U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigations
September 23, 1998
Mrs. Mary W. Demory
Assistant Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Mrs. Demory:
This letter is in response to your memorandum, dated August 21, 1998, in which you enclosed for our review the draft report of the review of the Violent Crime Task Forces of the United States Attorneys Office for the District of Columbia. This report has been thoroughly and carefully reviewed by the managers of the Violent Crimes and Major Offenders (VCMO) Section and field managers responsible for the Safe Streets Task Forces (SSTF) at the Washington Field Office (WFO). This review was coordinated through the Organizational Program, Evaluation and Analysis Unit.
The draft report recommends that the Director, Executive Office for the United States Attorneys, ... Coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to strengthen the administrative and internal controls over the review of overtime invoices and obtain $4,489 from the MPD for overtime incorrectly reimbursed. The FBI does not object to the need to further strengthen the administrative and internal controls over these invoices, however, disagrees with certain findings that form the basis of this recommendation. The FBI does object to obtaining payment from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) for reimbursement of $4,489 for a Lieutenants overtime.
The report includes a sampling of MPD overtime invoices that contained hourly overtime rates and total of overtime hours submitted for reimbursement that were incorrect. This led to two findings, contained on page ii of the Executive Digest section, critical of the FBIs control over the payment of overtime invoices.
The first of these findings state that the FBI had not clearly established procedures for reviewing overtime invoices. This assessment fails to account for existing FBI policy over these matters. On October 21, 1993, the FBIs Criminal Investigation Division (CID), sent a communication to All Offices setting forth administrative responsibilities for all entities involved in task force operations. This communication specifically addressed the overtime reimbursement for state and local law enforcement officers assigned to SSTFs. These instructions, or changes to portions thereof, were contained in five additional All Offices communications sent between 1994 and 1996. This topic has also been addressed at in-service training sessions and regional conferences.
The second of these findings state that the FBI failed to clarified the administrative responsibilities of the WFO and the Headquarters Safe Streets and Gang Unit (SSGU) for reviewing overtime invoices. Upon a review of the draft report, it appears that this particular assessment was made after interviews with managers of the WFO and SSGU, which offered seemingly contradictory statements concerning the entity responsible for reviewing the accuracy of overtime invoices. Notwithstanding these findings, it has been a long established policy that both entities share responsibility to ensuring the accuracy of these payments. This policy, communicated to the field offices as far back as October 1993 (see above), requires that the WFO ensure the internal accuracy of the MPDs monthly invoices, while the SSGU ensure that these payments are in accordance with the FBIs reimbursable agreement with the MPD, which establishes a cap on overtime payments at a rate not to exceed 25 percent of the annual salary of a Grade GS-10 Step 01 Federal employee.
Incorrect overtime payments identified by this review are largely due to the MPDs complicated and confusing time management system and not the result of any failure by the FBI to establish procedures for reviewing these payments. MPD overtime payments must meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires that an officer work at least 171 hours during a particular 28 day FLSA cycle. Once that requirement is satisfied, other hours worked are calculated on a time and a half basis. Until the 171 hours requirement is satisfied, officers are paid at a straight rate. Hours in excess of 171 are paid as overtime. Until a complete 28 day cycle is concluded and calculated, it is impossible to determine at what rate the individual officers pay rate will be calculated.
This function should remain the responsibility of the MPD since it would be impracticable to require the WFO to conduct monthly comparisons of MPDs monthly invoices to each individual officers time and attendance records, and annual salary records. But in order to strengthen existing controls, the WFO will continue to maintain the practice of reviewing each officers PD-1130 (Time and Attendance Report), and will re-institute the practice of requiring all officers to utilize the FBIs FD-420 attendance form. These forms will then be compared on a monthly basis to ensure accurate reporting of time on duty for overtime purposes.
The draft report further recommends that the FBI obtain payment from the MPD for overtime incorrectly reimbursed to a lieutenant on the Fugitive Task Force. Notwithstanding the findings of this review, the WFO has never had a policy to prohibit the reimbursement of overtime for officers above the rank of sergeant. This reimbursement, made in October 1996, is in complete compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in October 1995, that governs the District of Columbia Joint Fugitive Task Force. Additionally, there is no rank condition attached to the Contract Reimbursement Agreement. The SSTF guidelines for overtime reimbursement of state and local law enforcement officers only require that the individual is assigned full time (regular work hours for overtime hours) to the SSTF and that the overtime was worked in conjunction with SSTF investigations. The WFO has confirmed that the officer in question was a full time member of the task force during the time for which reimbursement was received.
In conclusion, the FBI recognizes a need to further strengthen the administrative and internal controls over the review of overtime invoices. In this respect, the SSGU has re-instituted the practice of requiring task force officers to utilize a FD-420 attendance form, which will then be compared, on a monthly basis, to each officers PD-1130 (Time and Attendance Report). However, the FBI disagrees with two of the findings in the draft report, which fail to recognize existing FBI policy in regards to these matters as established since 1993. The FBI does object to obtaining the $4,489 in overtime payments reimbursed to a lieutenant on the Fugitive Task Force. These payments are in complete compliance with existing regulations and the officer in question was a full time member of the task force at the time of these payments.
Deputy Assistant Director