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Okay, it is 915 on Friday night and I am still in the office. Thank goodness we don’t have anymore “short” weeks for a while. Monday the office was closed, I flew back to DC from Florida.
Tuesday was jammed packed. Dick Swauger had assembled as many people from the three privatization work teams together and we spent the day in the conference room putting all of the cards on the table. It got heated, we debated, we learned from each other and we came out with some good strategies to kick off the work this year. A new congress and a new White House warrant new strategies. The most important outcome is that the team will focus on coordinated efforts and meetings will be at a minimum. John and I had to jump out for a few conflicts including a short directors meeting and the NEB telcon, where John covered for me so I could stay in with Privatization.
For those of you that could not make the meeting, you don’t get off so easily. While one goal is to pare down the team, this was not a in or out meeting. However, work was assigned. Lots of good ideas were flowing and anyone who had one was put in charge of it. Doug Jordan has the hardest job, which is putting a positive spin on opposing privatization “What are we for” rather than “What we are against.” I just paged him with an idea that came out of media training. We are for some stability in the FAA. We are for allowing the reforms that have been put in place to take hold, rather than keeping the FAA in a constant state of reorganization. Anyone with ideas, give Doug a page.
Randy Weiland is now in charge of debunking the NAV CANADA myth, I refuse to believe that is the best thing that ever happened to ATC, we need to get the facts on paper. Kanuck Dirt? Page Randy. Rich Ulmes is going to coordinate a letters to the editor grassroots effort. Get ready for a call from him and dust off your keyboard. Doug Church will be providing his cracker jack journalistic skills. Ed Mullin is the head critic of the latest Poole report. Ed Mullin and Christine Corcoran will be providing content for a non-NATCA web site to be set up by Alan Clendenin. This web site will present the counter argument to the Reason Foundation privatization advocacy. Alan will also ensure it is subscribed to all of the search engines so if you do a search for ATC privatization, find something other than the Poole studies. We don’t want it to be obviously a NATCA piece. What do you think of “The Real Reason.com” followed by a piece about how much the airlines stand to gain from a privatized system, higher fares, reduced competition, etc. We could even put up a handy dandy copy of the latest DOT reports about predatory pricing and hub dominance. Dick Swauger will be coordinator, supply the tech reports, and continue to work the contract tower law suit issues.
Wednesday brought me what seemed like hundreds of different accounting and legal issues, including logo trademark and the wonderful world of F&E; expenditures. I met with Balckie, Wade Stanfield and Dale Wright to work out a Safety and Tech department plan that includes a deal we arranged with Jim Washington to have Dale spend most of his liaison time at NATCA so he can help manage the barrage of workgroup and rep requests that he is sending over. Dale will work with Blackie to streamline the S&T; department and serve as a liaison to LR (I am pretty sure that is double down liaison duty) to ensure reps are scheduled for the Article 7s for their projects. The FAA send the letters over, but don’t mention that we have someone working it already. Wade came up with the idea and everyone seems to like it. I made the announcement at the staff meeting and the LR department had to contain their collective glee.
I talked at length the president of NUDAI, the National Union of Drug Abatement Inspectors who would like to merge with NATCA. They are FAA employees who audit outside drug testing programs (not of FAA employees, just industry). I told her I would take her request to the NEB, but that they may not support adding a new unit at this time, because of our recent and rapid expansion. I spent some time gathering evidence regarding an internal grievance, which is against me, so I didn’t bother to send myself a letter of notification. Although, Adell probably did just to be sure that it is handled just like any other internal.
Thursday the office closed early so our staff would not be trapped in the district when the President elect closed the bridges at 2pm for inaugural rehearsals. I live in MD, so I had no worries and got to do a lot of work in a nice quiet building. However, as you will find, NACTA is rarely empty. I run into people working here at all kinds of hours and on the weekends. I have found that getting ready to go out of town for a week takes a lot of time. I will be going to observe FAC rep training next week except while the NEB is meeting. Alan Clendenin called to say that David Benedetto has a NATCA conflict with giving the legislative segment and would I cover since I would be there anyway. But of course! David called me to brief me on my new assigned duty. Tim Casten was inteh office most of the day to finish work on the Verio contract and always it was a pleasure to work with him.
Today I had media training off site with Jim D’Agati. Doug church came, apparently to bust my stones during mock interviews. He is a little better at it than I cared for. The training was great. Sherrod Shim set it up and it was probably the most useful training I have had. They really work you. We did mock interviews of every conceivable type. A press conference, a print interview, on camera taped, on camera live, remote feed and my favorite the ambush. I head back into the studio from lunch and bam! Camera in the face.
It was great training, but I am worn out! Came back to the office at 5, talked to Susan about the logo trademark, returned some phone calls, caught up on a week of e-mail and typed the update. Done!
Tomorrow I have the Florida Delegation Inaugural Dinner, so I have to hem my gown or grow 4 inches and Sunday it is off to LAS.