O'Hare Security Chief Fired After "Heated" Argument

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 25: Travelers with their baggage are seen in a check-in line September 25, 2006 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

    O’Hare and Midway Security Chief James Maurer was fired on Friday, Sept. 11, after allegedly getting into a heated argument with Eileen O’Connor, a top aide to Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

    O’Connor said she was physically attacked by Maurer.

    Maurer would not comment on the whole episode, but categorically denied the charge. Maurer and O'Conner had been quarrelling for several months over mapower shortages.

    The fight is only the outward manifestation of what seems to be lingering security issues at O'Hare.

    Last year, the Sun-Times reported 66 vacancies among O’Hare’s 177 budgeted security positions and 11 of 57 spots to fill among the Midway security staff.

    The Sun-Times also reported gaps in both O'Hare's and Midway's security by demonstrating how easy it was to obtain airport staff uniforms to enter the airport grounds.

    That article spurred then Sen. Barack Obama, who was on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to write a letter to TSA Assistant Secretary Edmund Hawley: “Considering the extraordinary security threats our nation faces every day, reports suggesting that uniforms could possibly be accessed are wholly unacceptable.”