Screener Reduction on Track as Rightsizing is Refined

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Friday, June 6, 2003



The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will meet a Sept. 30 deadline for rightsizing its screener work force with the help of a more refined plan to determine screener needs of individual airports TSA Administrator Adm. James M. Loy said today.

Even as TSA began reducing screener positions it was refining a preliminary plan to recognize actual numbers of passengers being screened passenger wait time and airport characteristics that can physically limit the speed of passenger and baggage screening.   

"These refinements will allow us to continue shrinking our work force without an impact on air travelers " Admiral Loy said. "Security remains at the same high level and nationally passenger wait times remain low."

When the rightsizing effort was announced April 30 TSA noted that that it is a dynamic process subject to change. Budget constraints had required quick action and within days TSA crafted a preliminary airport-specific plan based on reducing screening lanes.

The refined rightsizing model designed to make sure each airport has the right number of full-and part-time screeners is driven by the number of originating passengers at each airport which is the best evidence of actual screening workload.   This model takes into account both passenger and baggage screener requirements as well as the actual checkpoints lanes and baggage equipment needed.   It also takes into account the unique physical characteristics of each airport.

TSA released new airport-by-airport figures that show rightsizing reached the half-way mark by successfully meeting a May 31 deadline for eliminating 3 000 positions. That leaves four months to meet a Sept. 30 deadline for trimming another 3 000 positions.

Rightsizing is expected to save taxpayers an estimated $320 million by Sept. 30 2004 TSA is using attrition whenever possible. More than 1 200 workers have been terminated for cause -- failing criminal background checks or drug or alcohol tests for example. We will use a competency-based process for further reductions.

TSA will rely more on part-time screeners to keep every open screening lane fully staffed and within two weeks will start approving requests from full-time screeners who want to switch to part-time. By then TSA will also be processing requests from qualified screeners at overstaffed airports who want to transfer to airports needing screeners.

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