(WASHINGTON)— Underfunding and mismanagement at the Federal Protective Service have left our nation’s federal buildings vulnerable, the American Federation of Government Employees said today in response to a preliminary GAO report on FPS.
“The GAO today confirmed what the members of AFGE’s FPS Local 918 have been saying for years: The Federal Protective Service is not meeting its mission requirements because it is not getting the leadership or financial support it needs to do its job effectively,” said David Wright, president of Local 918, which covers FPS employees nationwide. “As a result, federal buildings around the country are more vulnerable.
“Is it any wonder,” Wright continued, “that there have been contracting and oversight failures when—from 2000 to 2009—the number of contractors has increased from 7,300 to 15,000 and the number of FPS law enforcement officers has decreased from 1400 to1200?”
Seeing a silver lining in this grim report, Wright said, “I see a much brighter future for the FPS. The Obama administration has taken the first crucial step by proposing the transfer of FPS to the National Protection and Programs Directorate, which is a more natural fit than the current overseer, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The move creates the opportunity FPS needs to rebuild itself into the first class anti-crime and anti-terrorism agency the nation requires.
“But the move is just a starting point, and we look forward to working with Senators Lieberman, Collins and all members of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee to address the serious and long standing problems at FPS as outlined in the GAO report,” Wright added.
“Our voice finally has been heard and a new day will be dawning for this long ignored but truly mission critical federal agency,” Wright said. “The beneficiaries are not just the dedicated law enforcement officers who work for the FPS, but also the many thousands of workers and visitors to federal buildings and the American people who live and work near those facilities.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 750,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.