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One Hundred Sixteenty Congress Committee on Homeland Security ‘WS. House of Representatives Washington, BO 20515 March 9, 2020 Mr. L. Bric Patterson Director of the Federal Protective Service Department of Homeland Security Washington, D.C. 20528 Dear Mr. Patterson: I write to you today regarding the private security firms under contract with the Federal Protective Service (FPS) to provide guard services for federal facilities across the country. It has come to my attention that there have been significant delays in FPS’s payments to some of these firms, limiting their ability to do business and increasing security risks. The safety and security of federal buildings and workers is the highest priority for FPS. In order to complete this mission and provide robust security at facilities across the nation, FPS relies on contracts with companies large and small to provide Protective Security Officers (PSO). Delays in paying these officers not only harms the agency's reputation, it erodes the public and private partnerships on which FPS depends. This is hardly the first time FPS has delayed payments to its PSO contractors. In 2007, I sent a similar letter after PSOs walked out on the job when their employer couldn’t pay them. At that ‘time, FPS owed $1.8 million in delayed payments.’ Unfortunately, this is happening again with numbers that are even more staggering. As of January 2020, FPS had 157 invoices, totaling over $74 million, that were more than 15 days past due.? Despite an effort to pay contractor invoices within 15 days, PSO contractors have waited ‘months for invoices to be paid and the bills can range from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions depending on the size of the contractor. "Letter from Representative Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, to Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, uly 13, 2007 2 January 2020-Vendor Invoice Tracking, FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICE, Feb. 12, 2020. Although late payments harm all businesses, they have a disproportionately negative impact on small businesses. Such delays can significantly stifle growth or place them in danger of bankruptey. Tam additionally concerned about reports of invoices being rejected even after they have been approved by FPS’s contracting officers. After waiting months for payments from FPS, far longer than the 30-day maximum, these contractors are seeing their invoices rejected for discrepancies as low as one penny. Simple rounding differences can result in a bill of millions of dollars being rejected, effectively resetting the clock on the agency’s requirement to pay the invoice within 30 days and forcing contractors to wait even longer for their payment. To better understand the underlying, systemic issues that have caused the delays in payments to PSO contractors, I am requesting that you provide the following information no later than March 27, 2020: 1, For any contract guard invoices more than 30 days past due during September 2019 through February 2020, please identify the invoice date, amount, and region. 2. For any invoices rejected by FPS from September 2019 through February 2020, please provide the received and rejected dates, reason for rejection, invoice amount, discrepancy amount, amount of any partial payment, and region. 3. For fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020 (through February 2020), please provide the number of contracting officers budgeted for each region and the number onboard. Please also provide the rate of attrition during those time periods. ‘Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely, BENNIE G. THOMPSON Chairman