The United States Marshals Service's Workforce Planning and Management
(Redacted for Public Release)

Audit Report 07-38
July 2007
Office of the Inspector General


Chapter 4: Pay Compensation and Career Progression

The USMS uses several different types of operational employees to accomplish the various functions assigned to the agency. During our discussions with USMS operational personnel throughout FY 2006, many individuals noted their dissatisfaction with their career progression opportunities and pay compensation. In September 2006, the USMS made revisions to the career progression system for its operational workforce. We believe the USMS should closely monitor the implementation of this new system to ensure it is put into action as designed and serves the needs of the USMS and its workforce.

Three-Tiered Workforce

In FY 2000, the USMS established a three-tiered workforce model for its operational employees. According to a USMS headquarters official, the USMS took this action to more appropriately match employee skill and pay levels with job tasks after officials recognized that the USMS frequently utilized highly trained deputies to perform less complex court-related duties, including prisoner detention and transportation. This three-tiered workforce consists of Detention Enforcement Officers (DEO), Deputy U.S. Marshals (DUSM), and Criminal Investigator Deputy U.S. Marshals (CIDUSM), with each position having a tailored scope of duties.

As shown in Exhibit 4-1, the duties of these positions become successively broader and more complex. For example, Detention Enforcement Officer responsibilities consist primarily of processing and transporting prisoners. However, Deputy U.S. Marshals supervise prisoners during court proceedings and assist Criminal Investigator Deputy U.S. Marshals with more complex investigative duties. Further, CIDUSMs focus their efforts on investigative duties, including surveillance, protective assignments, threats endangering the judicial process, and protection of witnesses. Finally, each position may perform the duties of the lower tier. For example, Deputy U.S. Marshals may perform Detention Enforcement Officer duties and Criminal Investigator Deputy U.S. Marshals may perform Deputy U.S. Marshal and Detention Enforcement Officer assignments.

EXHIBIT 4-1
PRIMARY USMS OPERATIONAL POSITIONS


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Source: USMS

Career Progression

According to a senior USMS headquarters official, since 2003, most of the USMSís new CIDUSMs came from the DUSM ranks.58 Since the inception of the three-tiered workforce model through September 2006, in order for DUSMs to become CIDUSMs, they had to compete for available CIDUSM positions through a formal application process. To be eligible for a CIDUSM position, applicants were required to have at least 1 year of experience as a DUSM and have a performance rating of ďacceptable.Ē Additionally, in applying for a CIDUSM position, DUSM applicants had to submit a written description of their experience performing or assisting with various USMS activities, including prisoner transportation, court security, fugitive investigations, and protective details.

During our audit, several district representatives, including U.S. Marshals, expressed concern with the three-tiered structure as it existed from FYs 2000 through 2006. Many district representatives described to us two common issues regarding compensation and career advancement that they believed created tension among operational personnel and contributed to low morale among DUSMs. Both concerns were voiced repeatedly throughout our audit, indicating the need for these areas to be reviewed for possible improvement.

The first common concern was the disparity in pay between the DUSM and CIDUSM positions.59 The predominant criticism expressed was that the actual duties performed by DUSMs and CIDUSMs did not differ significantly enough to require a distinction between the two positions. DUSMs stated that, as a result, they often performed the same duties as CIDUSMs, albeit for less pay.

The other concern commonly expressed was that DUSMs often were unable to gain the experience necessary to be eligible for a CIDUSM position. Due to the high demands of the courts in several of the districts that we visited, DUSMs in these districts were spending most of their time handling prisoner transportation and court security. As a result, these DUSMs often did not perform work in other mission areas, including fugitive investigations and protective details.

In September 2006, in an effort to create a highly flexible workforce capable of responding to the full range of mission requirements, the USMS implemented a new directive permitting each DUSM that meets certain requirements to non-competitively convert to a CIDUSM position. According to the USMS, this directive is also designed to: (1) ensure that successful participants have the requisite knowledge, skill, and ability to carry out CIDUSM duties; and (2) support the USMSís efforts to attract and retain a workforce capable of meeting the demands presented by the USMSís varying mission activities.

In our opinion, this recently adopted conversion program can help alleviate the problems expressed by many of the district representatives we interviewed. However, this program was only recently implemented, and we believe that the USMS must closely monitor its implementation to ensure it meets the needs of the USMS and its workforce.

Compensation

During our fieldwork, several USMS operational personnel expressed dissatisfaction with the GS-12 journeyman level of CIDUSMs. According to these individuals, criminal investigators at other DOJ components, namely the FBI and DEA, attain journeyman status at the GS 13 level. The CIDUSMs believed that their duties were comparable to those performed by criminal investigators at these other agencies and thus should be afforded equivalent journeyman level status.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) formally issues all position classification standards that provide grading criteria for positions classified under the General Schedule Classification System. Although OPM provides a framework, it is ultimately the responsibility of each agency to properly classify its positions. We were informed by a USMS official within the Human Resources Division that the USMS has reviewed the journeyman level status of its criminal investigators and determined that these positions were appropriately graded at the GS-12 level. However, the USMS Director informed us that he intends to reassess the classification of the USMSís criminal investigators.

Chapter Summary

The USMS established a three-tiered workforce model for its primary operational employees in FY 2000. However, during our audit several district representatives expressed concern with this structure as it existed from FYs 2000 through 2006.

At the end of FY 2006, the USMS implemented a new policy that changed the process for converting from a DUSM to a CIDUSM. According to the USMS, this new guideline was designed to create a more highly qualified workforce capable of responding to all mission activities. In our opinion, this new policy can help to alleviate some of the concerns of USMS district personnel regarding the career progression of the agencyís operational workforce. However, because establishment of this new career path is a relatively recent occurrence, the USMS should ensure that it maintains proper oversight of the implementation of this policy to ensure that it accomplishes the purposes for which it was designed.



Footnotes
  1. According to USMS headquarters officials, DEOs have the opportunity to apply for available DUSM positions. However, most DUSM positions were not filled from the DEO ranks, but rather from outside the USMS. DEOs are hired at the district level, while DUSMs are hired through a centralized process.

  2. CIDUSMs receive law enforcement availability pay, which is a type of premium pay that is paid to federal law enforcement officers who are criminal investigators. Due to the nature of their work, criminal investigators are required to work, or be available to work, substantial amounts of "unscheduled duty," which is compensated by the premium pay rate.



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