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Brothers and Sisters,
My first month in office is officially complete and it has been my busiest week yet. So many things have happened that I will only be able to hit the highlights or this update will be 20 pages. The National Finance Committee met on Monday to do their budget work concurrent with the NEB meeting. To say I am impressed with this team would be a gross understatement. They took dozens of budget requests and found every overlap to ensure we did not double budget and that every penny of your money would be allocated wisely. They also found a significant error in the payroll benefits formula, which would have shortchanged our employees if not for the committee’s due diligence.
They will also be preparing some policy recommendations to the board to refine our budgeting process for the future and Lynn Abrams will be conducting a field equipment inventory which will allow NATCA to keep better accounting of our F&E.; The NEB passed several resolutions related to the budget. First, we have increased the maximum tip allowance on meals to 20% (it had been 15%). Most other changes related to our employee handbook. We had some unbudgeted expenses in salaries due to employees and/or national officers cashing out leave. The new policy restricts the cashing out of leave prior to leaving service without board approval. It also requires board approval to carry over more than 240 hours of annual without NEB approval. These policies will avoid “balloon payments” in the future.
We implemented a policy that allows part time employees to accrue sick and annual leave at a rate comparable to their % of full time hours, so a 20-hour a week employee would earn 50% of the leave earned by a full time employee. Prior to this policy, part time employees earned no leave or benefits. This is a step in making NATCA a better employer.
The NEB met from 9-5 (sometime 8-5) all week and there was still work to do in the office, including the problems with ProMark. Our days usually didn’t end with office hours and on Tuesday, I had the honor of joining the Article 17 workgroup for dinner to celebrate earning the Secretary’s award for teamwork. Jane Garvey also joined the dinner and we had a chance to talk about the future of NATCA, the FAA, our common interests and the political scene, unknown though it is.
Thursday John and I joined Phil Boyer, president of AOPA and Dennis Roberts, his VP and Executive Director of Government and Technical Affairs. We had some great discussions about privatization, contracting and how AOPA and NATCA can work together on the issues. This was a great follow up to the meeting John and I had with Fred Duvall from Hill and Knowlton, which started the week. We will be working on these issues in areas that are somewhat new to NATCA which brings me to the end of the week when I set the wheels in motion for an blue ribbon commission of academics to report on the effects of privatization and contracting ATC on different segments of society. This kind of research will help us counter the claims made by the Reason Foundation and other advocates of privatization.
Friday evening I was off to IAD to catch a flight to ELP where I am now, as the well cared for guest of Doug Wicker and I will be going to see STARS in the morning and meet with as many members as possible. Sunday morning it will be off to E10 (High Desert Tracon) then a red-eye back to DC Monday morning. In case you were wondering, I love my job and thank you for the opportunity to do it.
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