JFK guards dozing, Terror-targeted JFK Airport has become a
giant slumber party for some of its security guards - who
regularly doze on duty at key posts, according to a former boss and
damning photos obtained by The Post.
JFK guards dozing, Although the airport has been at the center of at least one terror plot — and an embarrassing security snafu involving a jet skier last summer — these disturbing infractions seem to mean little to the cadre of guards who catnap on the job, says the ex-boss, Stephen Jackson, 39.
“It was a regular occurrence finding the guards sleeping,” said Jackson, a former manager for FJC Security, which employs about 300 security guards at JFK Airport.
The married Staten Island father of four said he typically supervised between 58 and 65 guards over an eight-hour shift at JFK — and regularly caught about six sleeping on duty.
FJC guards earn starting salaries of $17.23 an hour with benefits — nearly $36,000 yearly, or about $6,000 less than the $41,975 annual starting salary of a rookie NYPD cop.
One FJC worker who allegedly found it difficult to keep his eyes open was Suhas Harite, 68. Jackson claims to have caught him sleeping twice while assigned to a remote post not far from Jamaica Bay.
The post is about 150 yards from where a stranded jet skier last August breached a 6-foot-tall fence that was part of the vaunted $100 million Perimeter Intrusion Detection System bought by the Port Authority from defense contractor Raytheon.
The hapless skier sauntered unchallenged across two airport runways and wasn’t detected until he approached someone for help.
That fiasco, revealed by The Post, led the PA to authorize hundreds of thousands of dollars in police overtime to beef up patrols. FJC added four posts in the area, Jackson said.
The remote location, however, proved irresistible for sleepy guards such as Harite, Jackson said.
In a 36-second cellphone video Jackson took in March and provided to The Post, a man he identified as Harite can be seen at the wheel of an FJC vehicle sleeping contentedly.
“Come on, buddy. Wake up!” Jackson is heard saying to the man as he repeatedly honks his horn.
“Beeping the horn, nothing. A plane’s taking off,” Jackson says in the video while still honking as a jet is seen and heard overhead.
Jackson said that he told management about Harite’s napping at the post but that they kept him there — and he photographed Harite sleeping at the same spot several weeks later.
That nap, Jackson said, cost Harite a one-week suspension without pay.
Jackson claims he photographed another FJC guard, Tiana Small, in March as she dozed in a company car.
Harite did not immediately return a call for comment. A woman answering Small’s phone said she was busy and might call back. She didn’t.
Jackson also provided The Post with a third photo of what appeared to be yet another sleeping FJC guard — this one taken at a security booth near the postal-service facility in JFK.
Jackson said management gave him grief when he reported such lapses.
“If you fire someone, you have to do paperwork, hire someone new and place others on overtime until you can find somebody else, so a lot of managers wouldn’t want that placed on their shoulders,” he said.
“I’d be told, ‘Jackson, why do you have to make more work for us by exposing these people for sleeping? You should just wake them up and give them warnings.’ ”
Asked about the video and photos of sleeping guards, PA spokeswoman Lisa MacSpadden said, “FJC guards should do their napping at home, not on the job.”
On Friday, the PA rapped the three FJC employees caught sleeping in photos made available to The Post, banning them from working at PA facilities.
MacSpadden suggested FJC’s handling of dozing guards could affect how new security contracts, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, would be awarded.
“We consider past and current performance of our vendors in any future contract awards,” she said.
FJC has multimillion-dollar contracts with the PA at all three area airports, at bridges and tunnels and at the World Trade Center due to expire in January 2015.
Jackson said he was fired on a technicality after letting a worker who didn’t have his ID into a restricted area he normally had access to. Jackson said a supervisor had advised him to let the guy in.
FJC would not comment on why Jackson was fired.
Mike McKeon, an FJC spokesman, dismissed Jackson’s claims about the guards as “sour grapes.”
“The first we heard about this was after he was disciplined,” McKeon explained.
“He said, ‘If you fire me, I’m going to take this to The Post.’ I’ll give him this: At least he was a man of his word with regards to this.”
“Had he done this while on the job, he would have been commended. But he didn’t do this.”
Jackson said evidence, including e-mails and memos, proved McKeon’s assertions untrue.
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