FAA Tweaks Potential Conflict Of Interest Rules

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The FAA is proposing limits on the ability of airlines, flight schools, fractional ownership programs and other certificated organizations to hire former FAA personnel to represent them before the FAA in FAA matters. The FAA rule would specifically prevent former FAA safety inspectors and managers from representing a company if the individual had any direct oversight of said company at any time during the preceding two years. Current rules covering federal employees (and therefore FAA employees) may not appear especially different, but according to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, "the 'cooling off' period we're proposing actually exceeds the restrictions applicable to most businesses that hire former federal employees." The rule would not prevent companies from hiring the former inspectors to work in other capacities -- they could become maintenance techs, flight instructors, dispatchers, etc. -- but they could not serve in a position that placed them between a company and the FAA in matters related to the agency.

On the reverse side, policy is already in place to prevent, for a period of two years, newly hired FAA aviation safety inspectors from responsibilities that involve certificate management of their former employer. The FAA is seeking comments on the newly proposed rules through Feb. 19. Check the details of the proposal online.