Thursday, September 13, 2007
There’s something to look at in the annual speech by FAA Administrator. Two quotes just don’t seem to mesh very well. First, there’s the self pat on the back:
“If you want to be a first-rate organization, you’ve got to operate like one. From the creation of the ATO back in 2004 to the competitive outsourcing of automated flight service stations, we’ve shown that this organization is capable of handling change and big-ticket items. [emphasis added]”
It’s difficult to square this with an earlier statement in the same speech:
“With all of that said, the focus, and success, of the Flight Plan has been its link to the organizational success increase — the OSI. The big question, as always, are we going to make it? This year, going into the final weeks, I can’t predict whether or not we’ll hit 90 percent of our goals and receive the full payout. As of today, we know we have three red targets that will stay red for the remainder of the year. Those are the commercial fatal accident rate, the average daily airport capacity at the big seven metro airports, and our customer satisfaction rating. That last one, which comes from the 2007 commercial pilots survey, was an unexpected reversal. We're still analyzing the specific comments submitted by the pilots, but they seem to be concerned about three things: the response they’ve been getting from Flight Service Stations during the transition, the perennial issue of standardization among FSDOs, and the potential for user fees. [emphasis added]”
The OSI (organizational success increase) is an annual ‘bonus’ of increased base pay given to all FAA employees if the agency meets it’s preset goals for the fiscal year. Three items are in ‘red,’ one of which is customer satisfaction, brought about, in part, by the poor performance of the contracted flight service stations.
So, the FAA has shown that it is “first rate” by providing bad service via contracting. This could result in an interesting justice…FAA employees my not get their full pay increase because of how badly the contract was handled. For an organization trying to paint itself as ‘successful’ they obviously didn’t know how one of their key components functioned, thus couldn’t tell if they were letting a properly written contract. They weren’t, of course, and the result is pilot dissatisfaction that might finally hit FAA employees in the pocketbook.
Flight Service was always the FAA’s ‘front line’ air traffic function, the agency’s daily ambassadors to the users, if you will. Blakey may claim an “unexpected reversal” in pilot satisfactions, but the AFSS Controllers, who know pilots and their needs best, said from the get-go what would happen.
By JOANN KANSIER
September 17, 2007
Public-private competitions are part of a successful management program that has saved the federal government billions of dollars. Yet the program is dying, gutted by congressional restrictions. Unions may say this is a win for
federal employees, but it is a false victory.
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 gives civil servants the opportunity to compete against contractors for their jobs — and four out of five times, the feds win the contests. Instead of killing the A-76 program, legislators and unions should look for ways to lend a hand to federal employees who do lose their jobs because of competitive sourcing. This includes helping them find new jobs in and out of government and protecting longtime employees’ hard-earned benefits.
A-76 provides a systematic way to decide whether government workers or contractors are appropriate for commercial-type work. It also presents an approach similar to the time- and court-tested federal acquisition process for ensuring that public-private competitions are fair and objective. In a real way, A-76 protects government workers. Without it, many agencies may directly convert work to the private sector without allowing for competition. Often, the agencies do this through attrition and then contracting directly for the work.
So why are federal employees, their unions and Congress so negative about A-76? One reason is that it has been measured by the number of full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) competed. In addition, at the beginning of the presidential management agenda, agencies were asked to meet FTE quotas.
(Read the rest at the Federal Times Website: http://www.federaltimes.com/index.php?S=3039408