Homeland Security’s Hiring Procedure Comes Under Fire
August 12, 2008
By the way Department of Homeland Security personnel – forget Google in your background screening process. A simple employment verification would have provided you with all of the information you needed know in order to avoid this obvious blunder.
MINNEAPOLIS – One week after ousting disgraced Minnesota transportation official Sonia Pitt from the job she found at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the massive federal agency has taken a new step to beef up its vetting of potential hires.
From now on, more job candidates will have their backgrounds searched on Google.
The policy change, put forth by Kip Hawley, the top administrator of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration, is one among several signs that TSA’s admitted blunder in hiring Pitt on the heels of her scandalous firing from the Minnesota Department of Transportation has become a serious issue in Washington.
The incident is raising fresh questions about the effectiveness of Homeland Security, which has been dogged by recurring questions of competency since it was created in the spring of 2003 to protect the country from a repeat of sophisticated terrorist attacks.
Members of Congress and a watchdog group say they are alarmed by the hiring of Pitt, who had been fired in November from her executive-level emergency response job at MnDOT.
The 44-year-old Red Wing, Minn., resident failed to return for 10 days from an unauthorized state-paid trip to Washington during the aftermath of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.
MnDOT said she misspent $26,400 in state funds and made 94 hours of personal calls from her state-paid cell phone to a Federal Highway Administration official with whom she had a relationship.
Homeland Security officials are now investigating why Pitt continued to hold a federal security clearance after her MnDOT dismissal, whether her TSA application was complete and truthful, and whether cronyism or corruption was involved in her hiring.
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