Passport Employees Plead for More Time to Review Passport ApplicationsMonday, January 12, 2004
Contact: Randy Erwin (202) 216-4451 (office) (202) 898-1866 (fax)
Over the past five years, employees at the Department of State's Passport Services have pleaded for more time to review passport applications, a process called adjudication. Despite the fact that fraudulent passports have been issued to serious criminals and the concern that potential terrorists will obtain passports, management officials have only continued to demand faster processing of passports.
In an apparent attempt to increase efficiency, Passport management officials recently initiated a quota of 24 passports per hour for most Passport Specialists (the employees who adjudicate passport applications), a standard extremely difficult to meet while giving each application due scrutiny.
In a meeting last December in Washington, DC Passport management officials informed bargaining unit employee representatives that the quota would be going into effect. Unable to persuade management of the seriousness of the issue, Passport employees from National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Local 1998 are voicing their concerns publicly and with a letter to Congress (see attached). "The concern I have is that Passport employees do not have enough time to perform their work diligently," said Local 1998 President Colin Walle. "Subtle indications of fraud are missed when insufficient time is given to review applications. Employees can meet whatever quantity expectations the agency sets, but without adequate time to do the job thoroughly, mistakes are going to happen, and our national security could hang in the balance."