Friday, July 17, 2009

It’s Official. They’re Desperate

If you’re among the nation’s 14.7 million unemployed -- and you’re under 31 -- you’re eligible to apply to be an air traffic controller. If you’re employed, you’re still eligible. Every American under age 31 is eligible. A word of advice though. Don’t quit your day job to go work for these guys.

Controller Jobs Now Open to the Public

”The public now has the opportunity to apply to become air traffic controllers. The FAA is accepting applications from the general public for trainee air traffic controller positions through July 17, 2009.

The job announcements include vacancies for both Terminal and En Route controller positions throughout the nation.

The opportunity for the general public to apply for entry-level air traffic controller positions does not come along very often.”

Only when the FAA messes up.

I think even I am eligible.

Current and Prior Civilian Air Traffic Controllers Eligible for Transfer or Reinstatement

We are accepting applications from current federal air traffic controllers or individuals previously employed as air traffic controllers who are eligible for transfer from another agency or reinstatement to an FAA air traffic control specialist position. “

When I click on the link provided, I find this:

Vacancy Ann #:AAC-AMH-09-REINST-12643
Who May Apply:Qualified Civil Service Employees
Pay Plan:AT-2152/AG-AG
Appointment Term:Permanent
Job Status:Full-Time
Opening Date:03/02/2009
Salary Range:From $33,700.00 to $33,700.00 USD per year

I don’t even have a job and I don’t think I’d quit it for $33k .

Just to give you a little perspective, I hired on as an air traffic controller in 1981. The salary (for training !) was $18k a year. According to the handy CPI calculator, $18k then is like $42, 700 now. Trust me, being shorted $9,000 a year adds up. In a hurry. Especially when your 401k tanks.

I hope the connection between not paying for talented controllers and getting desperate for controllers is obvious. Almost as obvious as telling the world that you need to go to a special school to become a controller (and spend tens of thousand of dollars to do so) only to have that blatantly stupid and morally bankrupt policy revealed as the disaster it has always been to the world in such a public manner.

President Obama, Secretary LaHood, Administrator Babbitt -- I fear the only way to turn any of this around is to clean house. Seriously. I’m fat, dumb and happy here in retirement. It doesn’t affect me one way or the other. I even try not to fly. But the FAA’s situation is embarrassing. And we all know that -- in the long term -- it is ultimately dangerous.

If I’m not willing to forgive and forget -- from the outside -- you can be assured that the people on the inside won’t. Some top managers (definitely more than one) need to be held accountable for this mess and that accounting needs to be done in a very public manner. Heads need to roll.

We rebuilt the military after the disaster of Vietnam. We can rebuild the FAA. But first, we must recognize the need to do so. Hopefully, before disaster strikes.

Don Brown
July 17, 2009

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