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Monday, June 5, 2023

TSA Begins Process to Federalize Security Operations at Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Airport

The change was prompted after the airport board’s bid to retain the federal contract exceeded the maximum allowable amount to provide the necessary security services.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun the process to federalize airport security screening operations at Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) in Wyoming.

These services have previously been contracted by TSA to the city of Jackson and the Jackson Hole Airport Board. TSA has maintained oversight of all operations and required the city to meet the same security protocols and standards that are in place at other commercial airports nationwide.

Starting May 1, 2023, travelers departing JAC will be screened by TSA security screening officers employed by the federal government. This change was prompted after the airport board’s bid to retain the federal contract exceeded the maximum allowable amount to provide the necessary security services.

“TSA’s priorities at JAC are two-fold: to deliver seamless security operations for residents and visitors departing the airport and taking care of the employees who will be carrying out our security mission,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Wyoming Richard Whitmer. “Our commitment to the community is strong and we look forward to being a good partner as we move forward with the transition.”

TSA is in the process of offering current security screening officers the opportunity to remain in their current roles and transition to federal employment with full federal benefits. The benefits include comprehensive health care plans, a generous 401k retirement plan as well as accrual of annual and sick leave. Federal TSA officers are also eligible for up to $5,000 per year in college tuition reimbursement. TSA does not prorate benefits and offers full-time benefits for part-time employees.

Additionally, in July TSA is converting to a new compensation plan. Under this new plan, Transportation Security Officer (TSO) salaries will become significantly more competitive. TSOs will receive compensation and step increases that fully align with those on General Service, also referred to as the GS pay scale and locality adjustments the Office of Personnel Management publishes annually.

In addition to these promotions and step increases, TSOs at JAC will also receive locality pay, retention incentives, overtime pay, other forms of premium pay and be eligible for a variety of cash awards.

Once an employee becomes a federal TSA officer, they are eligible to transfer internally to most airports within the United States after a year of employment.

Agency officials were in Jackson on March 29 and held two town hall meetings with current security screening officers at JAC. The purpose of the town halls was to discuss the transition from contractor to federal employee and to answer questions. Based on a contract employee’s experience and qualifications, some may be eligible for promotions or higher pay. No individual will be paid less than their current hourly rate following the transition to federal employment.

Plans are for TSA to hold additional town hall meetings as the transition to federalization continues during the month of April. TSA officials will continue to be on-site at JAC and available to assist employees during the change.

TSA has committed to security screening operations at JAC remaining federalized for a minimum of five years. This will allow for employees who transition to federal employment to become fully vested in the federal retirement system and the government’s 401k plan.  

Read more at TSA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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