|Source: DHS OIG|
By DANA LIEBELSON
If a Washington, DC-based friend told me that her office environment was characterized by "a great deal of tension, mistrust, and dislike," I would buy her a fruity happy hour drink, at the very least. But that is how U.S. Federal Air Marshals at field offices across the country are describing their work atmosphere—according to a new Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) report—and sadly, my funds are too strapped to pick up a national bar tab.
The OIG investigation began after whistleblowers in Florida alleged to CNN that Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) supervisors were ridiculing and discriminating against officers, including displaying a “Jeopardy!”-style game board with derogatory categories. The OIG report was supposed to be released to the public on Thursday. But POGO has obtained a copy of the report, which we are publishing…HERE.
Okay, got the report handy? Don’t have time to read all 100-plus pages? No problem. Here are some highlights:
Page 1: Summary: "Although individual employees may have experienced discrimination or retaliation, our review does not support a finding of widespread discrimination and retaliation within the Federal Air Marshal Service. However, employees’ perceptions of discrimination and retaliation are extensive.”
Page 2: There is useful background information here about how the FAMS moved to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after September 11, and how numerous U.S. Secret Service Retirees were then hired into the service.
Page 4: Tables outlining the number of discrimination complaints (during FY 2007-FY 2011) and Merit Systems Protection Board appeals (during 2005-2011) filed by FAMS employees.
Page 6: Description of the incident that triggered the investigation: “two photographs of a ’Jeopardy!’-style game board…categories included derogatory nicknames for a number of groups, including veterans, females, African-Americans, Hispanics, and lesbian and gay employees.”
Pages 12, 15, 16, 26, 27, 46, 47: OIG provides recommendations, TSA management responds, OIG analyzes the responses.
Page 22: Discipline process too slow, leads to “frustration and tension”
Page 63: Job satisfaction analysis: “notable percentages of American Indian/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, African-Americans, and females responded less favorably.”
Page 64: Fortunately, the report states that FAMS leadership is now in the process of addressing workforce issues.
Page 86: Survey questions and responses!
Page 100: FAMS whistleblower insight: Dallas and Houston have highest percentages of respondents who believe they “cannot disclose a violation of any rule…without fear of retaliation.” Minneapolis has lowest.
Page 113: The end! Hotline information! Trippy space background!
Dana Liebelson is POGO's Beth Daley Impact Fellow.