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Lawmaker threatens TSA with niceness law

Jan. 15, 2014 at 3:34 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A federal lawmaker has threatened to introduce legislation if employees of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration don't start being nicer to travelers.

Rep. Gerry Connelly, D-Va., said during a committee hearing on the TSA's Screening Partnership Program he was frustrated at agents "barking orders" at people in airports, adding the less polite an agent is, the more likely they are to encounter resistance from the public, The Hill reported Wednesday.

"There's no excuse for someone barking orders continuously at the public at any airport in America who is an employee of the federal government, or a contractor for the federal government," Connelly said. "I'd lose my job if I treated the public that way and rightfully so. My staff would be fired if I find that they treated my public that way."

TSA Assistant Administrator for Security Operations Kelly Hoggan said he agrees customer service is an important aspect of an agent's job, noting every employee receives 120 hours of training before starting work and customer service is part of the regiment.

Still, Connelly said if TSA agents don't start being more polite, he would introduce legislation to force the issue.

"If I can't get assurances that we're going to take that seriously and we're going to redouble our efforts to make sure that TSA agents or the private sector [contractors] are properly trained in customer service and show respect for the public we're serving, then we're going to have to do something legislatively about it," Connelly said. "I'm going to insist and I know I won't have any resistance from the other side of the aisle on that one."

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