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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 5, 2006

Terminations leveled out for Hawai'i TSA workers

Advertiser Staff


2002 7

2003 60

2004 33

2005 12

Total 112

Source: Transportation Security Administration

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More than 100 Transportation Security Administration employees have been fired since the agency opened its Honolulu division in 2002.

Screeners and other workers have been dismissed for failed drug tests, working while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and falsifying time sheets. TSA officials argue the problems are consistent with the initial years of any startup business.

Fourteen TSA employees were dismissed for leaving their post, five for working while under the influence of alcohol, four for sleeping on duty and three for falsifying time sheets, according to TSA officials.

The agency needed to be put together quickly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the Department of Homeland Security was put in the position of hiring federal workers without conducting thorough background checks, said Nico Melendez, TSA spokesman, by phone from Los Angeles.

The checks were performed once employees were on the job, and it turned out that many needed to be terminated. After an initial purge, terminations have leveled out since 2003, when there were 60.

"We put them (TSA employees) on the job because we needed to make a congressional deadline," he said. "We have the highest caliber of men and women, and we hold them to a very high standard."