FAA Committed To Safety ... At A Reasonable Cost
Millin said that local FAA officials tried to cancel the deployment of the temporary tower last year, citing budgetary concerns. A concerted protest by EAA, fly-in officials and the controllers themselves prompted the agency to relent. However, this year, after Millin sent his standard request for the service, he got a letter from Nancy B. Kort, the FAA's area director for central terminal operations, saying that free temporary tower services are a thing of the past. "Due to increased demands on our FAA facilities to manage resources and account for all expenses, we are asking you and all sponsors requesting our services to reimburse the FAA for these costs," she wrote. "We are committed to providing safety services at a reasonable cost and look forward to working with you in the future." The cost recovery request may be the unintentional result of a big-picture effort to revamp the FAA. Those "increased demands" for accountability and cost control that Kort mentions may have their roots in the agency's massive structural and cultural reorganization as it tries to modernize airspace management. In testimony before the Senate's transportation subcommittee last Thursday, Dr. Gerald Gillingham, of the Government Accountability Office, said the FAA is making headway in transforming to a performance-based organization where managers are rewarded for cost control and efficiency. He said a cornerstone of the effort is the FAA "using its performance management system to hold its managers accountable for controlling costs."