Bill would bolster Federal Protective Service

A Senate committee today approved a bipartisan bill that would add 500 more federal positions over four years to the struggling Federal Protective Service, which provides security at most federal office buildings.

The 2010 SECURE Facilities Act, approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, would also call for a study of the implications of insourcing the agency's 15,000-plus contract security guards, set minimum standards for contracted security guards, and establish a monitoring program to assess guard performance and security measures.

The legislation also calls for additional training courses and would allow FPS to assess security surcharges on agencies that do not follow FPS suggested security measures.

"This legislation goes a long way toward rectifying the Federal Protective Service's most serious management and personnel problems," David Wright, president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 918, said in a news release. The local represents FPS employees nationwide.

The reform legislation follows a Government Accountability Office investigation last summer in which GAO brought bomb-making materials into federal facilities without being detected by FPS.

A similar bill, HR 6122, was introduced in the House on Sept. 14 by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

FPS employs about 1,225 federal staff and contracts with more than 15,000 guards for about 9,000 buildings.

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