I would like to take issue with the July 5 letter to the editor from Mr. Alan Jackimowicz ("SRQ should not downgrade airport screening security"). He appears to be very misinformed and makes many false statements.
He refers to airport screeners, prior to 9/11, as cheap labor and inexperienced screeners that may not speak English.
Prior to 9/11, screeners were employed, after background checks, by private security companies selected by the airlines and under the direction of the FAA. These screeners were trained, tested and certified. And, the FAA conducted random testing on a continuous basis. Wages were essentially set by the airline and the work was strictly part-time.
After 9/11, the TSA came and hired, trained and certified screeners. It should be noted that many of the new experienced TSA screeners that were hired were former cheap labor, inexperienced screeners with heard-the cattle-mentality people that Mr. Jackimowicz refers to in his letter.
And, if he bothers to check, he'll find that they are now some of the best TSA screeners. Many more would have gone to the TSA; however, they did not want full-time work, which was all they were offered.
Finally, Mr. Jackimowicz failed to state that the new private company that comes to SRQ will be under the scrutiny and direction of the TSA. And many of the present TSA screeners will probably remain with the new company.
So whatever philosophical issues Sarasota Bradenton International Airport President Rick Piccolo and the SRQ board has with checkpoint security, I hope go away.
Howard M. McLean