Legal Affairs Office
The Legal Affairs Office performs the traditional in-house counsel role for the Agency. It provides, to the staff and management, legal advice on a wide range of legal issues. The Legal Affairs Office represents the Agency in litigation in matters pending before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Merit Systems Protection Board, Veterans Law Court, Federal Labor Relations Board, Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, and Texas Workforce Commission. Agency lawyers also provide support to U.S. Department of Justice attorneys who represent the Agency in litigation in the United States District Courts, United States Court of Federal Claims, and United States Courts of Appeals. The Legal Affairs Office participates in international negotiations with the Mexican Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and provides international law advice and other legal support for the Agency during negotiations and discussions with the Mexican Section. Agency attorneys coordinate closely with U.S. Department of State lawyers regarding Treaties, Minutes, other international agreements, and issues regarding international law and policy. The Chief Legal Counsel performs duties as the "legal adviser" identified in Article 2 of the 1944 Water Treaty between the United States and Mexico, one of five USIBWC duty positions that has diplomatic immunity when the officer is in Mexico on IBWC business. The Chief Legal Counsel and the Assistant Legal Advisor serve as the Designated Agency Ethics Official and Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official, respectively, and manage and implement the Agency's Ethics and Privacy Programs.
The Legal Affairs Office manages the Agency’s Ethics program. The USIBWC Ethics Office provides ethics and legal information, education, legal opinions, and the employee standards of conduct and issues that may arise as an Agency employee. The Ethics Office also provides introduction and exit advisories to make employees aware of ethics laws and requirements upon entering or leaving Agency.
Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain. As federal employees and employees of the Executive Branch, each Agency employee is required to adhere to the 14 principles of ethical conduct and ethics laws when acting in their capacity as an Agency employee. More information on the conduct standards is available here: USOGE | Resources for Federal Employees.
Agency employees can submit Ethics related questions such as compliance, conduct, gift acceptance, etc. Agency employees may also request a written legal opinion regarding a work-related activity and the agency’s compliance with ethics rules and laws. To submit a request for an ethics advisory, click here or send a request to Irma.Estrada@ibwc.gov.
The Ethics Office manages the annual financial disclosure reports. Title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. app. 101), Executive Order 12674 (as modified by Executive Order 12731), and 5 CFR Part 2634, Subpart I, of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) regulations require the reporting of this information.
The Ethics Office also manages the Ethics Training Program that includes the following training to: new employees and OGE 450 report filers.
Public Financial Disclosure reports (form 278e) and Periodic Transaction Reports are publicly available. A requester of such report must submit an OGE Form 201 to Disclosures or must submit an OGE 201 to the Legal Affairs Office to obtain the Commissioner’s reports.
Click here: USOGE | Resources for Federal Employees to view and download the following:
- The Fourteen General Principles ( PDF)
- Full Text of the Standards of Conduct ( PDF)
- Summary of the Standards of Conduct ( PDF)
- Compilation of Federal Ethics Laws ( PDF)
- Summary of the Conflict of Interest Laws ( PDF)
The Designated Agency Ethics Officer is:
Jennifer Peña, (915) 832-4728
The agency Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Officer is:
Rebecca Rizzuti, (915) 832-4729
Address: 4191 N. Mesa, El Paso, TX 79902
The Legal Affairs Office also responds to all FOIA requests.
Foreign Affairs Office
The Foreign Affairs Office reports to the Office of the United States Commissioner. This office supports the United States Commissioner's charge of joining with the Mexican Commissioner in application of the obligations and rights assumed by the United States and Mexican Governments in the several boundary and water treaties and IBWC agreements. The Foreign Affairs Office is headed by the United States Section Secretary who accompanies the U.S. Commissioner to IBWC meetings and, with the Mexican Section Secretary, controls the diplomatic communications of the IBWC. They prepare the IBWC formal agreements, IBWC Minutes, in English and Spanish and keep records of all discussions and understandings reached at those meetings, as well as advise on protocol. They serve as Spanish and English language interpreters and as policy advisers on domestic relations. In liaison with the Department of State, they serve as expert advisers on boundary and water treaty and IBWC agreement interpretations.
Public Affairs Office
The Public Affairs Office is available to respond to questions from members of the public about IBWC projects. If you would like an agency brochure or have a question about the IBWC, please contact our Public Affairs Office.
Equal Employment Opportunity Program
The Equal Employment Opportunity Program administers policy, methods, and procedures for implementing a model EEO program that complies with established USIBWC policies, Government-wide EEO statutes and regulations, and EEO-related Presidential Executive Orders. EEO Officer provides advice, technical assistance, and support to management officials, collateral duty and contract EEO personnel. The EEO Officer also serves as the diversity and inclusion official to support equal employment opportunity for all, and to provide a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. Additionally, the EEO Officer maintains the integrity of EEO programs by monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of all EEO programs, and compliance with established EEO policy and procedures.
Employees and/or Applicants for employment who believe they have been discriminated against because of their Race, Sex, National Origin, Color, Religion, Age (40+), or for physical or mental disability, and/or who believe they have been discriminated against for past EEO activity may file an EEO complaint by contacting Frances Castro, EEO Officer at (915) 832-4112. This contact must be within 45 days from the date of the alleged incident.
Internal Audit Program
The Internal Audit Program is responsible for critically evaluating USIBWC programs and activities to ensure full compliance with federal laws, regulations, and sound business practices. This requires planning, executing, analyzing, and reporting on the full scope of compliance and performance audit issues and in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards. Audit follow-ups are performed to ensure prompt and corrective actions are taken, to include implementation of audit recommendations, and to ensure controls are adequate in preventing recurrence of deficiencies. The Internal Audit function serves as the focal point for monitoring actions related to external audits such as those carried out by the Department of State Inspector General and private audit firms. The Internal Audit Program Manager serves as the audit liaison for the agency and submits final audit reports directly to the United States Commissioner. The USIBWC Auditor and Internal Audit Program Manager is currently vacant.
Human Resources Office
The Human Resources Office (HRO) is committed to partnering with USIBWC management in attracting, developing, and retaining a highly qualified and diverse workforce that enables the agency to achieve its mission and strategic goals. HRO does so by managing the following comprehensive array of programs:
- Human Capital Strategic Planning;
- Position Classification and Management;
- Pay and Leave Administration;
- Labor Relations;
- Employee Relations (including onboarding, benefits, conduct, and performance management and recognition);
- Employee Development; and
- Technical Services.
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Report
Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results revealed significant improvement in several areas. Thirty-four of the 82 survey items were noted as strengths. The USIBWC's greatest strengths reflect employees' self-perception in their work environment, including the following: employees are willing make an extra effort to get a job done; they like the kind of work they do; they constantly look for ways to do their job better; employees believe their work is important; and they know how their work relates to the agency's goals and priorities. USIBWC management values employees' positive views of their work and how it contributes to the agency mission. At the same time, survey results identified the following challenges: employees feel that they lack sufficient resources to accomplish their work; they believe pay raises do not depend on how well they perform their jobs; employees do not feel that creativity and innovation are rewarded; they are not satisfied with opportunities to get a better job in the organization; and they do not believe their training needs are assessed. Management and employees need to focus on sustaining its many strengths while working together to address its challenges.
The Special Assistant serves as a senior foreign policy adviser to the U.S. Commissioner. The Special Assistant is permanently assigned to the Office of Mexican Affairs at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., where the incumbent functions as the principal liaison between the USIBWC and the Department of State. The USIBWC is funded through and operates under the foreign policy guidance of the Department of State. The Special Assistant facilitates cooperation and coordination between the agency and the Department of State and other Washington agencies and organizations on USIBWC issues that have foreign policy implications. The Special Assistant represents the USIBWC in policy and technical discussions held in Washington and acts as a USIBWC point of contact for Washington Congressional offices and representatives of states, local governments, and non-governmental organizations represented or meeting in Washington.