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TSA Continues To See Screeners Leave Agency

Attrition Rate Has Yet To Fall Below 20 Percent

It appears a program aimed at convincing screeners to stay at their jobs with the Transportation Security Administration is about as effective as... well, as most other aspects of the agency.

Over one in five screeners quit their jobs in 2007, according to a new TSA report obtained by the Federal Times. That report states 21.2 percent of workers told TSA to take their jobs and screen them in 2007, slightly above the 2006 rate of 20.9.

Most worrisome to TSA officials is the fact its "Performance Accountability and Standards System" -- implemented in 2005, which ties screener pay to performance -- hasn't had much effect toward keeping screeners on the job.

In its first full year, PASS did convince slightly more workers to stay with TSA than in 2005, when the attrition rate was at a staggering 23.5 percent... but the program has still failed to reduce the attrition rate below 20 percent.

On Thursday, the National Treasury Employees Union called on Congress to investigate how PASS may be affecting attrition, for better or worse.

"With roughly 8,000 of the approximately 40,000-member TSA work force leaving each year, TSA is incurring astronomical and unnecessary costs of training and retaining, recruiting and hiring and loss of productivity due to this revolving door," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement. "It is alarming that such a critical work force is in a constant state of flux."

PASS raises pay for veteran screeners by up to $5,300, and better positions them to move into other jobs with the Secret Service, or the Border Patrol. Advanced screener positions -- those that focus on bomb detection, for example -- offer annual salaries up to $56,700, which is a far cry from the $30,000 per year starting wage.

FMI: www.tsa.gov

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