Video Message to Employees from Director Wray

Message to employees from FBI Director Wray regarding government shutdown.

Video Transcript

Hi Everyone.

We’re now five weeks and two missed paychecks into this mess, and I wanted to touch base with all of you again.

I know tons of you are feeling the anxiety and the emotional strain of this shutdown.

And 100-percent of you are feeling the financial strain.

Making some people stay home when they don’t want to, and making others show up without pay–it’s mind-boggling, it’s short-sighted, and it’s unfair.

It takes a lot to get me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.

Sure, I get it. You’re public servants, and I know I can count on you to keep doing everything you can to help others, however you can.

But you’re also people with bills to pay. You’re also moms and dads. You’ve also got rent

payments and mortgages, and utilities and car payments and gas and groceries to buy. And you can’t put those worries aside just because you serve the public.

Now, I know there’s some question about why you haven’t seen the FBI leadership out there in the press, fighting the good fight over the past five weeks. But there are real costs to doing that, for us as an institution, and for our 110-year-old brand.

You know better than most that we’ve been thrust into the political spotlight more than we would have liked over the past few years. And the last thing this organization needs now is its leadership to wade into the middle of a full-on political dispute.

But let me also be very clear: We’re actively advocating for you left and right, at every level. We’re having conversations day and night with people who can have the most impact, to show them how much this is affecting all of you and your families, and how it could affect the work we need to do for the American people.

We’re just not doing it in the press.

In this polarized environment, even seemingly straightforward statements can be hijacked by one side or the other.

But our work on your behalf behind the scenes is not just about advocacy. Because while the men and women of the FBI need defending, what you need even more is to be paid. It may not seem like it, but I can tell you firsthand there’s an enormous amount of work going on on that front.

We’ve been trying to think outside of the box to find some kind of short-term relief. And until last night, we thought we were going to be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

We thought we’d found a way to make a one-time payment to all GS and wage grade employees– that is, all non-SES employees – as a way to bridge the gap until the government reopens.

A whole bunch of folks worked like crazy to make this happen, with lots of coordination between Finance Division, HRD, and OGC to try something the Bureau had never done before. They did everything they could, but at the end of the day, we ran into some unforeseen obstacles, and we couldn’t make it happen, at least for this week.

But this is not the end.

We’re not going to give up – we’ll keep fighting to find a meaningful way to help you, to see if we can make something happen, and happen soon. We’re already making progress on new options. And you can rest assured: We have no higher priority. This job is hard enough already, even when you are getting paid.

And that’s why it’s even more inspiring when I hear about the work you’re continuing

to do, day after day after day. That kind of dedication – that kind of skill, that kind of professionalism, that kind of grit – shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – least of all me –because that’s who you are.

That’s what the FBI is – that's what we stand for.

In spite of it all, you’re still doing what the American people need you to do. And we’re going to keep doing what the American people need us to do, come hell or high water. Because at the end of the day, that is who we do the work for.

And we can’t – we won’t – let the American people down.

In the FBI family, we’re no strangers to hard times and tough challenges – in 110 years, we’ve certainly had our share. But anybody who’s part of this family knows that we’re at our best in times of crisis, when we’re up against the worst odds.

We’re at our best when we stand together.

I’m seeing that here at Headquarters, and I’m seeing it in the field. You're not only focused on the work. You’re focused on helping each other, in countless ways.

You’re running food pantries and donation efforts. You’re working flex schedules to take

care of your families. You’re sharing job responsibilities with your colleagues. You’re gritting your teeth, getting the job done, and setting the standard for what putting the public first actually means in this environment.

Bottom line: let’s take care of the work, let's take care of the people we do the work for, and let's take care of each other.

And in this unprecedented and difficult time, there’s one thing I’m absolutely sure of: We will get through this, together, just as we’ve always done.


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