TSA official received $90K in bonuses as screeners failed
House lawmakers blasted Transportation Security Administration officials Thursday for giving an executive $90,000 in bonuses at a time when watchdog tests revealed screeners routinely failed to find weapons at checkpoints.
The hearing is one in a series where whistleblowers have denounced the agency for rewarding top officials with large bonuses while retaliating against workers who complained about the unfair practices.
TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he overhauled the policies governing bonuses and the reassignment of workers who spoke out, practices many inside and outside the agency criticized before he took office in July.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, slammed bonuses given to TSA’s assistant administrator for the office of security operations, Kelly Hoggan, who is paid $181,500 per year. Chaffetz said Hoggan also received $90,000 in bonuses during a 13-month period that ended in November 2014.
Last year, ABC News reported TSA screeners failed to detect mock explosives or banned weapons 67 out 70 times during testing. “Those bonuses were given to somebody who oversees a part of the operation that was in total failure,” Chaffetz said.
Neffenger said he has since capped bonuses at $10,000 per year, “halting what I considered an unjustifiable prior practice that placed no limits on these awards.”
In February, Neffenger also put an end to involuntary reassignments. Any reassignment must now be approved by TSA’s Office of Human Capital to ensure it is the best move for the agency, he said.