Trouble At The NTSB

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Board Members Complain About Policies...

Three members of the NTSB have signed a letter to Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners telling her they are not happy with policies she is enforcing that restrict their travel, prevent them from hiring staff and stifle them from talking with NTSB staff and the media. The board members -- Carol Carmody, Richard Healing and Deborah Hersman -- said they want freedom to speak with whomever they want. "It is crucial that board members be able to work directly with professional staff and have access to their expertise," they wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the St. Petersburg Times. The members also said they are concerned that Engleman Conners' effort to settle many of the board's long-standing safety recommendations in too many cases means settling for "lesser actions" that fail to address the original concerns. The NTSB has five board members, each nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve five-year terms. A member is designated by the president as chairman and another as vice chairman for two-year terms. The chairmanship requires separate Senate confirmation. Engleman Conners, who was formerly an administrator with the U.S. Department of Transportation, was appointed to the chairmanship by President Bush in March 2003. Her five-year term as a member expires on Dec. 31, 2007.