Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has a “Memorial
Border Patrol Station” named in his honor. When the second highest ranking manager at the Willcox Station, Noel Quinones, was punished for unknown deeds deemed so egregious that he wasn’t simply demoted, he was kicked down the ladder three levels and then reassigned to the Brian Terry Memorial station in Bisbee. That was 2009 or 2010. It took a year and a half or slightly more to kick him back up the ladder to supervisor level. Don’t let it escape you that DHS sent a dishonored thug of some sort to the station honoring border agent Brian Terry, who died at the end of a gun furnished to a Mexican cartel by our own Department of Justice.
The Union understands his promotion wasn’t based on performance, as it’s been reported to us that during the year and a half to two years that he was a rank-and-file agent he would go out to the field and while in his vehicle, he would make himself comfortable by taking his boots and gun belt off and then spend a good portion of his shift watching movies. Again, and as mentioned before, it is believed his promotion was strictly based on the friendships he built during the time he was a high-ranking manager. He has subsequently been promoted two more levels to Special Operations Supervisor, the seventh highest-ranking manager at a station that employs almost 100 managers. His recent ascension is almost unprecedented in such a short period of time, and this, by a manager who had been demoted three levels and forced to move away from a station where he is believed to have violated policy on taxpayer time. These developments are simply astounding.
Now that Mr. Quinones has risen to another high level within the managerial ranks, he is once again able to act with little to no supervision and it’s reported he’s up to his old tricks again. Reportedly he is fond of large paychecks and because he’s allowed to make or change his own work schedule, he is allegedly taking advantage of the system much like the managers did that caused the fall of AUO [Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime]. He is allegedly scheduling himself to work night hours, double Sundays, and holidays to get all the requisite benefits and premium pay, and he is doing so even though the Special Operations Supervisor has always been an 8 to 5, Monday through Friday job. He is also illegally claiming AUO as his position and what he does during those hours do not qualify him for such overtime. And as bad as the AUO situation is, scheduling himself to work double Sundays and holidays is particularly disturbing because no other agents are afforded this privilege. Source: Local 2544, February 1, 2014
On January 28, 2014, Homeland Security suspended “administratively uncontrollable overtime,” (AUO):
DHS officials are suspending administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO) for certain employees who work in the headquarters of department agencies, full-time training instructors and those found by DHS investigators to have improperly received the overtime.
“DHS takes seriously its responsibility to ensure proper use of taxpayer funds,” Peter Boogaard, a DHS spokesman, said by e-mail. “While many frontline officers and agents across the department require work hour flexibility, often through the use of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO), misuse of these funds is not tolerated. Late last year, DHS leadership initiated a department-wide review of the use of AUO, and today the Department announced an important initial step in reforming the use of this program.”
It took whistleblowers to ‘blow the whistle’ on the overtime abuse. DHS didn’t take steps on their own until it was forced on them, and in this case, the border patrol union, patrolled themselves. Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council went to the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security and described the abuses this way:
…rather than a method used to compensate employees for the unexpected circumstance, it turned into a regular pay trough even for the desk-bound. That dirtied its reputation for the officers who legitimately needed it.
For many years, AUO, which amounted to a 25 percent increase in pay, was routinely expected by agents and promoted by the agency. Union leaders say many field agents generally work 10-hour days.
“When I applied for the job, it was actually a part of the compensation package that you were told that you would earn,” Judd told the House hearing. “ It said that you would earn a substantial amount of irregular overtime in the form of administrative uncontrolled overtime. So, yes, all Border Patrol agents,” until changes about year ago, “were told that this was part of your compensation package.” Source: Washington Post
The abuse of overtime has filtered through the ranks and will now, according to Local 2544, put national security at risk.
Congress mandated that the Border Patrol maintain a workforce of at least 21,370 agents to cover all of the land borders of the United States. They did this knowing agents have always worked ten-hour days. Notwithstanding Congress’ intent, these hours will now be cut to eight. Under these extreme cuts, our agents will never be able to secure the borders and the American public will suffer. This is unacceptable, and we are working as hard as we can to convince the appropriate authorities that this is not the way to do business! Source: Local 2544, January 30, 2014
Days after the Washington Post article, Tucson Local 2544 reported that Noel Quinones is still at the trough, and intimating, in my interpretation, that after a three-level demotion, he surely should not be, yet again, in another high-level supervisory position. Local 2544 states that managers and their illegal use of overtime has punished all agents by causing “further scrutiny” of “innocent rank-and-file agents,” who in the past have been unaware of what those at higher levels have been doing. They contend the abuse is ongoing, even after Homeland Security’s announcement of suspension of AUO.
There is very little information about Noel Quinones. A Linked-In profile shows a Noel Quinones as “Supervisory Border Patrol Agent at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sierra Vista, Arizona. The distance from Bisbee and Sierra Vista is approximately 25 miles. Edward L. Thomas owns rental property in Bisbee says “There is no security on the border — none.” Agents (or a one-time supervisor), unarmed and watching movies in the desert, would not make one think of security.
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