Starting Jan. 1, Tri-Cities Airport security officers will take over making sure people who have not been screened can't slip into a secure area at the Pasco airport.
Airport Director Ron Foraker told Port of Pasco commissioners last week that Transportation Security Administration officers will no longer be monitoring the doorway between the unscreened area of the airport terminal and the secured waiting area.
"It's to make sure no one who has not been screened gets into the security side," he told the Herald.
He said the TSA did not explain why the change was being made, but it's happening across the country at about 140 airports.
Foraker said it will not require the port to hire any new employees.
"We already have our own security staff stationed in the security area as planes take off and land. They'll just stand in a different place than they do now," he said.
In the future, when the airport is remodeled and expanded, electronic security devices or doors will be used to prevent people who have not been screened from getting into the screened area, Foraker said.
Also last week, the commissioners discussed going out for bids for an airport parking vendor. The vendor is responsible for the parking ticket machines and collecting the parking fees as people leave the airport.
The current five-year contract with Republic Parking System will expire at the end of January.
Teresa Newell, who's been the Pasco Republic manager for 10 years, asked commissioners to consider her company's good track record when awarding the bid.
"We do have a great relationship," Foraker said. "They're good people and do a good job. We're just going through our due process by putting it back out on the street for bids."
In other business:
-- Malin Bergstrom, head of the Save the Old Naval Air Station Tower project, told commissioners that Eagle Scout Keyna Collingham -- with help from family and friends -- built two ramps at doors leading into a building next to the old tower. The ramps comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and were built with donated materials.
-- Representatives from Conover Insurance gave the commissioners a rundown on health care premium increases for 2014. After comparing proposals for medical, dental and vision plans from six insurance companies they decided to stay with their current carriers, Asuris and WDS/Delta.
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