Directors of Fort Lauderdale Airport Security Unlicensed; Company Ignored It, Investigators Say (UPDATED)

Categories: WTFlorida
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Update, 3:15: Added comment from AlliedBarton.
See also: Broward County Admin Bertha Henry Doesn't Care if Airport Security Managers Are Licensed.

Two of the people in charge of security at both the Port Everglades Seaport and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport weren't even licensed Florida security guards -- and one of them, District Manager Anne Marie Cummings, was denied licenses on multiple occasions, according to a report released this morning by the Broward Office of the Inspector General.

AlliedBarton Security services began overseeing security operations at both the Seaport and Fort Lauderdale Airport in 2010 and knowingly employed two managers who weren't properly licensed to run the operation, the report says.

That, however, is probably as far as it will go: Though Cummings and Project Manager David Macedo ran the day-to-day operations of both locations for AlliedBarton, Cummings was "terminated" in May, and Macedo has since gotten licensed.

AlliedBarton, in a statement sent to New Times, said it "respectfully disagrees with the Broward County Office of the Inspector General's interpretation of Florida law regarding managers' licenses." It says the company believes it was "at all times in compliance," and that the companiy's "personnel are highly qualified and are extensively screened" with both Homeland Security and the TSA, which "exceeds that conducted by the State of Florida licensing authorities."

They also pointed out that the company has never been cited by the state or county in regards to its managers' licenses.

AlliedBarton has a five-year, $19.5-million contract with the county that includes, according to the OIG, "checkpoint security, patrol duty, opening of gates, checking credentials and traffic control." Private security workers in Florida require licenses -- which neither Cummings nor Macedo had. From the report:
Richard Mullan, Vice President/General Manager for AlliedBarton, and the company's top executive in Florida, told the OIG that he knew Ms. Cummings and Mr. Macedo were not licensed when he assigned them their responsibilities, and he did so because -- in his opinion -- the statute did not require either of them to be licensed.
Unfortunately for Mullan, the state's Division of Licensing says otherwise -- which the company could very well have been aware of. Cummings allegedly applied for two different licenses and was denied, "in part because it concluded that she did not have the security experience required to qualify for the licenses." One of those licenses was a Class "D" license -- required of even the lowest-level private security guards. She told investigators AlliedBarton found out about the investigation in March and "had cited the existence of it as a reason for her termination."

The OIG does say that, outside of the two central managers being unqualified, there were no security concerns at either location.


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