Money Crunch Threatens ATC Hiring Plan

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Meanwhile, the FAA is not happy with a proposal from Democratic leaders to extend 2006 spending levels through 2007. If that happens, an FAA official said in a memo that the agency might have to freeze all hiring of air traffic controllers and technicians after March 31. "In anticipation of the impact that could have on our finances, we must take further steps to reduce spending while still maintaining effective services to our customers," said Eugene Juba, the FAA Air Traffic Organization's senior vice president of finance. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told Gannett News Service that the hiring freeze is an option, but no decisions have been made yet. The current plan is to hire 1,136 controllers in fiscal 2007. The FAA has been widely criticized for not adequately addressing the anticipated wave of controller retirements.