Tsa Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2015by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Posted on 2015-02-10
JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Homeland
Security Committee and a former chair of the Transportation Security
Subcommittee, I rise in support of H.R. 719, the ``TSA Office of
Inspection Accountability Act of 2015.''
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member
Thompson for their leadership in bringing this legislation to the
H.R. 719 will save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands dollars annually by requiring the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conform its personnel classification practices to existing Federal law and regulations regarding criminal investigator positions.
According to a report by the Homeland Security Department's Inspector General (IG), about half of the employees in the Office of Inspection (OII) are classified as criminal investigators even though their duties do not involve responsibilities that can be characterized as criminal investigation activities.
Instead, the responsibilities of these employees primarily consist of administrative duties such as investigating cases of TSA employee misconduct and conducting internal reviews.
Classifying these employees as ``law enforcement'' personnel, however, makes them eligible for premium pay and other significant economic benefits.
If TSA fails to reclassify criminal investigator positions as noncriminal investigator positions or non-law-enforcement positions, this will cost taxpayers as much as $17,000,000 over 5 years.
This money could be utilized to ensure that law enforcement agencies, which identify, apprehend, and prosecute criminals, have the tools, resources, and training necessary to do their job efficiently, effectively, and economically.
Mr. Speaker, I have always strongly supported providing the resources needed by law enforcement and first responders and will continue to do so in future.
But we have an obligation to the American people to be responsible stewards of the public trust and it is not responsible to provide premium pay and benefits intended for law enforcement personnel to employees who do not perform the dangerous duties of law enforcement officers.
This bill will obligate the Assistant Secretary of TSA to reclassify criminal investigator positions in the Office of Inspection as noncriminal investigator positions or non-law enforcement positions if the individuals in those positions do not, or are not expected to, spend an average of at least 50 percent of their time performing criminal investigative duties.
This is an important step to bring transparency to the office of inspector with regards to the work of TSA personnel and law enforcement investigative task.
I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 719, which directs the Office of Inspection to reclassify its current criminal investigator positions to conform to the requirements of applicable law and save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.