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CBP commissioner travels by Blackhawk helicopter to inform agents of budget cuts and pay reduction PDF
Thursday, 09 August 2012
On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, David Aguilar, CBP (acting) commissioner, attended a muster at the Nogales Border Patrol station in Arizona. In yet another shameful display of arrogance and disdain for the men and women under his command, it had been ordered by his subordinates that all attendees were to give him a “standing ovation,” which was clearly an effort to pump his already over the top ego. As usual, his visit required management to divert critical resources from the border in order to have an excessive number of CBP officers and Border Patrol agents present to hear him speak. He entered as if he was a visiting hero who had just fought a battle in their honor. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that he was there to inform them, as he’s done before, that he was turning his back on them by advocating for a reduction in their pay!
During the presentation, Aguilar said apprehensions were down and the border was safer now than ever before. He declared Nogales, Arizona and Douglas, Arizona safer than San Antonio, Texas. He told the attendees to ignore those who put out false information that the borders are not safe and insisted "our communities" are more secure than ever.

Aguilar said the budget is tight, but CBP is in a very good position. He explained how CBP was looking at a five to ten percent budget cut. Then, he said the Border Patrol would not lose Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO), but it would be reduced. He said pay under the Customs Officer Pay Reform Act (COPRA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and 45 Act would be monitored. He looked at supervisors and told them their titles and pay would not be lost.

One of the Border Patrol agents in attendance asked Aguilar if he said management's pay and titles would not be lost, but agents pay would be reduced. Unsurprisingly, Aguilar, in his usual condescending tone, appeared upset and said, "I don't know if that's what you heard, but that's not what I meant." He said if AUO is eliminated for agents, it would be eliminated for management as well. He then said he meant to say management's base salary would not be lost.

A Field Operations Supervisor (FOS) stood up and asked Aguilar if the FOS's were going to be affected and explained how they [FOS's] needed more pay. Aguilar said more management opportunities would be available in the future because he wanted to add several more deputy and watch commander positions to provide opportunities for FOS's to promote.

Another agent stood up and expressed concerns about the individual agents and financial hardships that they and their families would endure. Aguilar, in his usual arrogant and callous way, responded by telling everyone, "We are all a family, but I'm not my brother's keeper." There’s no room for interpretation there; it’s clear where he stands on the matter.

He ended by stating how the CBP budget was submitted to Congress for more money. Then, he headed out to the Blackhawk that was waiting to shuttle him to the Ajo Border Patrol station where he was scheduled to attend another muster.

During the discussion, Aguilar addressed all of the attendees as "officers", not "agents". Did Aguilar already forget the title he once held or did he accidentally reveal his plan to merge the Border Patrol agent and CBP officer positions? 
It is a shame that a former Chief of the Border Patrol, who once famously claimed that he was “not a politician,” has traded his tough talk for a position as an administration “yes man.” It’s extremely disappointing, but not surprising, that Aguilar would sacrifice the pay of his own employees, rather than defend it.

He was the Chief of the Border Patrol who repeatedly requested more manpower to support the mantra that his command created and repeated: "...mix of personnel, technology, and infrastructure..." In response, the Bush Administration and Congress authorized the near doubling of the Border Patrol. Did he not anticipate that at some point in the future, these employees would need to be compensated for their work? At a time when the border is not as secure as “politicians” claim, Border Patrol agents should be able to count on someone who at one time wore the same uniform that the thousands of agents in green proudly wear today; to stand up and defend them, not sell them out so that he can proudly proclaim that he saved money!
Saving money off of the backs of the men and women that you’re supposed to be defending and leading does not deserve a standing ovation. When your ego, arrogance and disdain for the men and women under your command is as great as Aguilar’s, and you have a traveling entourage willing to do whatever it takes to make you feel superior, you can “demand” respect, but you will never “command” it!

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