<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Update for October 6, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> October 6, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>

s <!----Enter Text Bellow **********>

Dear Friends,

The week started in pretty typical fashion with me in the office bright and early Monday morning, answering email and phone calls. There are three places to get me on the phone: My office, my pager or my cell phone. Sometimes, just juggling those is a chore, but I pride myself in answering all of them in a timely fashion.

Some carryover topics I’m working on this week include an airspace MOU, the 3R agreement, the Denver parking issue, the Andrews CIP issue, the retroactivity piece, a joint ATMT/NEB meeting, C90, the proposed Boston Consolidated TRACON, and a dozen other projects, secret missions and sweet deals.

I met with the OWCP class this morning, and welcomed them all to Washington. From there it was upstairs to meet with Mike Blake on issues surrounding BCT, and then I squeezed in a short meeting with Susan Grundmann on the Contract Towers lawsuit. After that I spoke with Ray Gibbons, the new C90 facrep, and also touched base with Mike Doherty to make sure we were on the same page on the issue.

Look at the time! It’s noon already and time for the NEB telcon. We discussed a variety of issues, from new hires to the proposed ATMT meeting. We also spent a good deal of time on the subject of Liasons and Tech Reps. The NEB and I are committed to creating a process for identifying and considering individuals for these positions. I am committed to mining the intellectual capital of the workforce, regardless of political ideology. I hope we can announce new initiatives in this area very shortly.

We discussed IPPs and what seems to be a growing problem. Apparently offers are being rejected without the controller involved ever having knowledge of the offer. If this has happened to you and you can prove it, please fax the documentation to the national office, attention to me. I will be addressing this issue with the FAA immediately.

After the NEB meeting I spoke with George Lloyd of the Election Committee, and I think you all know what that entailed. George and the Committee will be working the election protests, and making a recommendation to the NEB. I worked some with Ken Montoya, who has been furiously exchanging calls and email with the Hill on the Approps language. Rodney and I discussed a delicate issue in his region, and then I returned the balance of my phone calls and email.

The evening was consumed by a fundraiser for Congressman Moore, of Kansas. This event was held at the Fredrick Douglass home, and President Clinton was the featured speaker. It was an excellent opportunity to network with some of our friends on Capitol Hill, and another opportunity for me to see just how valuable many of our relationships are. Again, Ken was instrumental in getting me from point A to point B, and for getting me in front of the right people at the right time to deliver our message.

I did phone calls from the cell phone you bought me while driving home at 930pm, getting so wrapped up in the conversation that I missed my exit! Whoops.

Tuesday, and again I start while everyone else sleeps with my email. I spoke with George Lloyd again about our plans for the 13th. I had a dozen phone calls to make when official business hours began, including one to Pat Forrey on a discipline issue, one to Andy Cantwell on the Miami Tower settlement, one to Phil Barbarello on an MOU he was working for me, and a couple others I can’t name.

The Director’s Meeting was a good one. Membership is helping Communications with the new Calendar, Training is helping everyone else with Outlook Training and field trips to air traffic control facilities, Labor Relations is finishing up the Engineers Pay agreement details…everyone is pitching in to help everyone else. We aren’t perfect, I know, but organizationally I think we’re on the right track and I’m wildly enthusiastic about the National Office’s willingness to embrace new processes for success.

I had to step out of the meeting to get with Ken again to communicate with some of our friends on the Hill about the Approps language. The conferees have not committed yet to anything, and our position is fluid. We’re fighting.

Talked to George Lloyd and Susan. It’s definite, the protests won’t be heard until the 13th. I put out a message to that effect and firm up those plans.

I met with our Liasons and Tech Reps to give them an overview of the Article 7/48 relationship from one of the author’s points of view…mine. I think we had a very forthright and productive discussion. I also advised them of the NEB’s interest in their positions, and our commitment to create a fair and equitable process for all.

Spoke at length with Ricky Thompson about Anchorage Center. I hope to work that issue out in the near future, FAA willing. I also had the opportunity to speak with Dale Wright about some finance issues, as well as a constitutional interpretation I was in the process of making with respect to moves for national officers. As luck would have it I ruled that we are NOT entitled to a $27,000 flat rate PCS-type settlement. The language in the Constitution directs us to follow the DOT Travel Manual, not the NATCA/FAA MOU. I think that’s prudent and fair.

I had dinner with Jim D’Agati and the Engineers Pay Team to discuss the dotted I’s and crossed t’s of their agreement. When I got home about ten pm I prepared a list of issues for my phone meeting with Jane, scheduled for tomorrow morning at seven am.

Wednesday morning, bright and early. I usually arrive around six or six thirty, and from now until whenever I leave office you can just assume that I’ve read and responded to about 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of email with my morning coffee. That way, I don’t have to continually type it, OK?

Hmmmm. No Jane. We’ve only had a handful of dates and already she’s standing me up. As it turns out she had some very important fires of her own to put out, so we agree to get together some other time. These things happen.

I hooked up with Craig from ORD tower for a pleasant phone call, and then met with Sterling Swan, our outgoing ARR Liason. Sterling’s done a lot of hard work on our behalf, and his sincerity and integrity were obvious. I wish him well as he returns to Salt Lake.

Had a brief meeting with Bob Taylor and David Sandbach to discuss some percolating LR issues, including those on the Engineers deal and a few others that are privacy-act protected. These guys are GOOD. Motivated, hard working, self starting. We’re fortunate to have them.

Spoke with Tim Haines on the Jacksonville pay issue. I committed to Jacksonville when I met them that I would treat them with respect, fairness and integrity. I’m committed to healing that wound, and I wanted to get Tim’s ideas for moving in that direction. I believe we may be on to something. Time will tell, and I hope everyone will give this process just a little more patience and calm.

Talked with Wade about an Article 55 package at my level. It’s probably an inch thick, and is taking me some time to get through. (I hate stuff like this, because it’s always the page you don’t read that comes back to bite you. With the weight of 15,000 families on my shoulder…I’ll just read ‘em ALL. That may slow things down a bit, but that’s OK.)

Wow. I bet Joe Perrone from Jacksonville and I have missed each other on the phone no less than 25 times today. And Joe on his way to a funeral in the family to boot. Mercy sakes.

Talked to David from Andrews, Wade again, Sean Fields from JAX, and the FAAs attorney, Tony Herman. Memo to those who call me, leave a number and then, less than five minutes later, aren’t at that number when I immediately call you back: knock it off!!

Drove out to Leesburg for a Washington Center facility meeting. What a great group of controllers. Super turnout, good questions, pointed opinions, but a very vibrant local. I love that stuff. I met with many of them, and the time passed far too quickly for me. Then it was back in the car and back into the District for a meeting at the National Office between some of the facilities ringing the Crystal Palace.

The WHAT?!?! The Crystal Palace started out as a briefing by the MITRE Corporation as a way of reducing congestion in the northeast. It involves combining NY TRACON and Center, terminalizing a good portion of the airspace (to reduce separation) and giving the remainder of the space to the collar facilities.

The meeting at the National Office lasted from six pm until nine, and to say it was animated is a gross understatement. Reps from NY, Boston, Washington and their respective RVPs tussled with the broader issues of how to approach the project, and whether to support it at all.

This is the third such meeting, with more planned. The further along this concept gets, the more information we’ll be making available to everyone. For now, it remains conceptual only.

The gang went out to dinner after the meeting. I drove home, doing phone calls all the while. At least this time I didn’t miss my exit!!!

Thursday morning started with a meeting with Ron Morgan at 0700. We got some issues off the table and made progress on many others. I’ve briefed the RVP’s, and rather than repeat the effort I’ll encourage them to share with you some of those things. I spoke with Fuse after the meeting and gave him some information on a couple of his facilities, which I know he’s already passed along.

Wade advised me today that the FAA plans to add 42 new sectors by next October to deal with the issue of choke points. I immediately advise Ron that we are going to have a major, major issue with staffing. Guess what. He agrees. We’ll be revisiting the 15,000 number very, very shortly.

From Ron’s meeting it was back over to NATCA to do some work until the Crystal Palace Briefing at FAA, which we did at 11am. The parties seemed receptive to the idea, although at this point the only commitment is to pursue a staff study to determine the feasibility of such an idea. I think everyone involved is optimistic. I met again with Ron Morgan after the briefing to cover a couple new items that had cropped up, and then I high-tailed it back to NATCA to hook up with Courtney Portner, who took me to my “photo shoot.” Glamour-Boy here had to get some glossys done so they could use them for press releases, the newsletter, and perhaps a couple thousand to give away as Christmas presents for that special someone (just kidding about the last part…)

From the studio I crawled out to the airport and flew down to New Orleans, arriving well after dinner. I found my way to the hotel downtown and didn’t even stumble next door to drop a roll of quarters or anything. I was tired!!! Harrahs would have to wait until next time.

Friday morning came rather quickly (as they all seem to do nowadays.) I went downstairs at 0730 to case the joint, which I like to do before speaking. At 0830 or so the facreps from the Southwest Region started arriving, and after Bill Shedden gave them an airspace briefing I had the pleasure of talking to them for almost two hours. Again, the time passed much too quickly for me. I love hanging out with controllers, and I regret not being able to just unknot the tie and swap lies with them. Instead, I briefed them on me, my first month, the new National Office direction, issues we’re working, my op-error decriminalization plan, natca.net, and the “We Guide You Home” advertising campaign.

I must mention for the record how very impressed I was with this gathering. The activists were serious about their business, and Christine had that function locked, cocked and ready to rock. I brought a copy of our thirty second commercial with me, thinking if the chance arose I would show it. Please. Christine had audio, video, projection equipment…in short, she had it all.

What a great group of controllers, and what a fantastic function. I plan to attend as many regional gatherings as I can, to get issues straight from you to me, and to give you the answers you deserve, straight from me to you.

On the way to the airport I heard from Ken that the Appropriations bill we’ve been working so hard on had finally cleared both chambers and was on it’s way to the President’s desk. If the language is what I’ve been hearing we can high-five for about the next three nights---then we’re going to get to work lopping the head off of this monster once and for all. As I told the facreps in New Orleans: from here on out, no shrill voice will go unchallenged. Whether it’s the papers in Little Rock, or the cartoon in Miami, or Bob Poole from the Reason Foundation, or Gordon Bethune from Continental. You folks are my eyes and ears. Help me help you help them get the flick.

Christine and KC Leonard from MSY graciously drove me to the airport to catch my flight, with hospitality and style only a rock star could love. KC and Christine…again…from the bottom of my heart, thank you for facilitating my success.

My plane sat on the parallel taxiway for one and a half hours due to a thunderstorm overhead. I was waiting for the captain to hang it on air traffic control but he wisely blamed the weather. I had enough business cards and a captive audience and I say again: no shrill voice will go unchallenged. I was ready to hop up and give them a briefing on the real deal with delays!!! Lucky captain…he played fair, so I did, too.

Got to DC about 6pm or so, hopped in the car and I am typing this on my laptop as my lovely (and patient) bride drives us westbound, homeward, to Ohio. We’ll get in after 1am, and I’ll post this before retiring for the night.

And when I do lay down, I’ll remember the hundreds of you working the mid, and think of you, and wish you well. Have an extra cup of coffee on me, will ya? God bless you all, and we’ll see you again next Friday.

JTB <!----End Text Field **************>

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