Compensation and Staffing Levels of FAA Police Force at Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports

GGD-85-24: Published: May 17, 1985. Publicly Released: May 28, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed compensation and staffing levels of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) police force at Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports.

GAO found that: (1) FAA police officers are paid less than most federal and nonfederal police officers in the Washington metropolitan area, causing recruitment and retention problems; and (2) on-board staffing levels are 25-percent less than authorized. Former police officers indicated that some of their reasons for leaving the FAA force included better pay and benefits, management/employee relations, working conditions, advancement opportunities, and performance recognition. While FAA has tried to correct some problems through more aggressive recruiting efforts, GAO believes that it would be more appropriate to treat the problems as part of an overall assessment of compensation issues, rather than as a separate issue, because of the pay disparities among federal police forces. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) began, but never completed, a study on federal police officers' compensation and classification processes.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress is currently considering legislation to turn over the airports to local entities. If this legislation is enacted, the FAA police would be terminated and their duties would be assumed by the local jurisdictions.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should report to Congress on what administrative or legislative actions are needed to resolve the FAA police staffing problems. In its assessment of the actions needed, OPM should consider whether: (1) the work of General Schedule police officers, and in particular FAA police officers at National and Dulles airports, is properly valued in comparison with other General Schedule positions and other federal police work under special compensation systems; and (2) the work of police officers belongs under the General Schedule or whether a uniform and separate occupation schedule for federal police work with a single pay system should be developed.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management


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