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Monday, November 27, 2006

Report: Security agency needs better financial management

The Homeland Security Department's largest investigative agency needs to improve its invoice management and make a variety of other financial management enhancements, according to a report from a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization.

The report, released last week by the National Academy of Public Administration, criticized the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's Federal Protective Service in particular. FPS, responsible for helping secure thousands of federal facilities across the country, faces a budget shortfall recently estimated to be as high as $60 million.

"Stability, understanding and adequate oversight should be highlighted as the immediate financial management objectives for FPS," the report stated, adding that "according to the majority of those interviewed, FPS is the most difficult program to service."

NAPA called for a better analysis of FPS expenses and revenues and said "service level changes or fee modification" will be needed to remedy the financial problems. The report said "hundreds of vendors" working for the agency have "varying degrees of financial sophistication to support and understand."

The NAPA report was not the first to call for changes in how FPS collects funds; multiple sources confirmed that the protective service has trouble getting timely payments. Agency sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the service may have to increase fees by as much as 60 percent to make up for shortfalls. The agency has already pulled its officers from some federal buildings at off-peak hours, multiple sources confirmed.

The Homeland Security Department's largest investigative agency needs to improve its invoice management and make a variety of other financial management enhancements, according to a report from a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization.
The report, released last week by the National Academy of Public Administration, criticized the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's Federal Protective Service in particular. FPS, responsible for helping secure thousands of federal facilities across the country, faces a budget shortfall recently estimated to be as high as $60 million.

"Stability, understanding and adequate oversight should be highlighted as the immediate financial management objectives for FPS," the report stated, adding that "according to the majority of those interviewed, FPS is the most difficult program to service."

NAPA called for a better analysis of FPS expenses and revenues and said "service level changes or fee modification" will be needed to remedy the financial problems. The report said "hundreds of vendors" working for the agency have "varying degrees of financial sophistication to support and understand."

The NAPA report was not the first to call for changes in how FPS collects funds; multiple sources confirmed that the protective service has trouble getting timely payments. Agency sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the service may have to increase fees by as much as 60 percent to make up for shortfalls. The agency has already pulled its officers from some federal buildings at off-peak hours, multiple sources confirmed.

-Jonathan Marino, GovExec.com

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