Saturday Jun 16, 201212:56 AM GMT
TSA proposes firing 7 Philadelphia airport employees
Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:51AM
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Saying it has "zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace," the federal Transportation Security Administration, which oversees passenger screening at airports, is seeking to dismiss seven Philadelphia workers.


The seven are among 10 employees who were suspended in November 2011 from security duties at Philadelphia International Airport, pending an investigation into allegations of payoffs for passing grades in annual proficiency tests.


In February, training instructor Shannon Gilliam, of Sharon Hill, pleaded guilty in federal court to taking a $200 bribe from a security officer. Last week, Gilliam, 29, was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and six months of house arrest, with four years probation.


Three of the 10 employees resigned after being suspended from security duties.


The decision to fire the other seven "affirms our strong commitment to our vital security mission and the safety of the traveling public," said Chris McLaughlin, assistant administrator for the Office of Security Operations.


The investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General.




This latest incident comes two weeks after 43 Transportation Security Administration workers in Florida were disciplined for not performing additional screening on random carry-on bags and passengers. CNN


Last month, after a series of breaches at Newark Airport, a Homeland Security inspector general report found the agency is failing to adequately report, track and fix security breaches at airports. The agency responded to those incidents with "corrective action," according to the inspector general, but not all the problems received the same treatment. CNN


The chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., a long-time critic of the agency, says the cases illustrate the need to reduce agency staffing and privatize baggage screening.


"There's a TSA disaster every week, and the security meltdown gets more and more outrageous," Mica says.


Mica, who has repeatedly called for privatizing Transportation Security Administration, said reforms "can't come soon enough." He added that hundreds of U.S. airports "still operate under the Soviet-style all-federal screening model." CNN







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