Oversight panel investigates TSA’s worker reassignment policies

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wants to see if the Transportation Security Administration has been abusing its power to relocate employees to different workplaces.

In a letter to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) question whether agency workers were wrongly given involuntary reassignments to different workplaces or retaliated against.

The committee’s inquiry was sparked by a memo sent out by TSA’s Office of Human Capital, which effectively put the brakes on the agency’s pending requests to involuntarily relocate employees.

“Until further notice and effective immediately, Directed Involuntary Reassignments must be routed through the Office of Human Capital (OHC) for review and approval. … All Directed Reassignments current in process will be halted, reviewed, and possibly returned to the program office for further action, if the nature of action is unclear or isn’t clearly supported as outlined in policy,” the Feb. 29 memo said.

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Citing a TSA management directive, the committee said prior to OHC’s memo, TSA employees not part of the Senior Executive Service were required to accept  involuntary reassignment “to any location with minimal notice to support the agency’s staffing needs.”

The committee’s letter requests that TSA provide copies of all policy documents concerning involuntary reassignments that have been in effect since 2012. It also asks that the agency provide disciplinary records on employees dated within six months of their reassignment.  TSA has until March 29 to respond to the agency’s questions.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Affairs and subcommittee member Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), also signed onto the letter.

When asked Wednesday for comment, a TSA spokesman said the agency received the letter and will respond directly to the committee.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the federal worker union that represents the most TSA employees, declined to comment.