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Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry tried to downplay an investigation into the unlicensed managers of the company overseeing security at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Seaport, according to letters released this morning.
A report from the Broward Office of the Inspector General today said two top employees of AlliedBarton Security Services in charge of managing security staff at the facilities did not have state security licenses as mandated by law. But a letter from Henry to the inspector general says that "the protection of our tenants and traveling public is one of Broward County's highest priorities" and that "we disagree that our facilities' or the public's security was ever compromised or placed at risk."
Henry touts the "substantial investments to maximize security at FLL and PEV" and says that "the report fails to identify a single incident where the physical security of either the airport or the port" was compromised.
In other words: If you don't crash into anything, why do you need a driver's license?
Henry said that because of the differing interpretations of who needs to be licensed and who doesn't, she wrote to the state's Division of Licensing, asking them to confirm whether the managers had to be licensed. In her response to the OIG, she picked out the section of the Division of Licensing response that agreed with her assessment and truncated the part that says she's totally wrong.
The Division of Licensing said it's true that the airport and seaport are not branch offices and that branch offices need licensed managers. However:
While AlliedBarton may not have to designate a manager to oversee a branch office in this particular instance, the agency cannot relinquish its responsibility to provide adequate direction and control to the armed personnel providing security services... A site supervisor responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of security personnel must still be licensed.
A-ha! See? Henry's evidence that she's right is actually the opposite thing of that. She just left it out of her letter.
If you're keeping score, that's the Florida Division of Licensing and Broward Office of the Inspector General on one side and Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry on the other, saying who cares if the people in charge of gun-wielding airport security guards know what the hell they're doing, all on a technicality that doesn't exist?
(And, if you don't feel like reading the whole story about the two managers: One got fired; the other now has his license. The security company's response, through a lawyer, is also below. It is essentially that neither employee was acting in the legal role of "manager" and that one of them was in the Coast Guard for a long time, so he's good.)