Thursday, January 03, 2008

For Hire

For the one or two people that haven’t heard the news, the FAA has floated an offer to settle the “contract dispute” with NATCA. John Carr broke the news over at The Main Bang and Paul Cox has a good breakdown of the major points at The FAA Follies. The offer is, of course, typical FAA nonsense -- no one in their right mind is even considering it -- but it doesn’t need to be realistic. It is simply a device to keep the issue out of the FAA reauthorization battle taking place in Congress.

My intention for this morning’s blog entry was to announce my New Year’s resolution -- it’s time to start looking for a job. Before I could get that typed out, I read yesterday’s entry at The FAA Follies, specifically the part about rehiring retired controllers. While I think the logic is sound -- it’s hard to imagine how the FAA will get out of this hole without rehiring some controllers -- I had to wonder how the FAA could possibly carry it out. More to the point -- what would the FAA have to offer me to get me to come back to work ?

First, let me let the laughter die down a little. Anybody that had to work with (or around) me knows that I was miserable the last few (long) years of my career. I could spend days explaining the “why” -- but let’s just say the FAA could never offer me enough money to lure me back. And to be honest, I’d be one of the last guys the FAA managers would want to come back. I was never the controller of first choice -- I was the controller of last resort. The FAA only sought out my skills when they were boxed in and had no other choice.

If the FAA cannot attract me with money, then what would attract me ? In simple terms, a chance to make a difference. This presents a nearly insurmountable problem for the FAA in that they are have no credibility left. They are morally bankrupt. If the (acting) Administrator (Bobby Sturgell) himself asked me to come back, why would I believe anything he says ? Why would I believe I would have a chance to make a difference ? I cannot trust him. Remember how this post started off ? Everyone knows the Administration’s offer is bogus. It isn’t sincere. There is no honesty behind it. Do you remember what I’ve said in the past about controllers and honesty ? The Truth ?

Interestingly, Mr. Sturgell was once a pilot. (So was his boss.) He understands this equation. He has bet his life -- numerous times -- on the fact that controllers were telling him the truth. Perhaps because it is so blindingly simple people can’t see it. Controllers have to tell the truth and people that don’t make us crazy. It’s hard to imagine making a living off of lying. We know it is done -- it’s just hard to imagine doing it. Marion Blakey, Bobby Sturgell and the vast majority of their predecessors know they can lie to the American public because they know that controllers can’t.

They know that they can say “turn left” when they really mean “turn right.” Nobody is going to die when they lie. At least not immediately. They can call industrial servitude a contract and get away with it. Nobody will die when they lie. If the truth be known, controllers will do everything within their power to make sure no one ever does -- no matter how many times you cut their pay, make them work overtime, make them work sick, make them work alone all night or lie to them. If the controllers should fail, you can always blame them anyway. And chances are, it will be on the next Administrator’s watch.

Every Administrator -- and every manager -- the FAA has ever had has depended on that simple fact to cover up their mistakes, poor judgment and outright lies.

I’m looking for a job. Money isn’t my prime motivator. I’m bored -- not desperate. I won’t work for liars.

Don Brown
January 3, 2007

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