Legislation introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) has the potential to change the features of the existing Ombudsman Office at the Transportation Security Administration. HR 1165 would amend Title 49 of the U.S. Code, "to establish an Ombudsman Office within the Transportation Security Administration for the purpose of enhancing transportation security by providing confidential, informal, and neutral assistance to address work-place related problems of ... employees...."
The bill aims to do the following:
- Requires that the Ombudsman report directly to the Administrator, or to the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) in the event of an unresolved difference between the Ombudsman and the Administrator.
- Establishes the CHCO as the sole official responsible for appointing the Ombudsman.
- Establishes regional ombudsmen, appointed by the Ombudsman, each of which is responsible for no more than three regions.
- Requires the regional ombudsmen to visit each region at least once per calendar year.
- Requires the Ombudsman to conduct outreach to TSA employees and publicize a toll-free number where employees can report complaints.
With the exception of a mandate for regional offices, most of these are already attributes of the TSA Ombuds program. However, there is the possibility of further changes as the bill is receives further consideration by the House Committee on Homeland Security. (OpenCongress.org, HR 1165.)