Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fired Airport Security Chief to be Top School Cop

James B. Golden Jr., who was fired last year as federal security director for the Philadelphia International Airport, is in line to become the top security official in the School District of Philadelphia, the Daily News has learned.Golden's 18-month tenure at the airport was rocked by reports of security lapses and charges that he improperly hired his son-in-law as a manager of security screeners.

Allegations also surfaced that a former exotic dancer was hired as a screening supervisor.In February 2004, Golden, 55, was fired by the federal Transportation Security Administration, which has been in charge of the nation's airport security since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"After a thorough investigation, Mr. James Golden received a letter from the TSA advising him that his employment has been terminated for failing to follow TSA's policies regarding the hiring of relatives and for exercising poor judgment as a manager," read a TSA statement.

After appealing his termination, Golden was placed in a TSA administrative job in Arlington, Va., in October 2004 and then moved to another administrative job in February where he stayed until joining the school district, according to Cecilia Cummings, executive director of the district's Office of Communications.

Golden, a former Philadelphia police captain, police chief in Saginaw, Mich., and police director in Trenton, could not be reached.

The hiring of Golden Monday to fill the $115,000-a-year No. 2 security job at the school district - and his problems at the airport - were news to some school officials.

Cummings said she was not personally aware of his problems at the airport. The decision to hire Golden, she said, was made by Dexter Green, the current safety chief who is a long-time friend of Golden's.

Green, a respected former official with the Philadelphia police, could not be reached for comment.

Sources said Green has told school officials he will resign from the district in July to pursue other career prospects.

Following Green's departure Golden would be next in line to take over the safety office, which is charged with keeping order in the city's 270-plus public schools. The office has an annual budget of more than $30 million and 435 school police officers.


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