Fixing FPS gets another shot

Wednesday - 1/12/2011, 10:36am EST

Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member, House Homeland Security Committee

Click the link above to hear the interview.

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The security of the workspace is a growing concern to federal employees, specifically the security of federal buildings.

The Federal Protective Service, charged with protecting federal buildings, has been a "basket case," Steve Watkins, editor of the Federal Times told Your Turn with Mike Causey.

Currently, about 15,000 FPS employees are contracted, while only 1,200 are federal employees, and of even greater concern to Representative Bennie Thompson (D - MS), "when we checked the credentials of the contract employees, many of them, their credentials had expired."

Thompson told Federal News Radio that's only one reason he has reintroduced a bill to modernize the FPS.

Things have changed since last April, when Thompson told the Federal Drive "there's no reason for alarm." Now, he said, "in this particular climate, given what has occurred in Arizona, we absolutely need to take immediate steps to protect the public. There's reason to be concerned."

Thompson said he would like a one year pilot "that would look at both federalizing the workforce completely or looking at a standardized contracting. Right now, we have both."

The bill would also add 500 uniformed FPS employees into the system.

The proposed pilot would also compare the costs of federal hiring versus contracting, but to leave things as they are "is not the way to go," said Thompson.

While he said the federal government is still a good place to work, "we have to review our systems periodically to make sure that those systems work and, to the extent that we can, prevent bad things from happening."

While the new version of Thompson's proposal hasn't been posted online yet, it's identical to his bill that got to the Senate floor last year, but was never passed. You can see last session's bill by clicking here.

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