NATCA Calls Mead Remarks "Ill-Informed"
Air traffic controllers gathered for their annual legislative conference on Capitol Hill this week and let members of Congress know that they are not happy with Department of Transportation Inspector General Kenneth Mead. Mead, at a Senate hearing about the FAA budget on Feb. 11, noted that the FAA's operations budget has increased by 65 percent since 1996, and focused on controller salary hikes and labor agreements as a major cause. National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr's return volley: "I find it hard to believe that the inspector general is complaining to Congress about an FAA budget that increased at the same rate as his own." Calling Mead's remarks "ill-timed and ill-informed," Carr on Monday cited Office of Management and Budget data that shows the inspector general's office budget has also increased 65 percent since 1997. Carr was also sharply critical of Mead's testimony that labor agreements between NATCA and the FAA were out of control, unaccounted for and responsible for wasteful spending. "Our agreements benefit the FAA, the system and the flying public," Carr said.
NOTE: Read the complete text of Inspector General Kenneth Mead's prepared remarks for the Senate Transportation Committee hearing on FAA reauthorization. Also, read the complete text of NATCA's press release in response to those remarks.