|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
Thursday, September 3, 1998
Washington, D.C. – U. S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) is continuing his campaign to get Congress to pass legislation he has introduced to make sweeping changes to the Federal Protective Service, the agency responsible for protecting more than 8,300 federal buildings across the country. "Low manpower levels, a flawed management structure, an unfair compensation system and the increasing use of unqualified contract guards are seriously compromising the ability of FPS to do its job," asserted Traficant in a letter sent today to every House member. "The longer Congress delays in addressing the problems facing FPS, the more Congress is tempting fate."
Traficant, the ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Public Buildings, introduced the Federal Protective Service Reform Act of 1998 last June. The bill, H.R. 4034, establishes, by statute, FPS as the principal law enforcement and security agency in the U.S. with respect to federal buildings. The bill also makes FPS a freestanding service within the General Services Administration (FPS is currently part of GSA's Public Building Service). Other provisions of H.R. 4034 would set clear qualification standards for FPS senior managers, clarify and broaden the authority of FPS officers, increase the compensation of FPS officers to the same level of comparable law enforcement agencies, increase the number of full-time FPS officers from 648 to 730, and require contract security guards to undergo the same background checks as FPS officers. Finally, the bill directs the General Accounting Office to conduct a feasibility study of folding all federal building security agencies into FPS.
In his letter to House members, Traficant noted that on April 19, 1995, the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, there was one contract security guard on duty in Oklahoma City responsible for protecting three federal buildings. "Since Oklahoma City, GSA has made some progress in improving the physical security of federal buildings," said Traficant. "But, as a recent hearing held by the Public Buildings Subcommittee revealed, the security upgrade program has been hindered by mismanagement and staff reductions. Structural and personnel problems within FPS are also hampering the security upgrade program."
According to Traficant, "every federal building in America is a potential target! The best way to deter terrorist acts against federal buildings is to have a highly motivated, professionally led, properly manned and fairly compensated FPS."
Since introducing the bill in June, Traficant has made several requests of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to hold a hearing on H.R. 4034, and send it to the House floor before Congress is scheduled to adjourn on October 9th. According to Traficant, there is a good chance that a subcommittee hearing on the bill will be held the week of September 14th.2009