped BPA Henderson with a cook out. Between the two events over $1,400.00 was raised for the fallen officers. On November 14th they will deliver the funds to Palm Springs Police Department.
Fallen Agent Fund to Put up Trees at Stations
Agents involved in the Fallen Agents Fund will be putting up Christmas Trees November 18th. Last year agents collected 192 presents for 42 children. This year we have over 80 children on our list. We will be putting up the Christmas trees November 18th and collecting the presents December 9th. This year the Brush Dawgs, peer support and Border Patrol Chaplains will be helping us to deliver the presents across the southern border. We also have families in Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Orleans. This provides the challenge of the cost of shipping large packages, and guaranteeing the delivery before the holiday. If agents want to help with the logistical costs they can go to fallenagentsfund.org and donate. We would like to thank all the agents that donated funds and Christmas presents last year, and we look forward to reminding the families of our fallen agents that they are not forgotten and they have a larger greener family now.
Packet for Location Pay Submitted
Local 2554 submitted a proposal for location pay to the Federal Salary Council on October 12, 2016. The packet was received and included in the meeting agenda on October 28th. On October 28th BPA Matzke attended the Federal Salary Board Meeting in Washington D.C. Matzke thanked the board for their support, updated the board with the latest attrition rate numbers, and offered to answer any questions the Federal Salary Council may have. The Federal Salary Council recommended that Imperial County receive LA or Riverside Location Pay which is 27.65% compared to Rest of U.S. Pay (RUS) which is 14.35%. The next step in the process is the Presidents Pay Agent will decide to accept or reject the Federal Salary Councils recommendations. The public is not allowed at the Presidents Pay Agent meeting, so Local 2554 has taken the location pay issue as far as it can be taken this year. If the Presidents Pay Agent accepts the proposal Federal agents in Imperial County could see a raise in pay as early as 2018. If the Presidents Pay Agent denies the proposal BPA Matzke will submit a proposal every year until the Presidents Pay Agent breaks.
BPA Matzke at the Federal Salary Board in Washington D.C.
NOPA Letter from OPM by way of OPR/OIA
Agents are at risk from the next questionable practice coming from OPM and OPR/OIA:
Notice of Proposed Action (NOPA) letters and the severe effect that such proposed action may have on an Agent’s career.
The letter usually starts with:
Dear John Smith
The Office of Internal Affairs, Personnel Security Division, recently completed an investigation
Into your background to determine your suitability for continued employment with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). During the investigation, derogatory information was disclosed/developed that raised serious concern as to your suitability for employment with CBP.
This section is basically informing the recipient that there is intended action being proposed regarding that individual Agent’s career. In this case, “The Office of Internal Affairs, Personnel Security Division” is recommending that the individual Agent is not suitable for continued employment. If the Agent does not provide adequate explanation for why the Agent should continue to be employed by DHS, CBP, USBP, then it is completely conceivable that the Agent in receipt of one of these types of letters, could find him/her self out of a career without the recourse of due process. That is the most freighting prospect of these types of letters!
Local 2554, first began seeing letters of this type of letter, (Notice of Proposed Action letters), about 4 or 5 years ago. With the assistance of Union Representatives, Jose Arroyo and David Hannan, Local 2554 assisted members in receipt of such letters. Because NBPC and our Local (2554) have always believed in educating our members and invest in the training of our reps, we were prepared for these letters when they eventually surfaced in the El Centro Sector.
Once the Union Representative was assigned the tone and the urgency of the letters received by the Agent, seemed to change.
1.) The Agent designated the Union Rep. via Form G-956.
2.) The Rep contacted the investigator named in the letter and requested the documentation
used to arrive at the conclusion that the Agent’s career should not continue.
3.) Once that information was completely provided, the representative could then review such information and clarify what if any information pertained was subject to consideration and or was not applicable for whatever reason.
4.) The correct, complete and or “current” status was provided to the investigator so that the information would then become subject to consideration.
5.) A letter was then generated by “The Office of Internal Affairs, Personnel Security Division” informing the Agent of the final disposition of his/her case.
I recall that in our sector, there were at least 12 members affected by these types of letters. All 12 cases were resolved to the benefit of our Union members.
The outcome was that all members represented in such an event, eventually received a letter that read as follows:
You were previously notified by letter or telephone of the specific conduct that raised this concern. However, mitigating information was received that lessened the severity of the conduct and/or demonstrated you have taken action to address and/or resolve this concern. You are advised that all CBP employees are expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.
Failure to uphold the CBP Standards of Conduct may result in referral to the Office of Human Resources Management, Labor and Employee Relations, for action (including removal), as deemed appropriate.
We have determined that you are suitable for CBP employment. This determination is contingent upon your acknowledgment and return of the enclosed Acknowledgment of Advisement Letter. Please review, sign, and return the enclosed in accordance with the instructions provided.
If you receive a letter with a Notice of Proposed Action from The Office of Internal Affairs, Personnel Security Division, or whatever the next name change results in, run don’t walk to see your local Union Representative and ask that they assist you with this matter.
By Fernando Gurrola
IF YOU ARE HAVING A CONCERN WITH MANAGEMENT PLEASE CONTACT A UNION REPRESENTATIVE.
An Agent has 30 days from the incident to file a grievance,
45 days from an incident to file an EEO complaint.
Never talk to OIG or IA/OPR without a lawyer or a Union Rep present.
Always put the Garrity language in your use of force memorandums.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for the Monthly Newsletter please contact Mike Matzke at the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFGE/NBPC/LOCAL 2554 E-BOARD MEMBERS
Calexico Station Vice-President
El Centro Station Vice President
Indio and Riverside Vice-President
Email to: email@example.com
EMAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
EMAIL TO: email@example.com
SGT AT ARMS
EMAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to an error on the last Election Notice and to be in compliance with local constitution and Department of Labor regulation, we had to postpone the elections until November 29, 2016.
The email address where to request the absentee ballots and communicate with the Election Committee was wrong in the first notice. Now is corrected.
Here is the corrected notice:
This is one of our former stewards. It is highly unlikely he will ever return to being a PA and he is still having operations and rehab. If you guys could spread the word I would appreciate it.
Border Patrol Agent Anthony Ponzio from the Campo Station has been approved as a recipient for the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. On December 5, 2015, BPA Anthony “Tony” Ponzio was struck by a vehicle while bicycling off-duty in Alpine, CA. Due to the extent and severity of his injuries, Tony was emergency-airlifted from the scene to Sharp Memorial Hospital suffering from several broken bones and internal bleeding. After three months in various hospitals, multiple surgeries, intense inpatient rehabilitation and physical therapy, he was released from the hospital. His mobility is assisted through the use of a wheelchair. Additional surgeries, coupled with inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and physical therapy will be necessary in the immediate future.
Anyone wishing to donate Annual Leave may use the Leave Donor Form (OPM Form 630-A “Request to Donate Annual Leave to Leave Recipient under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program”). The information required on the form should be legible and complete. The forms can be obtained from the following link: https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/opm630a.pdf or you can contact your Mission Support Staff.
If you would like to donate leave to BPA Anthony Ponzio, please complete an OPM form 630A, scan and email all completed forms with signatures to the SDCLeaveRequests@cbp.dhs.gov or fax to (619) 216-4087.
Please note: Do not use “VLTP” on the email subject line. Please use “Leave Donation” or “OPM 630A.”
Questions may be directed to MSS Wendy Cooper at San Diego Sector’s Workforce Management Department at (619) 216-4050 or (619) 216-4069.