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Ill-advised FECA Reform Bill

November 15, 2011

Honorable Joseph Lieberman
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Homeland
Security & Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Susan Collins
Ranking Member
Committee on Homeland
Security & Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Collins:

I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), to express our strong concerns with the government-wide reforms of the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) included in S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011,” approved by the Committee last week. While we do not argue over the need to reform both the U.S. Postal Service and FECA, we hardly believe it is appropriate or necessary to attempt both in the same legislative vehicle.

On July 26, we provided a statement for the record for a FECA hearing held by the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia. In it, we described how each year approximately 300 Federal law enforcement officers sustain line of duty injuries during violent physical encounters. We also noted how they suffer from serious duty-related injuries from vehicle accidents, toxins and hazardous materials exposure, and training incidents. We have also described, in meetings with Members of Congress and your staffs, that there is an urgent need for any FECA reform bill to not only recognize, but address, the unique nature of law enforcement work, the unique nature of law enforcement-related injuries, and the unique status of our nation’s Federal law enforcement officers. Indeed, the phrase "line of duty injury” means one thing for a law enforcement officer and something very different for other federal employees.

Unfortunately, the FECA reforms contained in Title III of S. 1789 do none of these things. Instead this bill advances a "one size fits all” solution, which begs the question: Is this really the message that Congress wants to send to the brave men and women who sacrifice their bodies and their health in defense of this Nation? I certainly hope that it is not.

Respectfully,

Jon Adler
National President