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Tag: Konrad Motyka

Column: Cutting Pension No Way to Reward FBI Agents for Their Dedication and Service

Konrad Motyka is president of the FBI Agents Association

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

By Konrad Motyka
Huffington Post

As the debate over how to cut federal spending rages in Washington, one idea that will no doubt be raised again as Congress looks for further cuts is a change to the formula by which federal employees contribute to their defined pension plans. It’s important for Congress to understand that this proposal would have national security implications as changes to federal employee pensions will impact FBI Agents and other federal law enforcement officers.

For some, attacking “faceless bureaucrats” in the debate over spending cuts offers an easy sound-bite and generates little opposition. However, when federal employee pensions are targeted, this impacts FBI Agents and other federal law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each and every day.

Under some proposals, Agents would face more than a fourfold increase in required pension contributions. This translates into a potential 5% cut in pay.

For the majority of FBI Agents, the proposed increase in pension contributions would compound the two-year pay freeze already imposed by President Obama in 2010. All federal law enforcement officers already contribute more of their salaries to their pensions than do other federal employees.

To read more click here.

Some FBI Agents See Hypocrisy in FBI Dir. Mueller’s 2-Year Extension

Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

When President Obama announced plans to have FBI Dir. Robert S. Mueller III stay on two years beyond his 10-year term, the FBI Agents Association quickly issued a very positive statement even though some of its members were not very happy.

Nonetheless, some of the unhappiness seems to be coming out.

The Washington Post reports some agents are angry that Mueller, who imposed term limits on hundreds of supervisors, is getting an extension himself. They find some hypocrisy in the whole matter, the Post reported.

President Obama has said that he wants Mueller to stay on past his 10-year term, which expires in September, to provide some stability and continuity. Congress will have to pass some type of legislation to keep Mueller on because the law states the FBI director should serve no more than 10 years.

“We understand the desire for stability,’’ Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association told the Post. “But people are saying, ‘What about my stability?’ It’s ironic that this desire for stability did not apply to supervisors within the FBI.’’

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

The policy that has so irritated agents surfaced after Sept. 11, 2001. It requires FBI supervisors to move on after seven years and compete for another managerial post, retire or get demoted at the same field office with a pay decrease, the Post reported.

The FBI has defended the policy, saying it has resulted in strong managers being brought in to various posts, the paper reported.

“People are up in arms about this,’’ one agent, who likened the news to “a shot in the kneecaps,” told the Post.

“We have lost valuable experience,’’ the agent said. “I’ve seen people, some really significant contributors to this organization and to this country, who are questioning their self-worth now and who are basically bitter.’’

The Post reported that Mueller did not seek the 2-year extension, but agreed to go along with it.

Though Mueller has enforced the term limits on supervisors, he has also given extensions to a number of agents who have reached the mandatory retirement age of 57.

The announcement of the proposed two-year extension for Mueller, has been met with mixed reaction within the bureau, ranging from ecstatic to mad to mixed.

Some say he’s been a great leader.  But others want him to go.  They say he’s drifted too far from the core mission of the agency and doesn’t relate to, or truly understand the mindset of the street agents.

Mueller, 66, started on the job  just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, forcing him to retool the agency to focus more on terrorism.

To read more of the Washington Post story click here.

Head of FBI Agents Association Says Agents Should Take Controversial Test Over; Also Wants to Have Input in Pick of Next FBI Director

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

Konrad Motyka/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The head of the FBI’s Agents Association said Wednesday that he’d prefer to see all agents retake a controversial open-book test– and that no one be punished.

“Given the publicity, anyone taking the test the next time, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to the procedure,” Association President Konrad Motyka said in an interview Wednesday with ticklethewire.com.  He said the instructions for taking the first test were unclear for some.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General report recently found that a number of FBI agents cheated on the test that was on bureau policies for conducting surveillance on Americans called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG).

The internal investigation, which focused on four FBI offices, found 22 people cheated, some of whom worked together or got the answers. The FBI is currently reviewing the matter, and is in fact considering having agents retake the test, much to the dismay of the many agents who did not cheat. The test is taken on a computer.

Motyka said of the cheating scandal potentially involves only a minuscule number of the 13,500 agents.

“I don’t think this is a commentary on the integrity of the FBI agents population in any way at all,” said Motyka, an FBI agent based in New York.

But he added: “Any time there’s negative publicity about the FBI, it’s harmful.”

Motyka, speaking in the D.C. law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, which serves as general counsel for the association, also said the association hopes to have an input in the replacement for  Director Robert S. Mueller III, who finishes up his 10- year term next September.

While he declined to discuss names of potential successors, he said the Association would prefer a law enforcement person, but would not necessarily object to a judge or federal prosecutor. Mueller was a former prosecutor.

“We plan to make our point of view known,” he said.

Some of the names that have surfaced in the media include Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, John Pistol, the former number two FBI agent who now heads up the Transportation Security Administration, Frances Fragos Townsend, President Bush’s counterterrorism adviser and former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton.

Motyka said the Association also plans to press next year for a Merit System Protection Board right, which would allow agents to appeal disciplinary decisions to an independent board.  Currently, agents can appeal a disciplinary decision, but most must do through the FBI’s internal process.

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More Scandal: Justice Dept. Investigating Whether 100s of FBI Agents Cheated on Open Book Test

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — There appears to be more scandal in the air relating to allegations of FBI agents cheating on an open book test.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Justice Department is investigating whether hundreds of FBI agents cheated on a test on the bureau’s policies about conducting surveillance and probes without evidence of a crime being committed. Specifically, the test is on the Domestic Investigations and Operation Guide.

The news comes after ticklethewire.com first reported in November that three top officials at the Washington field office had allegedly been caught cheating on the test.

The top official, Joseph Persichini Jr., headed the field office, retired last Christmas before a final resolution could be reached in the internal probe. Two of his special agents in charge, Keith Bryars and Andrew Castor, were removed and sent to headquarters pending an appeal of the findings of an internal probe.

The allegations at the time were that the  three high-ranking officials may have received help on the  exam from an FBI lawyer, and may have some how worked together, a clear violation of agency rules.

Agents say the open-book test can take up to four hours, and is supposed to be taken on their own on a computer. They can look up answers, but are not allowed to work together or rely on answers provided by others. All agents take the test including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

The Associated Press reported that in some cases agents worked together. The news agency also reported that the FBI Agents Association president Konrad Motyka wrote in his letter that in Columbia, S.C., agents printed the test in advance to use as a study guide.

“There are similar stories for practically every office, demonstrating the pervasive confusion and miscommunication that existed,” Motyka wrote.

FBI Director Mueller, testifying Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was aware of the investigation, but was not certain how many agents may have violated the bureau guidelines while taking the test.

The AP reported that Motyka urged the inspector general to focus on the FBI’s “systemic failure” to administer the test without rules.

He urged that agents not be punished “because of a failure to effectively communicate the rules,” he wrote.

OTHER STORIES  OF INTEREST