Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 24, 2006

DHS IG looks at TSA admin workforce

Filed under: Aviation Security,Organizational Issues — by Christian Beckner on October 24, 2006

The DHS inspector general released a report yesterday that looks at TSA’s staffing of non-administrative positions at major airports. It finds a system in which airports’ administrative staffing decisions bore little relation to the size of the airport. For example, the chart on page 6 of the report shows airports that had 300-400 screeners and over thirty administrators, for a 10:1 ratio; whereas larger airports with over 1,000 screeners in some cases had 10-15 administrators, for up to a 100:1 ratio.

The report describes a current initiative within TSA to reapportion the administrative workforce, an effort launched in 2004 which thus far has not been implemented. Hopefully it will be soon. And it also looks at the use of TSA screeners for administrative purposes, which has led directly to the screener workforce racking up hundreds of thousands of hours of overtime in recent pay periods.

The report offers up four concluding recommendations:

  1. Conduct a workforce analysis of FSD administrative staff and develop a staffing model to identify the number of employees actually needed at airports. This analysis should identify key mission areas and responsibilities; and take into consideration the time and nature of administrative work performed by screeners when assessing its workforce requirements.
  2. Review proposed adjustments to FSD staffing levels and ratios of administrative to screener personnel. In particular, proposed changes to Hawaii’s administrative staff caught our attention as warranting more review.
  3. Continue to study technologies or systems that will automate data entry functions at airports.
  4. Reclassify administrative positions using more inclusive position titles to incorporate more of the functions employees perform and facilitate the hiring of administrative personnel.

In its response, TSA concurs with most of these recommendations, and indicates that it has recently started a comprehensive workforce review.

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