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police & fire

Firm with napping GWB security guards had prior lapses, report says

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

“The two GWB workers caught asleep on the job may just be the tip of the iceberg,” says investigative reporter Marcia Kramer of CBS 2 HD, citing this week’s outing of two bridge security guards who were photographed napping at their posts: Another guard reportedly was asleep when a man walked by and jumped to his death, and another lost his job for playing canned laughter so loud over the police radio frequency that cops couldn’t communicate.

A former City Hall bureau chief at the New York Daily News, Marcia Kramer has won some of the most prestigious awards in her field, including two George Foster Peabody awards, two Edward R. Murrow awards, a first-place award for investigations by the Associated Press — and five Emmys.

She also broke the story exposing the improper use of lights and sirens by city government officials, leading Mayor Bloomberg to remove lights and sirens from hundreds of vehicles.

Kramer also uncovered a network of people who stole school supplies and sold them on the black market and produced a report exposing school board members vacationing in Las Vegas on taxpayer dollars.

She was also the reporter who nailed the 1992 interview with President Clinton in which he confessed he “never inhaled.”

In this case, Kramer reports: “One guard reportedly lost his job for playing canned laughter over the police radio frequency so the cops couldn’t talk to one another. In another instance a guard was reportedly asleep when a man walked by and jumped to his death of the bridge.”

The guards are assigned to alert authorities to “suspicious activity on the bridge,” PA police told Kramer.

Earlier this week, and several other times last month, bicycle tour guide Joey Lepore found suspicious activity on the bridge: guards asleep in their booths on the bridge.

After talking to one of them twice, Lepore said, he found the same guard nodded out a third time.

Then on Monday, Lepore saw the same guard sleeping twice — first as he pedaled into the city and then again on his way back to New Jersey.

In the end, the decision on how to handle the sleeping guards belonged to the Port Authority and its sub-contractor, FJC Security.

Because it’s a quasi-public agency, the authority doesn’t have to disclose how much it pays the firm or the length of the contract — even though it’s using your toll money.

Because of the authority’s unique structure, the public has no right to know how many security guards work the bridge, how much money they make, what their shifts are, or what type of background checks are done on them.

FJC was founded 20 years ago by retired NYPD Officer Frank Califano. Among its governmental clients, FJC’s website cites the federal Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the federal General Services Administration, and the Battery Park City Authority.

It bills itself as “the largest privately owned and locally operated security services provider in the Tri-State area….employing in excess of 5,000 qualified security personnel and the industry’s most experienced management staff.”

Not only that, FJC promises “competitive pricing and customized security guard programs supported by the Tri-state region’s most experienced security management staff.”

The website is “a financially solid firm…with revenues that exceed 100 million dollars annually.”

On its recruitment page, FJC says its applicants must have a current state security guard license or training certificate (8 hours pre-assignment training and 16 hours on-the-job training); must pass a criminal background check; must have an original Social Security card, as well as a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license “for specified locations only.”

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or aliens legally authorized to work here, and must “demonstrate the ability to write, read and speak English.”

No one at FJC management has spoken directly about the exclusive report that first appeared Monday on CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM — not even to Lepore himself.

Concerned over the fate of the two fired workers, Lepore said he tried reaching Califano by phone twice but hadn’t received a callback as of late Thursday evening.

The last time he called, Lepore said, he was told: “I can’t guarantee that someone will get back to you.”

FJC has its New York Corporate Headquarters at 275 Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park. It has a toll-free line: 1-888-TEAM-FJC. Or: (516) 328-6000. It keeps a Manhattan office at 246 West 38th Street, 10th Floor, Suite #2. Phone: (212) 398-1860. FJC has New Jersey locations, as well, including one at Newark Liberty Airport (in the Port Authority Operations Building), as well as at 26 Journal Square, Suite 500, in Jersey City. Phone: (201) 386-0530. Email:

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