The FBI in Philadelphia is about to push its widely acclaimed violent-crime and corruption supervisors out the door, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. Like about 135 others nationwide, they have decided to retire rather than comply with a controversial edict that essentially requires all supervisors to transfer to Washington after five years on the job or return to the streets with a $12,000 pay cut. The FBI says its five-year rule is stimulating a healthy redistribution of talent, bringing the best and brightest to Washington, where the bureau has a critical shortage of supervisors.
Nineteen current and former supervisors and agents told the Inquirer that the rule had disrupted and demoralized field offices as more effective and experienced supervisors are pushed aside by younger replacements. “We are losing a whole generation of supervisors – all that experience, all those local relationships,” said Michael Carbonell, 53, who has led fugitive and violent-crime squads in Philadelphia since 1996 and will retire in January rather than move to Washington. “It’s a terrible idea.” FBI Assistant Director John Miller said ,”We can’t find the leaders of tomorrow if everybody stops and settles down because they’ve gotten comfortable. nd when you are talking about the most talented people, those are precisely the ones we want to see move up.” The five-year rule was enacted in 2004 with various deferments for longtime supervisors that are now expiring. Since then, 576 supervisors have hit the five-year limit. About half have refused to move to Washington. Of those, 150 have returned to the streets and 135 have retired. Another 260 supervisors will face the same choice next year.