Washington, D.C., Plans to Terminate $41 Million Contract with U.S. Security Associates
The administration of Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray plans to terminate U.S. Security Associates $41 million contract to protect D.C. government buildings.
Brian Hanlon, interim director, Office of Government Services, confirmed that D.C. has chosen a new security contractor to take over protecting these sites. Hanlon says the new contractor will begin providing security services soon.
The current contractor, U.S. Security Associates, has failed at least 23 weapons inspection tests since 2009 and been fined at least 118 times for violations of security and contract requirements at city government buildings.
“Mayor Gray is doing the right thing by getting rid of this contractor to ensure taxpayers get more responsible protection at public buildings,” said Jaime Contreras, capital area director for Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.
According to a July 2011 memo, undercover agents performed security tests from July 2010 to May 2011 in several of Washington, D.C.’s public buildings. At 12 USSA-protected facilities they were able to:
- Enter without showing identification
- Enter with a simulated cellphone bomb
- Enter with a simulated pipe bomb
- Enter with a simulated metal gun
- Drive in restricted areas
- Smuggle in a simulated explosive hidden in a book
Citizens have expressed concern about U.S. Security Associates for some time. Most recently, Stand For Security supporters and Washington, D.C., residents sent emails to key members of the City Council, urging them not to extend the multi-million dollar contract of U.S. Security Associates and asking them to consider the public safety when choosing a responsible contractor.
“The solicitation process conducted was a ‘best value’ solicitation that examined both performance and price,” Brian Hanlon, interim director of the Department of General Services, told a reporter for Washington, DC’s The Examiner. “In this case, Allied Barton achieved the higher score.”
During the last year, at least 11 other U.S. Security Associates clients have decided to end their relationship with the company. In New York City, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Medgar Evers College-CUNY and the Art Institute of New York have dumped USSA. In Washington, D.C., the Brookings Institution and the National Education Association have terminated their USSA contracts. The Art Institute of Colorado in Denver, as well as other clients in New Jersey and Philadelphia, has done the same.
This story has been updated for accuracy since its original posting on March 2nd, 2012.