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Aviation workers deal with politics-induced furloughs

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — Some 4,000 furloughed aviation workers are the latest casualty of political infighting in Washington.

Families used to making $75,000 a year are filing for unemployment benefits and worrying how to make mortgage, car and student loan payments, furloughed workers say.

“It really is scary,” said Michael MacDonald, a 54-year-old Federal Aviation Administration engineer who lives outside of Boston. “For one week, you think OK, we can handle one week. But now the reality is starting to set in — this is going to take six weeks or more.”

The FAA has been partially shut down for more than a week, with only air traffic controllers, mechanics and those integral to keeping planes flying safely on the job.

The plight of 4,000 FAA workers has been overshadowed by greater commotion over raising the debt limit and spending cuts. But lawmakers have also been at odds over approving a routine stop-gap funding measure for the agency.

With the House adjourned, the funding impasse will likely grind on for FAA employees who are feeling the pinch of a lack of paycheck, not to mention perks such as like 401(k) retirement benefit contributions.

MacDonald works on updating communications systems for the FAA. He’s worried about paying his mortgage, car loans and college tuition for his two kids. He filed for unemployment benefits last week and has been urging his colleagues to do the same.

“I’ve never been in this situation before,” said MacDonald, a 20-year veteran of the FAA.

While many employees, especially single parents, are terrified of spiraling into debt, other FAA workers say they’re just furious that they’ve become the victims of partisan wrangling in Washington.

“For this to be about something so petty, it’s ridiculous. And terribly arrogant and totally uncaring,” said Steve Alexander, 59, who lives near Sanford, N.C.

Alexander’s last day on the job was July 22, when he finished upgrading the landing system at Memphis International Airport.

While Alexander saved up over a year to withstand this furlough, as a union representative, he has been talking to panicked colleagues who can’t afford to be out of work for weeks on end.

The partial shutdown impacts more than just federal workers. The FAA had to stop hundreds of airport construction projects nationwide, which means some 24,000 construction workers are also out of work. Another 35,000 support workers, such as food service vendors, are also impacted, said Steve Sandherr CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America.

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“This can’t go on a day longer, much less six weeks longer,” Randy Babbitt, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, told CNN on Tuesday

— CNN’s Mike M. Ahlers contributed to this report. To top of page

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August 4, 2011 Posted by | aviation, aviation engineering government, engineering services, federal aviation, Federal Aviation Administration, professional services | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Congress hits beach, aviation workers hit unemployment lines

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(CNN) — Neil Bolen has worked as a civil engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration for the past 24 years, designing air traffic control radar systems that help keep America moving.

Now he’s got a message for Congress: Get moving on a plan to save his job.

Bolen, a 48-year-old father of two from the Atlanta area, is one of thousands of Americans with ties to the aviation industry who are suddenly finding themselves out of work this summer because of Congress’s failure to pass routine legislation keeping the FAA funded. The House and Senate have gone on vacation, leaving Bolen on furlough.

He’s had no choice but to file for unemployment, prioritize which bills to pay, and dig into his family’s savings in order to make ends meet.

“Congress doesn’t care about me at all,” Bolen told CNN. “They’re not done with their work and they go on vacation. How do they do that?”

Bolen says he’s tried to “avoid politics as a rule” his whole life, but now he’s calling his congressman and senators — to no avail.

“It’s always somebody else’s fault” when you call their offices, he says. “It’s never our fault.”

The House adjourned Monday after a divisive vote to raise the national debt ceiling, leaving the Senate with an FAA funding extension bill it did not like and could not amend. So the Senate recessed Tuesday night without doing anything.

At issue is a decision by Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican, to add a provision to the funding extension cutting subsidies to rural airports. The measure is opposed by powerful Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

There’s also a dispute over provisions that would make it easier for airline employees to unionize. Democrats support the section; Republicans generally oppose it.

Bolen and 4,000 other FAA employees are stuck in the middle of the dispute. But they’re not the only people being hurt. The FAA has stopped hundreds of airport construction projects nationwide, putting about 24,000 construction workers out of work.

Another 35,000 support workers, such as food service vendors, are also affected, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

The FAA says the impasse will also prevent the federal government from collecting approximately $200 million a week in airline passenger taxes — or about $1.2 billion during the congressional recess.

Other workers caught up in the mess share Bolen’s frustrating and growing anger with Congress.

“We’re into the politics of confrontation versus looking out for the interests for constituents,” said Troy Swanberg, a mechanical engineer from Chicago. “I’m really disappointed.”

He called the situation “unconscionable.”

Swanberg, 42, has worked for the FAA for 20 years and has a 2-year-old daughter. Like Bolen, he’s digging into his savings. He’s also looking for another job.

Robert Aitken, 47, works for the FAA in Burlington, Massachusetts. He’s been with the FAA for 18 years, and before that spent five years in the Navy. He has two children, ages 9 and 12.

“We’re just in shock that (Congress) actually did not get this done,” he told CNN. “We understand this is politics, but this is just insane.”

Aitken said he’s “very upset” Congress “didn’t think this was important enough to stick around for.” He stressed that it’s not just federal workers who are being hurt by the latest Washington stalemate.

“They’re going to put people out of business,” he warned. “Small companies will go under.”

Curtis Howe, 50, works for the FAA in Seattle. He helped build the control tower at nearby Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, among other things.

Recently, he and his wife took out a 15-year home equity loan in order to put a new roof on their house. Now he’s being forced to use that money to pay his regular bills.

“It’s almost like there’s a … dog walking down the road, and he picked up a hand grenade in his mouth and it’s going to go off. They don’t even know what they’re doing,” he said in reference to Congress. “Who are they? Are they better than us?”

“This is a clear attack on middle America,” Howe said. “This is a punch in the face. It’s terrible.”

 

 

 

August 4, 2011 Posted by | SDVOSB | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FAA furloughs unprecedented, officials say

A week after Congress failed to extend funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, officials are calling the furloughs triggered by the partial shutdown of agency operations unprecedented.

FAA furloughed 4,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in Washington, after lawmakers failed to reach a last-minute agreement on July 22 on a stopgap funding measure for the agency. Until Congress acts, FAA will not be able to collect federal taxes on airline tickets, which supply the trust fund used to pay employees. Officials estimate the agency is losing $30 million a day as a result of the partial shutdown.

Air traffic controllers are not part of the furlough, but many employees are, including engineering and electronics technicians, computer and logistics specialists, and support staff, among other workers. Those still required to work during the hiatus would receive pay retroactively once funding is restored. But Congress must approve back pay for employees subject to furlough. During the government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, furloughed federal employees were paid retroactively for the time they were off the job; that might not be the case in the current situation at FAA given the tense political climate and the government’s fiscal woes. 

The impasse over extending FAA’s funding is having an impact on employees. “This is unprecedented,” said Kori Blalock Keller, a spokeswoman for the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, referring to the furloughs in general. “We are concerned about how this will shake out.”

An FAA spokeswoman agreed with Keller: “There have been furloughs before, but never like this,” she said. The agency has not had any difficulty getting employees who are considered essential to show up for work during the furlough, she added.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., told Federal News Radio on Friday that he does not see an immediate end to the stalemate. The House and Senate are at odds over a labor provision in the House version that would overturn a National Mediation Board decision, making it easier for rail and aviation workers to unionize. In addition, the House bill, introduced by Mica, eliminates subsidies for airline service to airports located less than 90 miles from a medium or large hub, which has upset some lawmakers from rural areas.

Democratic lawmakers have called for an urgent vote on a clean extension of FAA funding in hopes of bringing 4,000 furloughed employees back to work.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members, supported by other party members, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would extend FAA funding through the end of fiscal 2011 without any newly added provisions. A short-term authorization would allow the agency to operate while lawmakers negotiate a long-term bill, they said.

“PASS is frustrated and looking to Congress to make this right,” said Keller. “We’re on the same page as the FAA in that regard.”

Federal News Radio also reported on Friday that furloughed FAA employees could be eligible for a zero percent interest furlough relief loan from NASA Federal Credit Union.

 

August 1, 2011 Posted by | SDVOSB | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill would put job creation pressure on contractors

Companies would estimate in bids how many jobs a contract would create

Under a new House bill, an important factor in judging contract bids would be how many jobs a company says it could create if it was awarded a federal contract, but the company could suffer for an inaccurate assessment.

Companies would include in their proposals a “jobs impact statement.” The statement would tell the government the number of jobs a company believes it and its subcontractors may create, or at least not end, in the United States. The statement would also be “a guarantee from the offeror” that U.S. jobs would not be shipped overseas after the government awarded the contract.

Five House members introduced the American Jobs Matter Act (H.R. 1435) April 4.

The measure would require that, six months after making an award, the contracting officer would monitor the company’s numbers in its statement compared with actual job numbers. With those reviews, the contracting officer would have to track the numbers throughout the life of the contract, and compare the number of jobs with the jobs impact statement. The point would be is to see if the company was correct or missed its estimate.

The jobs statement and the agency evaluations would become a major factor for a company in future contract competitions.

“If the number of jobs that the agency estimates will be created by using the jobs impact statement significantly exceeds the number of jobs created or retained, then the agency may evaluate whether the contractor should be proposed for debarment,” according to the bill.

The bill was referred to the Government Reform and Oversight Committee and the Armed Services Committee.


 John Clancey  Don Rhea

May 3, 2011 Posted by | American Jobs Matter Act, sba, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , | Leave a comment

Contractors, customers both hurt by short-term budget extensions

Contractors, customers both hurt by short-term budget extensions

For nearly six months, the federal government has operated under temporary funding measures, leaving many agencies and contractors in limbo, unable to plan or execute new initiatives.

Congress passed the latest in a string of continuing resolutions this week, and President Barack Obama signed it today. The newest temporary funding measure gives lawmakers until April 8 to reach an agreement on 2011 appropriations or again face a government shutdown. But operating on a string of stop-gap measures, with no solid ground for planning or spending authorizations, is untenable, according to many experts.

John Palguta, vice president of policy at the Partnership for Public Service, described funding as a “huge part of the planning process” and said that continuing resolutions make it hard for agencies to gather important data.

“Long-range planning is very difficult under a series of continuing resolutions because there is so much you don’t know,” Palguta said.

 

Media reports have indicated that many in the government feel they have been operating in chaos and confusion. “Officials at various agencies have frozen hiring, canceled projects, delayed contracts, reduced grants and curtailed training, travel and upgrades in information technology,” wrote Robert Pear in the New York Times.

Pear cited examples of disruptions at the Social Security Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Defense Department. Short-term budget extensions can also interrupt the execution of government contracts.

Elizabeth M. Robinson, the chief financial officer at NASA, said: ‘Most agencies have pushed the renewal of major contracts into the winter and spring. Uncertainty has slowed down our spending. That uncertainty takes a toll,’” Pear wrote.

 

Government IT projects could suffer because of ongoing budget constraints. When the budget cycle starts getting disrupted, it creates a lot of issues with resource allocation, said Gary Labovich, a senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Labovich said that assigning staff becomes a challenge for vendors if IT projects are stopped or slowed down. “We have to move key people on to other work,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of keeping people on the side until the government figures out” its budget.

From the government perspective, budget interruptions can lead to inconsistency in personnel and result in derailed IT projects, Labovich added.

Overall, the effect of the budget dispute on government operations varies by agency.

Palguta said that while some agencies have been asked to take on more responsibilities, they have not received an increase in funding. The six continuing resolutions that have been enacted so far fund agencies at 2010 levels.

Agencies “can’t continue to do the same work or do more work with the same or fewer resources,” Palguta said, adding that, at some point, agencies might have to reduce the types of services they offer.

The strain on agencies has also, unsurprisingly, hindered federal managers and their employees’ abilities to do their jobs, according to sources. This type of environment – with the possibility of a shutdown looming in the background – reduces productivity due to lower employee engagement, Palguta said.

“The continued reliance on temporary funding measures and the creation of a crisis atmosphere with repeated threats of a shutdown is not a responsible or a smart way to govern,” wrote Max Stier, president and CEO of the partnership, in Politico.

Despite signing the latest CR, Obama has signaled that he is unwilling to continue the trend of short-term measures. At a news briefing earlier this month, he said it is “irresponsible” to keep running the government based on two-week extensions.

Now it’s up to Congress to come up with a solution that will ensure the government remains fully functional for the remainder of 2011.

 

John Clancey Don Rhea

 

 

March 30, 2011 Posted by | engineering services, SDB, SDVOSB, Small Business Administration 8(a), small business contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

ClancyJG International sdb-sdvosb-8a

We have more than three decades of expertise serving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and private industry.

ClancyJG International is an professional, engineering, and consulting services company.  We are recognized experts in air traffic control and airspace management, research and test ranges, and training and simulation.  We provide expertise capable of addressing complex programmatic issues including the management and coordination within and between organizations.  As such we have demonstrated our ability to provide staff with unique skills consisting of managers, engineers, analysts, subject matter experts, and operational staff.  While a relatively new corporate entity, we have more than three decades of expertise serving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and private industry.    We are a participants in the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program and are a Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).

 

 

February 22, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), aviation engineering, engineering services, professional services, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Senate passes $34.5 billion FAA bill

Senate passes $34.5 billion FAA bill

 

The Senate on Monday passed a $34.5 billion measure, by a vote of 93-0, that would upgrade the nation’s aging air traffic control system, limit tarmac delays for passengers and increase taxes on several areas within the airline industry.

The bill, which funds the Federal Aviation Administration through September 2011, calls for the air traffic control system to switch from World War II-era radar technology to a satellite-based system by 2014 at the busiest airports, and nationwide by 2020. The new system known as NextGen would cost the FAA about $22 billion through 2025 while airlines would spend about $20 billion to upgrade their airplanes’ computer systems.

With the numbers of airline passengers growing, the new air traffic system is expected in the long term to increase safety, save airlines money, reduce delays and cut down on pollution because pilots will be able to fly more direct routes.

The bill, which will have to be ironed out in a House-Senate conference, raises an additional $276 million in revenue from the expansion of several taxes.

The measure sets the general aviation jet fuel tax rate at 36 cents a gallon, up from 22 cents. That is expected to raise about $113 million through 2014. Private business jet charters would see taxes increase from 4.4 cents a gallon to 36 cents, and they would pay as an a 14-cent surtax on fuel, which is expected to raise $107 million through 2014.

In addition, planes weighing 6,000 pounds, which were previously exempt from the taxes, would have to pay into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, raising about $56 million over 10 years. Under the Senate bill only sightseeing planes are exempt.

During Monday’s debate Senate Commerce ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said “we still have a long way to go on this legislation, I hope we can do it.”

 

 

 

February 22, 2011 Posted by | aviation engineering, Department of Defense (DOD), engineering services, Federal Aviation Administration, SDB, Small Business Administration 8(a) | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) was established in Washington, D.C. in 1956 by a group of air traffic controllers, the Air Traffic Control Association has been from the outset dedicated to progress in the science of air traffic control and the preservation of a safe flight environment. For more information visithttp://www.atca.org/

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February 16, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), engineering services, professional services, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , | Leave a comment

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May 14, 2010 – ClancyJG International is certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as an 8(a) Business Development Program Participant. September 24, 2009 – ClancyJG International is awarded a contract by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide support to the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Office. As the support contractor, ClancyJG International provides the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) expert technical, analytical, and planning support services. September 15, 2009 – ClancyJG International, as a member of the Management and Engineering Technologies International Inc. (METI) Team, is please to announce that our Team has been selected as one of the successful offerors to participate in the Electronic FAA Accelerated and Simplified Tasks (eFAST). The FAA entered into multiple Master Ordering Agreements (MOAs) with Small Businesses, 8(a), Women-Owned, Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Businesses (SEDB) to provide comprehensive management, engineering and technical support services.

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February 8, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), engineering services, professional services, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , | Leave a comment

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February 1, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), engineering services, professional services, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , | Leave a comment