Transportation picks search firm to hire federal security directors

The Transportation Department has hired Korn/Ferry International, a Los Angeles-based executive recruitment firm, to help find federal security directors to head security operations at the nation's 419 airports, agency and company officials said Tuesday.

Airports must have federal security directors under the 2001 Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which became law in November. Korn/Ferry will initially recruit security directors for the 81 largest airports across the country. Salaries for directors will range from $108,400 to $150,000, according to the job announcement.

Candidates for security director positions can register and fill out an application questionnaire online at a Web site created by Korn/Ferry. To apply for a security director position, click here.

Federal security directors will have operational control of security at airports and will report directly to the headquarters of the new Transportation Security Administration. They have authority to ground flights at an airport and will help supervise training for the new federal corps of baggage screeners. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, pass a background investigation, and have experience in law enforcement, risk detection, or senior-level management to be considered. "The candidate should be currently on a 'growth path,' within his or her own organization, and have already successfully held a senior management position which included specific accountability for personnel, operational results and manpower," said the job description. At a December briefing, Transportation officials said police chiefs have the type of skill mix they will look for in prospective security directors.

Korn/Ferry will select a number of candidates for each security director job. The Transportation Department will then evaluate the candidates, said Jim Mitchell, spokesman for the agency. "They're going to do what headhunter firms do," he said. Mitchell did not know the value of Transportation's contract with Korn/Ferry.

Mitchell added that the agency plans to recruit baggage screeners itself and will start screener training in February.

Information on how to apply for baggage screener positions is online at: http://jobs.faa.gov/SecurityScreeningPersonnel.htm.

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