The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) received a whistleblower disclosure concerning U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Ysleta Border Patrol Station (Ysleta Station) in El Paso, Texas. The whistleblower alleged that supervisors and border patrol agents at the Ysleta Station claim administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO), but fail to perform duties that qualify for AUO. The whistleblower also alleged that supervisors at the Ysleta Station authorize AUO to compensate injured agents who are assigned administrative duties and are not working overtime hours. OSC referred this allegation to DHS Acting Secretary Rand Beers. The Department subsequently requested our assistance with this allegation and several other AUO-related allegations from other DHS components. We assembled a taskforce of auditors, program analysts, investigators, and attorneys to review these allegations. Federal regulations allow agencies to pay AUO annually to employees in positions that require substantial amounts of irregular or occasional overtime work and in which the hours of duty cannot be controlled administratively. Ysleta Station did not have sufficient AUO documentation to allow us to specifically identify a violation of law, rule, or regulation. However, most activities that second-line supervisory border patrol agents performed during AUO hours and some activities that first-line supervisory agents and nonsupervisory agents performed appear to have been administratively controllable. We did not find evidence to substantiate that Ysleta Station agents who sustained work-related injuries were paid AUO improperly.
Evaluation of Alleged AUO Misuse at U.S. Border Patrol, Ysleta Station