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Safety Agency Turns Up Dead...Last - (9/15/2005)

The Federal Aviation Administration received a damning report from a new survey on workplace satisfaction, confirming the agency's position as the worst place to work in government. The FAA tied for dead last out of 250 federal agencies and subcomponents in the "Best Places to Work" survey released by the non-partisan Partnership for Public Service and the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation. The agency's rankings also slipped across of eight of 10 important subcategories including Strategic Management, Effective Leadership and Support for Diversity. As most other agencies made significant progress engaging their workforce, the FAA seemed determined to buck the trend. The "effective leadership," one of the most crucial categories determining overall employee satisfaction and engagement, was an air ball for the agency. In this category and in the "strategic management" area less than half of the agency's employees are satisfied with the agency's performance. "The survey results confirm our worst fears," said National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr. "The agency's bad faith bargaining, heavy handed tactics and disregard for the workforce is evident in these findings." Carr went on, "The agency's decision to place ideology over operations has ruined its standing in the eyes of FAA employees and the flying public, and represents a real and growing danger to aviation safety." While three out of every four agencies and subcomponents of the federal government increased their scores between 2003 and 2005, the FAA's scores have continued to slip, including worrying decreases across some key variables, as demonstrated in the following table:

Group Rank Previous Score 2005 Score Difference
Strategic Management 203 55 48.3 -6.7
Teamwork 157 70.8 68.9 -1.9
Effective Leadership 197 45.8 44.8 -1
Training and Development 165 59.1 57.2 -1.9

The fact that NATCA members didn't participate in the survey means officials have few excuses for the mess their agency has become. "NATCA members did not take part in the survey to avoid skewing the results," Carr said. "For once, the FAA can't blame its colossal failures on 'labor' issues. It will have to look inward to right tremendous wrongs within its own house." Results of the 2005 "Best Places to Work" Survey by Partnership for Public Service and the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation can be accessed at http://www.bestplacestowork.org.

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