Audit: Airport maintenance crew short on certifications

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An audit of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport department responsible for ensuring the airport’s buildings, roads, runways, taxiways, lighting and grounds are maintained and repaired revealed that some employees lack required certifications for their jobs.

The Atlanta City Auditor’s Office report on the airport’s facilities management staffing presented at a city council committee meeting Wednesday says 17% of crew staff lacked a certification or license required for their positions.

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The requirements for credentials for some of the division’s nearly 170 workers were unclear, particularly when it came to positions that require a commercial driver’s license, according to the auditor’s office. The division lacked a centralized way to track credentials and lacked an effective process to monitor for suspended licenses.

One employee had a suspended license — and operating city vehicles without a valid driver’s license violates the city’s vehicle use policy, according to the audit report.

The airport’s electrician staff are not required to have electrician licenses. And though the report says 14 of 19 staff members are licensed, the airport’s human resources department said it is “hiring unlicensed electricians to improve recruitment.”

The audit also found that the division’s salary structure made it difficult to hire technical workers such as electricians, and that the division had not adopted a policy setting a cap on overtime. It noted one employee worked double and triple shifts.

The division used eight different systems to manage work, and its work-order management system had incomplete and inaccurate information, making it difficult to confirm whether staffing and scheduling meets the workload.

The auditor’s office recommended the airport require timely and accurate entries in the work order management system, use one system to record all maintenance work orders, develop a centralized credential tracking method and implement an overtime policy, among other recommendations.

Hartsfield-Jackson senior deputy general manager Michael Smith said the airport agreed with the auditor’s recommendations and is working to implement the changes, adding that work was being done even if record-keeping was incomplete. “The airport is operating safely and securely,” he said.

The city council transportation committee voted to accept and file the audit report.