Sunday, November 25, 2007

Idiots in Charge

Every organization has them. Despite the spin, I’ve been assured by everyone I’ve talked to that no matter how great an organization is -- if you look hard enough -- you’ll find a few idiots working in the joint.

It’s not hard to find them in the FAA right now. They’re running the place. The idiots are in charge.

I swear to you, my Mama raised me right. She taught me to be gracious and charitable, to mind my manners and “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Mama never worked for the FAA. And here it is a Sunday too. Lord have mercy.

In the latest incident that has caused me to cuss, the FAA is giving one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet a hard time. It’s a long and convoluted story but I’m going to keep it as short as possible.

Thom is a fine human being with 20+ years as a controller.

He has a heart problem that doesn’t medically disqualify him but required he use a lot of sick leave lately.

Using the sick leave triggered the FAA’s idiots-in-charge program to place him in the “possible sick leave abuser” category. Now he has to have a doctor’s note for any sick leave he uses.

Thom developed allergies. (Gee, I wonder how that could have happened ?) He went to the doctor, got a prescription and got the FAA idiots in charge their precious note. Sick leave approved -- because he can’t take the medicine and work airplanes (or operate heavy machinery, etc.)

Next Sunday -- I say again, (SUNDAY) -- his allergies are acting up, he calls in sick, sick leave approved -- everybody is happy.

Two weeks later, he gets his pay check and the FAA has docked him 8 hours pay. Nobody said a word -- they just changed his sick leave to Absent Without Leave (AWOL.) In case it isn’t obvious, the FAA can’t fire you for being sick. They can fire you for being AWOL.

The FAA’s argument ? Despite being diagnosed with allergies and being given a prescription that says “as needed” and getting the FAA their precious little note like this is grammar school or something...

The FAA wants a doctor’s note every single time he calls in sick. Did I mention this was on a SUNDAY ? It was mentioned to the FAA. Their response ? Go to the emergency room and get a doctor’s note. You can’t make this stuff up. They want a 40-something-year-old professional to go to the emergency room and get a doctor’s note to take some medicine (believe it or not we’re talking about Benadryl here folks) that was already legally prescribed by another doctor for allergies.

Keep in mind what “Option B” is. Come to work SICK and work YOUR airplane. I guess there is an “Option C” too. Come to work medicated and work YOUR airplane. Risk getting fired or risk getting someone killed. These options are brought to you by the Idiots in Charge (IIC) at the FAA.

I know the perfect descriptor for today’s FAA. I realized it well over a year ago. The problem is that it is crude -- some might even say vulgar. I’ve searched for a replacement. Seriously. It seems like a trivial matter but I’ve searched really hard to find another word that carries the exact connotations and I haven’t been able to find one. It really is the perfect word and -- thanks to the internet and The Urban Dictionary -- I can share it with you. (See definition #2 of the following hypertext link.)

The FAA is a $%#@!& outfit.

I hope you’ll forgive me for using such language because -- if she ever figures out how to use the internet -- Mama won’t.

Don Brown
November 25, 2007

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