Forecasters Predict Legal Action


The National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) says it will take legal action against the FAAs plan to eliminate on-site weather forecasters at 21 Air Route Traffic Control Centers. In a letter to the agency, Richard J. Hirn, the NWSEOs general counsel, says the FAAs plan to centralize the weather-forecasting operation in a single, contracted-out facility violates various laws that, in a nutshell, say its the National Weather Services job to provide weather information to the FAA. Hirn also notes that NWS forecasters have been consistently exempt from contracting out because they provide services that are inherently governmental. In his letter, Hirn tells Robert Fitzpatrick of the FAAs Office of Enterprise Solutions that potential bidders should know what theyre in for. You should advise your potential contractors that this matter will become subject of federal litigation so they can make an informed decision on whether to participate in an illegal procurement process, he wrote. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is backing the NWSEOs opposition to the centralization, saying that having direct access to a weather expert in the center saves time in making routing and other weather-related decisions.