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REVISED COJ FY 2012 Budget Recommendations Report

REVISED COJ FY 2012 Budget Recommendations Report

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Committee Recommendations – See Page [x]

I. AGENCY OVERVIEW

The mission of the Forensic Laboratory Technician Training Program (FLTTP) is to
provide funding to enhance criminal investigations and prosecutions through the establishment
of a program to provide specialized training and resources to District investigative personnel.
FLTTP is embedded in the desire to increase the District’s ability to investigate deaths and
crimes, as well as ensure that the District can effectively provide public health services and
respond to public health emergencies.

II. MAYOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET

Mayor’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget:79

79

The Mayor’s proposed budget only provided numbers rounded to dollars in thousands therefore all figures
provided are dollars in thousands. Percent change is based on whole dollars.

Committee on the Judiciary

Page 68 of 111

Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Report

May 11, 2011

TABLE 15A: Forensic Laboratory Technician Training Program
Total
 Operating Funds Budget FY 2006  2012

Source: Budget Books (dollars in thousands)

Local Funds: The FLTTP is funded solely with local dollars. The Mayor’s proposed
budget is $1,600, unchanged from the current fiscal year. The proposed budget supports 17.0
FTEs, unchanged from the current fiscal year.

III. COMMITTEE CONCERNS

Consolidated Forensic Laboratory: Director William Vosburgh has indicated to the
Committee that the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory (CFL) project is on schedule and within
budget. Accreditation of the various components of the future laboratory, outside of the
DNA/trace evidence realm, remains an outstanding issue for the laboratory. While the
Committee recognizes that the time required to complete accreditation can be lengthy, all steps
should be taken as early as possible to ready the appropriate units for eventual accreditation.
This is particularly pertinent in light of the requirement for accreditation included in the
Department of Forensic Sciences Establishment Act of 2011 currently under consideration by the
Council. That bill is discussed in further detail below.

Dr. Vosburgh has also indicated to the Committee that a top priority of the agency is to
implement an agency-wide pay grade series for forensic scientists, on a scale of 1-5 that would
start with entry-level up to senior level. The purpose of the program as stated by the agency is to
create a career path and increase retention of the human capital of the agency. The Committee
supports and encourages this effort, in order to ensure that the CFL can have a well-trained,
highly qualified and highly skilled staff to perform the specialized functions that will be required
at the laboratory with a high standard of quality.

Department of Forensic Sciences Establishment Act of 2011: Bill 19-5, the Department
of Forensic Sciences Establishment Act of 2011, was reported out of the Committee on March
29, 2011. This legislation establishes the Department of Forensic Sciences (“Department”), a
subordinate agency in the executive branch of the District of Columbia government. A primary
purpose of the legislation is to address the governance of the new CFL, currently under
construction and scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012 and for occupancy in fall of
2012. This bill follows an important recommendation of a seminal report produced by the
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United

Actual

Actual

Actual

Actual

Actual

Budget

Mayor

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total Funds

516

811

1,644

5,375

1,293

1,601

1,601

FTEs

43.0

59.0

54.9

18.0

14.9

17.0

17.0

Committee on the Judiciary

Page 69 of 111

Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Report

May 11, 2011

States: A Path Forward.”80

The recommendation of the NAS report is to “remov[e] all public
forensic laboratories and facilities from the administrative control of law enforcement agencies
or prosecutors’ offices.”81

Thus, Bill 19-5 establishes an agency independent of other law
enforcement agencies to perform forensic science services for the District.82

The mission of the
proposed Department of Forensic Sciences will be to provide quality, timely, accurate, and
reliable forensic laboratory analysis for the District, with a focus on unbiased science.

An important concern of the Committee is ensuring that the new Department of Forensic
Sciences will be funded in the District’s financial plan. Many aspects of the new Department are
already funded or budgeted for with the construction of the CFL. The new costs are those related
to governance of the new proposed agency, and those costs will not be recognized until fiscal
year 2013. The fiscal impact statement for Bill 19-5 specifies a cost of $1,789,371 in FY2013,
$2,404,732 for FY 2014, and a four-year total of $4,194,103.83

The fiscal impact of Bill 19-5
has thus far not been envisioned in the Mayor’s FY2012 proposed budget or financial plan, and
the Committee believes it is imperative that these future costs are included in the financial plan
so that if and when Bill 19-5 becomes law, the orderly transfer of forensic science services from
MPD to the new Department can occur in a timely manner. Indeed, this must occur before
October 1, 2012 per Bill 19-5, and so that the transfer can be completed in time for both the
opening of the new CFL and for the start of FY 2013.

IV. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

Agency Operating Budget:

The Committee notes that the formulation of the Mayor’s proposed FY 2012 operating
budget for the Forensic Laboratory Technician Training Program (FLTTP) includes zero salary
lapse. The agency is on track to under spend by $100,000 during FY 2011.

The Committee recommends adoption of the fiscal year 2012 operating budget for
FLTTP as proposed by the Mayor with the following modifications:

80

COMM. ON IDENTIFYING THE NEEDS OF THE FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMUNITY, NAT’L RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE
NAT’L ACADS., STRENGTHENING FORENSIC SCIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES: A PATH FORWARD (2009) [hereinafter
NAS REPORT].

81

NAS REPORT, supra note 69, at 190-91.

82

Bill 19-5 provides for the transfer of the personnel, records, functions, authority, and property pertaining to
forensic science services from the Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) to the proposed Department of
Forensic Sciences, no later than October 1, 2012. The legislation also creates a Science Advisory Board for review
of the scientific aspects of the new Department, and a Stakeholder Council whereby the principals of the agencies
who primarily use the services of the Department can discuss its efficacy and responsiveness.

83

Memorandum from Natwar M. Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer, to the Honorable Kwame R. Brown, Chairman,
Council of the District of Columbia, Fiscal Impact Statement – “Department of Forensic Sciences Establishment Act
of 2011” (Mar. 28, 2011) (on file with the Committee on the Judiciary).

Committee on the Judiciary

Page 70 of 111

Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Report

May 11, 2011

A reduction of $50,000 local funds (PS) to increase salary lapse/vacancy savings.

Policy Recommendations:

The Committee makes the following policy recommendations with regard to the Forensic
Laboratory Technician Training Program:

Funding must be added to the budget and financial plan beginning in FY 2013:
$1,789,371 and FY 2014: $2,404,732. This will fully fund Bill 19-5, the “Department of
Forensic Sciences Establishment Act of 2011.” Beginning with the FY 2013 budget, this
agency will see a significant increase to its budget as the new Consolidated Forensic
Laboratory opens on 4th

Street, SW.

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