September 29, 2010
Tim Kauffman

AFGE Applauds Action to Reform Federal Protective Service

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees applauds the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for approving legislation to reform the beleaguered Federal Protective Service.

The SECURE Facilities Act of 2010 (S. 3806) was introduced Sept. 20 by a bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers, led by committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine. AFGE encourages swift action by the full Senate and House to pass this vital legislation, following today’s committee markup.

“This legislation goes a long way toward rectifying the Federal Protective Service’s most serious management and personnel problems,” said David Wright, president of AFGE Local 918, which represents FPS employees nationwide.

The bill would:

  • Allow FPS to hire at least 500 new full-time employees by 2014.
  • Set minimum training requirements for contract guards.
  • Establish an overt and covert monitoring program to assess guard performance and security countermeasures.
  • Require a study into the implications of converting all or part of the agency’s contract guard workforce into fulltime federal employees.

In addition, the bill would require representatives from agencies housed at federal buildings to complete a security training course before serving on Facility Security Committees, which are responsible for approving building security countermeasures recommended by the Federal Protective Service. The bill also would empower FPS to assess security surcharges on agencies that fail to comply with recommended countermeasures.

Wright said the legislation addresses key failures identified by the Government Accountability Office in a series of alarming reports during the past two years. In July 2009, GAO reported it was able to smuggle bomb-making materials into 10 high-security federal buildings and assemble them once inside, undetected by private security guards under contract to FPS.

“Despite the fact that the FPS has a critical homeland security mission – the protection of some 9,000 federal buildings and the people who work in and visit these buildings – this agency has suffered from chronic underfunding, reductions in personnel and a general inability to perform its mission,” Wright said in a Sept. 28 letter to Lieberman and Collins.

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