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February 03, 2012

Report: Mismanagement Still a Problem at Federal Air Marshals

(WASHINGTON) – Today, a CNN news report details an extensive Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) report on problems at the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). The report was requested after CNN uncovered illegal employment discrimination and misconduct at a FAMS field office in Orlando in 2010. Throughout the IG's investigation it was clear that individual employees have experienced discrimination or retaliation. The IG reported that the perception of discrimination and retaliation is extensive and too significant to dismiss. We now know that FAMS employees filed 280 informal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints from September 2006 through May 2010 and they filed 174 formal EEO complaints from September 2006 through April 2011.

The IG also found that the number of informal and formal complaints rose sharply in 2010. Along with the investigation, the IG conducted a survey that led to conclusive results pointing to serious management issues across the organization. Their survey found 25 percent of respondents felt they have been discriminated against, 47 percent fear retaliation, and 55 percent believe favoritism is tolerated. The survey also revealed that most FAMS supervisors disagree with subordinates' perceptions of these problems. The IG report made several recommendations addressing management practices and modifications that must be enacted at FAMS.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement in reaction to the story:

"I am gravely concerned by the mismanagement uncovered and the alarmingly high number of employment complaints, which have increased in recent years. These management concerns are not new – the Committee was promised as far back as 2006 – and again in 2009 – that significant changes would be implemented to address problematic management practices at FAMS. Today it seems that nothing has changed. I am deeply disappointed by this lack of progress and am looking forward to significant changes as the organization implements the IG's recommendations."

Link to Report

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978