April 03, 2018

Harris, Feinstein Urge Defense Sec Mattis to Waive Recoupment of Camp Pendleton Police Officers’ Pay

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following reports that approximately 100 civilian police officers at Camp Pendleton and Naval Station Fallbrook have been asked to return excessive pay as a result of an administrative error, U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris and Dianne Feinstein urged Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to waive the recoupment of this pay in a letter today. In the letter, the Senators said efforts to retrieve these funds are “unfair” and requested the collection process be halted immediately.

“We understand the overpayment of salary was due to a mistake made by the Navy Office of Civilian Human Resources that went unnoticed for approximately nine years,” wrote the senators. “As you know, civilian police officers on military installations are paid, on average, $56,000 per year.  Asking these police officers to repay upwards of tens of thousands of dollars will impose a significant burden on these officers and their families, would be against equity and good conscience, and not in the United States’ best interest.”

The senators continued, “Garnishing or otherwise recouping their pay would be especially appalling in light of the very real dangers these officers face every day protecting our military installations, which have been illustrated by recent events. For example, on February 14, 2018, a car crashed through the main gate of the National Security Agency, on Fort Meade, resulting in three people being injured, including a base police officer.  On March 22, 2018, an unauthorized vehicle breached the gate at Travis Air Force Base and exploded.  In both of these cases, the police and security at the gate risked their lives serving as the first line of defense for the service-members on base.”

A full copy the letter can be found HERE and below:

April 3, 2018

The Honorable James Mattis

Secretary of Defense

U.S. Department of Defense

1400 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Mattis:

We write today to urge you to waive the recoupment of pay erroneously received by approximately 100 civilian police officers at Camp Pendleton and Naval Station Fallbrook. Given that these officers received excess pay as a result of an administrative error made nearly a decade ago, we believe the Department’s efforts to claw back these funds now is unfair and we request that you halt the collection process immediately.

We understand the overpayment of salary was due to a mistake made by the Navy Office of Civilian Human Resources that went unnoticed for approximately nine years. As you know, civilian police officers on military installations are paid, on average, $56,000 per year.  Asking these police officers to repay upwards of tens of thousands of dollars will impose a significant burden on these officers and their families, would be against equity and good conscience, and not in the United States’ best interest.

Garnishing or otherwise recouping their pay would be especially appalling in light of the very real dangers these officers face every day protecting our military installations, which have been illustrated by recent events. For example, on February 14, 2018, a car crashed through the main gate of the National Security Agency, on Fort Meade, resulting in three people being injured, including a base police officer.  On March 22, 2018, an unauthorized vehicle breached the gate at Travis Air Force Base and exploded.  In both of these cases, the police and security at the gate risked their lives serving as the first line of defense for the service-members on base.

While many of these officers are seeking relief through the appeal process, we believe that you should exercise your existing authorities to immediately halt the collection process and waive the recoupment of overpaid salary.  These men and women maintain the safety and security of our military installations and should not have to repay salary they earned. 

We look forward to your prompt response and to working with you to quickly resolve this pressing issue.

Sincerely,

CC:          Secretary Richard V. Spencer

                General Robert B. Neller

 

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