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FLEOA Letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid

February 14, 2012

Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leader Reid:

Over the past year, a myriad of bills have been introduced in Congress best summarized as "attempting to balance the budget on the backs of federal employees." Often missed in these proposals is the impact that they will have on federal law enforcement officers. During this time, we have engaged the Congress in an attempt to ensure that federal law enforcement pay and benefits were deservedly protected. Unfortunately, the legislation that has been introduced and considered in both the House and the Senate continue to rely on an "across the board” approach.

One such example is the changes to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) which the House of Representatives recently inserted into the 2012 American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, also known as the highway bill. The two most significant changes are: 1) requiring federal employees and Members of Congress to pay a total of 1.5 percent more toward their pensions over three years beginning in 2013, bringing law enforcement officers's to 3.2 percent in 2015; and 2) placing federal employees hired after December 31, 2012, as well as newly-elected lawmakers, under a high-five average salary calculation for annuities rather than the current high-three average pay calculation.

While FLEOA understands and appreciates the fiscal situation our nation faces, to attempt to fix the problem on the backs of federal law enforcement officers is wrong. The current FERS pension was a promise and agreement made with current federal law enforcement officers as a benefit for a lifetime of service. These proposed changes, if enacted, may have the net effect of driving future applicants for federal law enforcement positions to the ranks of State and local law enforcement, where officers still enjoy a superior pension percentage when they retire.

Few understand what it takes to protect and defend this nation. FLEOA believes federal law enforcement officers endure danger, hardships, and a lifetime of sacrifice all for the promise of a small pension at the end of their career. Some in the Senate have asserted that federal law enforcement officers "don't work any harder than any other federal employee" and "have a superior pension to state and local law enforcement officers." Those statements are ignorant of the sacrifices that federal law enforcement officers have made and the fact that each year so many fall in the line of duty or are injured protecting the American people. FLEOA would also like to invite any of those Members to take a short walk to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and see the over 18,000 names inscribed on the wall including those of federal law enforcement officers alongside their local and State brethren. That promise and those sacrifices deserve to be kept and honored and we hope that when this bill comes to the Senate later this week, that you will "back up" federal law enforcement officers as they do for the nation every day.

FLEOA appreciates your support and looks forward to working with you on this and future pieces of legislation important to our nations federal law enforcement cadre.

Respectfully,

Jon Adler
National President