SRQ closer to privatizing screeners

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Is the privatization of airport security screeners a good idea?

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport has decided to opt out of the TSA screening program, and will soon replace the current screeners (all government employees) with people hired by a private company.

Total Votes: 81


Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 9:52 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- There are more than 50,000 TSA screeners nationwide, and in the next few months, there will be about 75 fewer in Sarasota.

"It's called the Screening Partnership Program, it allows the airport to opt out of the TSA screening program," explained airport CEO Rick Piccolo.

By November, SRQ will be among the first twenty airports in the nation to opt out of federal worker. 

"Hopefully it'll bring better customer service--they've been fine, but allowing for more flexibility in scheduling and make it easier to control," Piccolo said.

Piccolo says it has nothing to do with saving money--but rather a philosophy to not have federal agency overseeing and regulating itself.

"Most countries have security done by a private enterprise, managed by a government agency for oversight. I think there are only four countries in the world that have federal employees doing the screening," he said.

Passengers at SRQ were mixed on the plans to privatize the federal screeners.

"Anytime you have government oversight, they'll be problems. If a private company is allowed to do it, they'll probably get it done," said Doug Dee, a passenger waiting for his flight back to Atlanta.

But Martha Riles of Sarasota doesn't see a reason to change the status quo. "TSA is already here and keeping us safe and grounded, so why bring in another company?"

TSA will actually choose the private company, and as for the federal workers, the policy states they'll have an opportunity to work for the new company and even receive a similar salary and benefits package.

Piccolo says passengers won't notice much difference besides different uniforms.

"We're hoping the only difference they see is a little better response to customer service, again I want to stress we didn't have huge problems from a local standpoint," he said.

Piccolo expects the transition to be complete by November.

The only other Florida airport to use private screeners is Key West, however Sanford, near Orlando, is expected to be second, with Sarasota the third to make the change.

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Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • roguejeff posted at 8:32 pm on Wed, Jun 25, 2014.

    roguejeff Posts: 2

    So, back to the "good old days" of Joe Squat, the rinky-dink security guard with an I.Q. par with plant life, eh? Minimum wage, no benefits, no experience required.....

    Remember those days, everyone? Apparently SRQ management has forgotten 9-11 altogether, for the sake of saving the almighty dollar.

    Canning the TSA for inept security guards as replacements? It's like urinating on the World Trade Center Memorial and the graves of all who lost their lives to terrorists who, as I recall, were pre-screened by "minimum wage, no benefits, no experience required, rinky-dink security gourds in Boston."

    Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. I'll never fly through SRQ again.


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