"We could advertise that you don't have to deal with the TSA if you fly out of Macon."
Originally from 13WMAZ.comCity councilman Erick Erickson wants the city of Macon's airport to replace the Transportation Security Administration with a private security contractor.
Erickson said he's asked the Macon city attorney to investigate the matter.
He says the city could offer an alternative to the controversial pat-downs and full-body scans that have angered air passengers nationwide.
The legislation that created the TSA allows communities to opt out of the federal agency at their local airports, as long as all required procedures are followed, he says.
That procedures include pat-downs, "but not the aggressive pat-down where they reach for your groin," says Erickson.
He says a private company handling security at Macon's Middle Georgia Regional Airport could replace rude and abusive employees quicker than the TSA.
He also argues that the switch would give Macon a marketing advantage: "We could advertise that you don't have to deal with the TSA if you fly out of Macon."
Erickson, whose work as a political commentator makes him a frequent flyer, admits he doesn't use the Macon airport. He also says he hasn't heard any complaints at Middle Georgia Regional. The FAA reports that 2,987 passengers took off or landed in Macon last year.
He wasn't sure how long it might take to make the switch and hire a private-security firm, but said Mayor Robert Reichert seemed to support the idea.
This comes as other airports in Florida and Georgia are debating whether to replace Transportation Security Administration employees who run security checkpoints with private contractors.
The Associated Press reports that Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida sent a letter to the nation's 100 busiest airports this month urging them to consider using contractors. He's a longtime critic of the TSA.
Sanford Airport Authority CEO Larry Dale said his board has authorized him to opt out of using TSA employees at the Orlando Sanford International Airport. Dale said he expects to send the government final notice in January, the AP says.