SUMMARY: Last week I discussed the role of FPS officers at IRS facilities and raised concerns that, on occasion, the FPS is issuing citations in situations that would be better handled administratively.
Last week, National Executive Vice-President Jim Bailey and I had a discussion with IRS Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support Jeff Tribiano and AWSS Chief Kevin McIver about the role of the DHS Federal Protective Service at IRS facilities, and particularly IRS campuses. Attached is a PowerPoint slide that outlines their overall responsibilities, including ensuring the security of IRS employees at these locations.
Our discussion was precipitated by recent FPS actions at an IRS campus, where FPS appeared to be overly aggressive in issuing citations to IRS employees. As we discussed with the Deputy Commissioner, this was not the first time where FPS officers inserted themselves into matters that, in our view, should have been handled internally by the IRS. In fact, as we pointed out, at times in the past FPS’s involvement in conduct matters was inappropriately solicited by IRS managers in an apparent attempt to get around employees’ right to union representation. We acknowledged that when employees are acting in a fashion that threaten the safety of their coworkers, such as driving at high rates of speed in a parking lot, it may be appropriate for FPS to get involved. But we also suggested that before FPS begins issuing citations, employees be warned of the general problem and that formal FPS enforcement activity may be taken.
I left the discussion feeling that we were of the same mind on these matters. We agreed that any concerns arising in the future should be promptly raised and discussed between the parties. Although the IRS has no formal authority over FPS, as the attached deck reflects, the IRS and FPS are to collaborate on promoting the safety and security of IRS employees and facilities.
Anthony M. Reardon