BOISE -- Months after a national government report on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee misconduct was released and KTVB requested Idaho's records, the TSA returned data outlining TSA employee misconduct and discipline for those offenses.
At the request of Congress, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) prepared its 33 page report titled "TSA Could Strengthen Monitoring of Allegations of Employee Misconduct". The report found 9,622 misconduct cases between 2010 and 2012. Offenses included things from sleeping on the job to helping a family member bypass security.
After the report came out, KTVB filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the TSA to obtain information about Idaho's cases. The results showed dozens of cases of misconduct in Idaho, from skipping work to making inappropriate comments of a sexual nature.
Idaho's cases account for less than 1 percent of reported TSA misconduct cases
Nationwide, most offenses involved attendance issues, followed by screening issues, like not following proper policy, bypassing security and sleeping on the job. Idaho's numbers, for all airports in the state, indicate similar issues, but on a much smaller scale.
According to data obtained by KTVB, Idaho had 57 misconduct cases between 2010 and 2012 (the same time period examined by the GAO report). That shows less than 1 percent of the cases addressed in the federal report were in Idaho.
The majority of cases in Idaho were for not following agency procedures or being absent or late for work. Fifteen cases were for inappropriate comments or conduct, some of which were listed as sexual in nature or a threat to the public.
The following is a categorized breakdown of Idaho's 57 cases between 2010 and 2012, based on numbers by the Transportation Security Administration:
- Failure to Follow Procedures or Instructions: 22
- Inappropriate Comments or Conduct: 15
- Tardy or Absent: 13
- DWI: 4
- Other (Including workplace violence, allowing unauthorized access): 3
Idaho employees fired for offenses including abusive language, workplace violence
Most employees were written up while some were suspended or terminated, according the the TSA data. Other disciplinary measures included demotion or counseling. Idaho employees were terminated for offenses like workplace violence, abusive language and lying.
The following is a categorized breakdown of Idaho's 57 cases between 2010 and 2012, based on numbers provided by the TSA:
- Letter of Reprimand: 22
- Suspension: 14
- Termination: 10
- Other/Unknown: 11
GAO recommends changes, TSA agrees
In addition to showing the cases reported, investigated and acted upon, the GAO made recommendations in the national report. The report says while the TSA has taken steps to manage investigations and discipline, nationwide, they could do better to monitor what's being done, if current procedures are working, and if all allegations are being properly checked out.
The Department of Homeland Security, which is the agency over the TSA, agreed with recommendations by the GAO. In a follow-up letter included in the report, the agency's plans by April 2014 included increasing auditing of disciplinary measures and ensuring that all disciplinary actions are in fact recorded.
The TSA regional office in Seattle sent us the following statement:
“TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and expects all TSA employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism. TSA concurs with GAO’s four recommendations to ensure that the agency establishes a process to verify that TSA staff at airports are in compliance, and is already working to implement these recommendations."
"All aspects of our workforce regimen — hiring, promotion, retention, training, proactive compliance inspections, investigations, and adjudications — are driven by adherence to the highest ethical standards. There is zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace and TSA takes appropriate action when substantiated, including anything from a referral to law enforcement or termination of employment.”
Click here to see the TSA's full response to KTVB's FOIA request. Note: All employee actions for all Idaho airports consolidate at the TSA Idaho Hub in Boise/Gowen Field, so all list as Boise cases. The TSA did not identify cases by airport.