Writing in the Washington Post, columnist Joe Davidson explores what he calls “the troubled lives” of Secret Service agents. Agents lose tens of thousands of dollars, because they are required to work weeks and months for no pay. Their annual pay, including overtime, is capped at $160,300. But during presidential campaign years they can easily work far more time than covered by that amount. They don’t stop working when they reach the cap. They stay on the job without pay. That’s dedication to mission. It also can wreck home life, lead to burn-out and sap morale.
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association aired agents’ complaints about the salary cap and other issues Tuesday at hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “The ‘max-out’ issue has been consistently identified as one of the top issues affecting employee morale and employee retention,” Thomas E. Dougherty, the agency’s chief strategy officer, said. “However, the protective mission requires continued, uninterrupted coverage for our protectees, requiring individuals to work over the amount for which they are able to be legally paid due to the annual cap.” Legislation introduced Monday would provide agents back pay for uncompensated overtime. It appears to have backing from both Democrats and Republicans.