Daniel K. Inouye International Airport rebadges thousands of employees to comply with regulations

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Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is forced to rebadge 23,000 employees to comply with federal regulations.

Transportation officials call it an administrative issue. One that will cost tax payers more than a hundred thousand dollars to remedy.

The badge oversight was revealed in a Security Threat Assessment done earlier this year. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) notified the DOT of the compliance issue in February.

The deadline for all 23,000 employees to receive the new badges was Wednesday, June 27.

Tim Sakahara, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, said the audit brought to light several issues.

“There was some cases where some of the personal identification for example might not have matched up. So someone got married and changed their name. Maybe they moved in the last year and their address didn’t match up. Some of those things could have raised a flag,” Sakahara said. “The remedy was just to have us rebadge all 23,000 people that have a badge at the airport in order to make sure that we are in compliance.”

KHON2 asked how much it cost to issue new badges to the employees.

“We did have to pay for the new badges and the materials, and we had to buy a few printers as well. The total cost, it was pretty nominal in the hundred thousand dollar or so range,” Sakahara explained.

Sakahara said the details regarding the rebadge were listed on the airport website in March.

But an airport worker who did not want to give his name said he just found out.

“I got an email from my manager saying that we have to rebadge our badges from Monday to Wednesday, and I think I got the email on Sunday,” said the airport employee.

An email sent out to Daniel K. Inouye workers dated Sunday, June 24, listed Wednesday, June 17 as the deadline.

“Tonight the old badges are going to start being deactivated,” said Sakahara. “What that means is if someone comes in tomorrow and their badge is the deactivated they won’t be authorized to go through to their place of employment.”

KHON2 asked if the DOT could face any fines if the rebadging is not completed.

A document from the TSA to the airport stated that: 

“TSA has forewarned that within the Letter of Investigation that was sent to the Airport that due to the number of violations under scrutiny, each violation may incur a fine of $13,066.00 per violation. The approximate fine may be in the vicinity of $25 million if HNL does nothing to correct the violations noted.”

“Any fines would be speculative to talk about with the airport or the federal government. At this point, there haven’t been any,” Sakahara said.

Sakahara said they do have a plan to avoid this from happening in the future.

“We are going to re-audit ourselves to check for this exact thing to make sure that we are compliant,” Sakahara said. 

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