<!----Enter Date Bellow *****************> Weekly Update for December 22, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>
Weekly Update for <!----Enter Date Bellow ****************> December 22, 2000 <!----End Enter Date Bellow *************>


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Dear Friends,

The retail stores are calling me so let's not delay, shall we? I can't wait to get started on my Christmas shopping...

Monday started in typical fashion, with me in the office catching up on email and phone calls. I'm laptopless right now, and that makes it a little harder to keep up with the crush of correspondence. I hope to have a new one by the end of the year.

I met with Adell to discuss some upcoming travel arrangements, and also met with Ken Montoya to discuss the unfolding cabinet appointments.

I met with Bill Osborne and Mike Daugherty on the C90 situation. We continue to strategize the case and are committed to providing the very best representation for these folks.

The NEB telcon was long and boistrous. The two hottest issues on the telcon were the consolidated pay rules proposal and the pending national airspace redesign MOU.

The Agency signed and sent over a consolidated pay rules MOU which we won't be signing. The RVPs and I discussed the issue at length, and I will do my very best to insure that any final agreement we reach is the fairest possible for all concerned.

The airspace MOU is inching closer to agreement; however, each side has dealbreaker issues to negotiate past. Ours, quite naturally, involves the evolution of a facility CI during the process. We will continue to negotiate this issue with the agency, and I have full faith in Joe Fruscella, Mike McNally, Mike Blake, Pat Forrey and Don Ossinger to bring these talks to fruition.

We also discussed the agency's announcement concerning pay raises for 2001. It seems this announcement raised more questions than it answered. I'm working the issue through Jeff Walukonis, although it may come down to what the Administrator meant, whether she said it or not! Please be patient while we sort this one out...like I said, the announcement created alot of confusion.

One other item from the telcon I'd like to mention comes from the Southwest Region. Lonnie Kramer, longtime NATCA activist and member of the 1993 Contract Negotiating Team, has a personal tragedy in the making. His wife is terribly ill, and the folks at Corpus Christi ATCT are holding a fundraiser to help him out in his time of need. If you can find it in your heart to help out, please contact Mark Pallone, the Southwest Region RVP, or Corpus Christi Facrep Glen Flores at pin number 18277.

Tuesday morning I headed out to the Command Center. This was my first visit to the ATCCC, and Jack Kies gave me a tour of the building and the operations floor. I even ran into a couple of old friends from facilities gone by!

From there it was off to a meeting with Jack Kies and Bill Peacock concerning some technical workgroups at Central Flow. We discussed a proposed team which would serve to expedite matters and insure than needed software dumps and hardware changes are made available in a timely fashion. While I am not conceptually opposed to the idea, I asked them to make a formal proposal to me in writing so we could take a look at it.

I left the Command Center and met Ron Morgan and a representative from MITRE for a working lunch. We discussed the Spring/Summer 2001 plan and also some conceptual ideas for capacity enhancement. I, of course, could not let the occasion pass without reminding them of what they had told me, not so very long ago: capacity enhancement does not equal demand management. At some point in time, by someone, that dichotomy must be addressed. I plan to visit MITRE in January to view their modelling programs and tools.

Our lunch concluded at about 2:30 and by then it was really snowing in DC. I could either fight the traffic and get into the office, or join the masses leaving town ahead of the worsening weather. I took one look at Article 19 and chose the latter!

Wednesday morning I met with Ruth early on every topic under the sun, then welcomed Sterling Swan, Joel Brown, and Scott Ginsburg to the National Office. Sterling was giving our new reps the royal treatment, and I'm proud to say we didn't welcome our new liaisons into town by saying, "Hi. Go forth and do some liais-ing!" We briefed them, showed them around, and got them started on the right foot.

From there I convened a meeting with Ajax Kidd, Paul Rinaldi, Tim Haines and Jeff Walukonis to discuss the continuing saga of consolidated pay rules. Let's face it, the agency reads every word you do, so rather than give them our proposal here I'll just wait until I see them. I'm keenly aware that this process has been fraught with more turns than a bucket of snakes, and your continued patience is appreciated.

Ken Montoya came to grab me, and we shared a cab ride into Georgetown to La Chamire for a luncheon meeting with Rich Efford from Congressman Frank Wolf's office. We had a very cordial and productive discussion, and Rich gave me his perspective of our message. We had a very valuable few hours together.

Although he is not attending due to a scheduling conflict, Rich also urged us to attend the American Association of Airport Executives Conference in January. Ken and I had long planned to attend, but it was gratifying to hear it from an independent source.

On the ride back to the national office Ken brought me up to speed on appointments he has already secured for us at the AAAE meeting, where business is conducted formally by day and schmoozing is done formally afternoons and evenings.

I have asked Ken to endeavor to evenly split our time between congressional attendees and industry and trade groups. Since the meeting is in Maui in January there will be plenty of both, so that shouldn't be a problem.

I am leaving on January 3rd for visits to the Hawai'i facilities prior to the AAAE conference. Chuck Zapf has taken care of setting up meetings with members for me, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to hear first hand from our brothers and sisters in the islands. Check-in for the conference is the 6th, and I will be returning on the 11th after the last day of AAAE meetings.

Back at the office I caught up on a few immediate needs, packed my desk up, and headed for the exit. Once on the west side of DC I swept up my bride and seven hours later we were in Cleveland for the holidays.

BUT WAIT! There's more!!

I spent most of Thursday morning on the phone with Jane Garvey, Ruth, and producers from CNN's Crossfire program.

The CNN folks were planning to do a story that evening, and wanted some background information to use in grilling their suspects...I mean...guests. For a few hours it even looked like I'd be doing a remote from a studio here in Cleveland, but they decided at the last minute not to go that route.

Ruth and I discussed the IG report and the week's press attention to us. The IG piece ran in USA Today on Wednesday, as did my letter to the editor. The letter ran center page, above the fold, under the headline, "Privatize Country's Airspace? Think Again" which I couldn't have written any better if I'd written it myself.

Ruth traded pages with me on the ASR11 rep and the agency's desire to detail him over to Eglin...some big commute for Perry from Pensacola! She also told me about the lovely cookies sent to us from Sandiford Tower (thanks!) which I just missed.

Jane and I discussed the IG report and a few other issues which at this time are very confidential.

Thursday afternoon I spoke at length with Jerry McArthur from ZMA about TMC seniority, and also asked him to remain proactive in his approach to his new position as our ADA Liaison. I urged him to take the bull by the horns, forgetting for a moment that...well...I'm the Bull! I'm sure he knew what I meant.

Later Thursday I again touched base with the Crossfire folks, who didn't need me for their program after all.

Which brings us to Friday. This morning I had a two hour telcon with Bill Osborne and Mike Daugherty on C90 and other legal matters. We hope to travel to Chicago in early January.

Since I was already phone-bound I decided to return a whole mess of calls and pages, and the next thing you know it's Friday afternoon.

Friday afternoon of a long holiday weekend, that is, and just like every other long holiday weekend, everyone in the nation is counting on you.

Fliers, friends and relatives...they're all counting on you.

Cards and letters and packages that absolutely, positively have to be there overnight...they're all counting on you.

Politicians, pundits and privatizers...they're all counting on you.

Counting on you to keep them safe. Counting on you to be there Christmas Eve night, when your family is home without you. Counting on you to be there to open up Christmas morning, you, opening the tower, while your children open their presents. Counting on your professionalism, your dedication to duty and your skill.

And you won't let them down. You never have. They've come to expect so much from so few with so little for so long that it's conceivable that you could do anything with nothing at all. Your excellence has become routine.

On behalf of the national office staff, the Executive Board, Ruth and Scott, Jill and myself, may I extend to you our sincere best wishes for this holiday season. God bless you and keep you and carry you safely into the New Year with peace, love and joy.

Sincerely,

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

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