Stop order against USIS, impact on investigations in queue


#1
A slow, but steady shift away from USIS has already been happening...
OPM has scaled back its reliance on USIS, which was paid $417 million in fiscal 2010 and $320 million last year, according to the OPM. During that time, more work went to KeyPoint and CACI. KeyPoint’s payments jumped from $85 million to $138 million; CACI’s rose from $17 million to $46 million.

Read more at Stop order against USIS could significantly slow down background checks via WashPost.


#2

That was back in 2011 when the new contract was started. This is nothing new and unrelated to either the dumping or stop work order.


#3

Right, this is not anything new. OPM is stringing this out as long as they can to even out the share of the contract or to completely financially break USIS.. I have a feeling that OPM is loving every minute of this. Unfortunately it hurts the employees and makes the employees even more ostracized of this industry which in turn eventually will hurt OPM in the long run because good, solid, and experienced investigators no longer want to work in this industry.


#4

Yes it does hurt us employees edwardian, but maybe OPM is really doing us a favor and many are just too blind to see it. Not sure if it will "hurt" OPM in the long run per say.

Too bad the other thread was just locked, as it did not seem like it had really gotten out of hand.


#5

Well, I have accepted a tentative offer from Keypoint which includes a substantial pay increase. I know that the grass isn't always greener on the other side but I can't just sit here hoping my unemployment benefits come thru and still not knowing when we're going back to work. And on top of that, sitting around wondering when the next scandal will come to light, when they will force us to take PTO or when they will begin laying off employees. I hope I'm making the right decision but I have lost all faith in USIS.


#6

deedisdone

 

In case you came over form the other post - a $4000 increase is only an increase if the $4k is in addition to H&W. $3.81 in H&W is equal to $7900 in benefits.


#7

I just wish I knew which is the right decision. Stay with USIS or take a job with CACI or take a job with KP.


#8

deedisdopne81

I think we are all in the same boat. Many variables with job security & compensation being foremost. Other concerns -

How much work will CACI & KGS have in the area you covered for USIS? Will you be working the same area or will the work require you to travel further than you are comfortable with.

Will USIS come back and if so in what capacity?

If USIS comes back - how much work will be available for CACI & KGS and will the USIS be sending you out further too because the work is split. i.e. - USIS has 6 inv in an org and 3 left for CACI & KGS. What will the 3 USIS inv be doing - how is the work going to be zoned?

In my area neither CACI nor KGS have any full timers and have been using contractors. USIS has 3 and OPM has 4 F/T investigators for the same general area. Both CACI & KGS tell any new hire that they may have to travel because of lack of local work even though it was very rare for USIS to do that. They say they will not take work from P/T to give it to F/T. (I find that strange but maybe they are loyal to their employees.) So there is enough total OPM work to sustain 6 - 8 F/T inv but only if OPM distributes the work evenly. Who knows how OPM will act! Neither CACI nor KGS do.

What will OPM do - They say they will distribute the work depending on manpower but who can be certain they won't go back to the old model?

In the long term - What will DOD do - the Sec Defense wants to sever OPM from doing the clearances and administer it similar to Dept of State who administers their own independent contractors. I read a report to SecDef where the cost by DOS is cheaper than what DOD is paying OPM. Will DOD have the money to switch - anybody's guess.


#9

Still going back to work monday? Did u guys read recent news? Congress does not want usis having anything to do with lucrative DHS contract. Lots of pressure to rescind multi-million $ contract. Congress references cyberattack among many other usis problems. Google it when you have time.

I bet caci and kpgs love hearing news like this. I think this blog should morph into something more practical, e.g., unemployment advice, job postings, solid employment leads, financial advice, etc.


#10

I was told by CACI that OPM has given them the green light to staff up because OPM does not want to be in this situation again where 2/3 of the work is just sitting idle. OPM wants a more evenly distribution so if one contractor goes down they are not left hung out to dry. Now granted I am smart and I know KP and CACI will tell me whatever to sell me on joining them. I am leaning towards CACI mainly because they are a stable company. They have been in existence since 1962 and revenue this year is 3.5 billion. I have to go with my gut because I need to support a family and unemployment won't cut it.


#11

Hi all! Glad to see we were able to move over into this forum as the other was getting a bit snarky. As for which company to go with, CACI seems like the logical choice. As deedisdone mentions, longevity of the company, multiple contracts, multi-billion dollar revenue and to top it off you can buy stock in the company! I've heard Keypoint is throwing lots of money our way however i feel like i can lay my head down at night and sleep better taking less money but feeling better job security and overall better management than with Keypoint. With CACI, my team leader will be located in my direct area whereas with Keypoint, my supervisor will be located 4 states away. At least with USIS, I saw my TL!


#12

Although I'm leaning towards CACI I feel there is no perfect situation. I don't like gloating but I was a very successful employee of usis and was matched with a much better offer with CACI. I just worry that work will dry up and I'll be forced on details away from my family. I did a lot of detailing with usis but haven't since 2009 and I am comfortable with everything I've achieved with usis. I guess it's the sticker shock of leaving and starting over after being with one company and my first job out of college for 9 years now. Ugh this is so stressful even more than the actual job.


#13

I have been reading this forum with interest and the variety of opinions and discussions have been helpful to sort out some thoughts.

I began as a Federal Investigator in the 80s and continue to work for USIS as a contractor. The changes, the increasing pressure and the subsequent decline in moral is so sad. I have also worked for another OPM Contractor who has been great to work for; however, I wonder why I have this sadness regarding USIS.

My thought is that the current federal background investigation criteria has rarely, if ever, identified individuals who are a risk to national security. I don't care if you brow-beat your neighbors or other sources regarding the most minute of details, you will not identify a potential Edward Snowden. You may catch a substance abuser in the "net" or, as we all know, identify chronic liars, but after all of these years I realize how irrelevant much of what is done in a background investigation is to national security. Consequently, I have had to laugh as OPM has stood in the shadows while USIS took the heat for doing the background investigations on the Navy Yard shooter or Edward Snowden. Did OPM step up and say they accepted those cases and closed them and probably adjudicated them as well. I worked the OS contract for years and it seemed to me that their polygraph program was much more effective in identifying risk. My disillusion has never kept me from doing the best job I can, but national security is not, for the most part, covered by OPM background investigations.

Well I have now vented my frustrations, but enjoy reading the comments and would like to see this thread continue.


#14

oldestinv

Absolutely correct. OPM is the problem as they conduct the background as fill in the blanks, don't ask pointed questions and do not confront sources with known information. OPM stood by and let USIS take all the heat and USIS kept mum hoping OPM will take care of them when it is all over. Congress should investigate OPM as much as USIS.

USIS underbid all the others by 500 million - how can OPM not question that.


#15

reginv

Thank you for your comment.

OPM, who was formerly the Civil Service Commission in the 50's or 60's, has always followed federal criteria in conducting a background investigation. I think that DOD, along with other DOD agencies, had to basically follow this same criteria, but they were not under OPM's jurisdiction and had more leeway in asking questions of sources. You know that OPM did not interview the Subject in a Subject Interview when I came on in the 80's and relied solely on source interviews for a background investigation.

It just seems to me to be naive to think that sources will either have the necessary knowledge or the courage to give information that would again identify individuals who are a risk to national security.

I don't think that a federal background investigation would have ever identified or hinted that Timothy McVeigh was going to bomb the Federal Bldg in Oklahoma City. Luckily, USIS didn't exist at that time and couldn't be blamed!

The Security entities who are ultimately responsible for national security really need to look at this issue and ask themselves if the $$ spent in conducting background investigations under the current regulations is really money well spent?

I know what I am suggesting would put everyone in this career field out of a job....oh thats right, all of the worker bees at USIS are out of a job! I shouldn't be flippant because there are people, like me, who have dedicated much of their careers, putting their family time aside, conducting background investigations in a professional manner and, for that, I am again sad.


#16

Great thread folks. We' re all between a rock and hard place. Moral could not possibly be any lower than it is now. Like most of you, I enjoy the job for the most part with the exception of OPM. I was a law enforcement investigator for 17 years and I can tell you that calling ourselves "investigators" is kind of an insult to actual investigators. I see us more as "information gatherers." Nonetheless, OPM is OPM so we have no choice but to follow their guidelines. None of us could have prevented an Edward Snowden or an Aaron Alexis. The system simply does not allow for those type of catches. Short of one admitting sympathy or alliance towards a foreign government, people like Snowden and Bradley Manning will occasionally slip right on by.

I am a very loyal employee. Admittedly, I am not what I would consider to be a "star" within USIS. My quality is probably average. I'm they guy who goes on detail when they need someone. I'm they guy who gets the case with a CD due the next day. Sadly, my loyalty only goes so far. I simply have lost faith in USIS. Our parent company, Altegrity, is supposedly $2 billion in debt. Add to that the DOJ investigation and the recent cyber attack and that leaves us without much faith in the company. I really hate change because for the most part USIS has been good to me. I've been fortunate to have very good Team Leaders and a good RD. But I can't wait any longer. As soon as I receive my official offer from Key Point I'm jumping off what I believe is a sinking ship. I hope I'm making the right decision. If not, I guess I'll pay for that later on. Sometimes I wish I could just get away from OPM completely but jobs are scarce enough, much less jobs that pay even what I'm making now with USIS and what KPG has offered me.


#17

I think a lot of senior investigators are hanging on by a thread to USIS in hopes it will return. The reason is because neither competitor, as far as I know, has come close to matching salaries at the top tier for a long-tenured investigator with field training experience. Simply too easy to take the majority of others who are in the mid to low tiers who have decent stats. If I'm wrong, lemme know, cuz the offer I just got from CACI was 20k below per year. Still waiting on offer from KPGS.


#18

ninjaturtle,

I could care less whether my TL was nearby or four states away. At least being so far away, I wouldn't have to deal with them, because almost all of my TL's with USIS have been worthless as people and as managers! How can people with no prior management type experience be eligible for promotion, or even be eligible with so little time on (in comparison to other co-workers that are far more deserving)? Nevermind the fact that the people most suspected of cutting corners and falsifying were the ones getting promoted!

In a real professional environment, it takes years of experience in cultivating a proper leader worthy of the title, not somebody that just showed up out of nowhere, sucked-up/kissed-, "made numbers" and was promoted in only 9 months to a year of experience! Yep, a real "yes man/woman" fake overachiever, just the type of person that should not command any respect, because it was never earned by them to start with! Great leaders can get you to follow them to H and back. USIS leaders just make ya want to throw them in when ya get there! The military defines this as "fratricide," when the leader is so terrible at their job, that their own forces want to roll a grenade in their tent as they sleep!

USIS has been full of such incompetent leaders that continuously keep moving up, so it's no wonder it is in the position it finds itself in now. The party only lasts so long when the weakest link is the management itself. That it's lasted as long as it has, is the biggest surprise. It's been due for implosion for quite a while now.


#19

luckyisyou1, "minor setbacks" generally don't include investigations by the United States Department of Justice and Congress. "Minor setbacks" generally don't include 2-3 weeks without pay and little to no communication from senior management. I'm sure some investigators will weather this storm, but many will not. To each his own. I truly hope that USIS recovers but I'm not willing to stake my future on it. My last paycheck was $36 which doesn't go a heck of a long way towards meeting my financial obligations. USIS will never be the same, regardless of when or if they are able to put investigators back to work.


#20

http://www.courant.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-usa-security-contractor-20140905,0,7895459.story

"No rational person, having discovered that a plumber duped a neighbor into paying full price by lying about completing 40 percent of the work, would hire that same plumber because the plumber claimed he did a 'quality job' for the neighbor," FCi Federal said in a supplemental protest filed last month with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.