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Federal Employees News Digest : April 29, 2013
April 29, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 39 3 Visit us on the internet at www.FederalDaily.com officials---and advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities---have offered a similar observation: If the Supreme Court determines DOMA is unconstitutional, it's far more likely that action on domestic part- ner FEHB benefits will move forward. Simon succinctly summarized the union's ultimate goals on domestic partnership in tes- timony at the recent subcommittee hearing: "AFGE strongly supports the full coverage for domestic partners of both same- and opposite- sex couples and their children under FEHBP, as well as other law changes that would not impose a tax penalty on same-sex families." As for AFGE's expectations of further action on the legislation in the coming months, "It's impossible to speculate---it's the Congress," Simon told FEND. To see Simon's recent testimony, go to http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/ uploads/2013/04/Simon-Testimony-4-11- FEHBP-COMPLETE.pdf. Employee groups urge end to controller furloughs Eleven groups representing various segments of the aviation workforce last week sent a let- ter to the White House urging that the Federal Aviation Administration be given funding flex- ibility that would allow it to eliminate the need to furlough air traffic controllers. Under the furloughs, 10 percent of the air traffic controller workforce is on furlough at any given time. The coalition, which includes the Airline Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Traffic Control Association and other organizations, sent a letter April 19 to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to protest the one-day-per-pay-period furloughs of air traf- fic controllers, which the letter called "an unprec- edented occurrence that is very concerning to those of us in the aviation community." "While other federal agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection (CPB), Meat Inspectors (USDA) and Bureau of Prisons (DOJ), have taken steps to avoid furloughing their essen- tial operational personnel, the [Federal Aviation Administration] believes they have not been given the same flexibility," the letter stated. "In order to avert the furloughs of air traffic controllers, the FAA must be given funding flex- ibility so that essential services are maintained during the sequester," the letter said. "This would exclude air traffic controllers from furloughs, and mitigate the effects of sequestration on the capac- ity of our airspace." Two organizations signing the coalition let- ter---Airlines for America (A4A), which rep- resents the U.S. airlines, and the Airline Pilots Association---also joined with the Regional Airlines Association to file a legal action in U.S. Appellate Court for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking a stay to halt the FAA's plan. "The FAA recently delayed its decision to close contract towers by more than two months after being sued by several communities scheduled to have their airport tower closed," the group said April 19 in announcing the legal action. "It should do no less for the national airspace system." Delays flare up After the first day of the furloughs, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association issued a statement addressing air travel delays that already had begun to materialize. "The current furloughs of air traffic controllers may be due to unique and unusual circumstances, but after a single day of delays throughout the avia- tion system, it's clear they should be halted imme- diately," said the NATCA statement. "On Sunday, the first day of the furloughs, lengthy delays at major airports in New York and Los Angeles inconvenienced passengers and contributed to further delays across the country despite mostly good weather and flying conditions." NATCA said the controllers on duty did the best they could under the circumstances and that "the delays could have been worse had the controllers not stayed after their shifts at key facili- ties like LAX Tower and Atlanta Terminal Radar Approach Control." Two days into furloughs of air traffic control- lers, more than 10,000 flights had been delayed and more than 600 canceled, according to a sub- sequent NATCA press statement. "This is just the beginning of what promises to be a huge economic disruption if the furloughs are not stopped," the group said. According to NATCA, the FAA had begun to continued from page 1 was scheduled for midafternoon--- was postponed, but that "postponed" meant it would be made later that day. Not true ... The bad (silly) thing is that some commentators complained about the FBI (the lead agency in the investiga- tion) for postponing the news confer- ence: The fact that none had been planned, because nobody had been caught, was lost on a lot of people. My fear is that in this age of camera phones, people will expect immediate arrests. With millions of images taken any given day, when something bad happens, bad guys surely must have been snapped somewhere along the way. Maybe so. Probably so. But ... Going through those millions of images won't be easy. And if the per- sons charged with viewing them get tired, blink and miss one frame, THE frame, there is no reason to keep on looking. But you don't know that at the time. Maybe never, if the bad guy gets away. Over the years, I have been at numerous crime scenes, bank rob- beries, murders, shootings, etc. Thanks to press credentials (and knowing the right cops, sometimes) I got it up close and personal. Sometimes too much so. But it was my job, and I was nearly always impressed by how thor- ough the local cops, and the FBI, ATF and Postal Inspectors were. And how good they are. When I started writing this par- ticular column, the hunt for the Boston bombers was just beginning. I thought it would take much longer to catch them, so I ended it like this: "So when or if they catch the bad people, well done. Not as easy as we armchair sleuths think. "And if they don't, it won't be for lack of trying. "But I'm betting on the good guys." No credit to me, but it is nice to be right once in a while! Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 2 continued on page 4
April 22, 2013
May 6, 2013