Senate limboland

Washington never runs smoothly and election years are worse. Take what should have been a simple straightforward procedure, getting a new FAA administrator in place. But Robert “Bobby” Sturgell, who’s been acting FAA administrator since Marion 20070308_lautenberg.gif Blakey ended her term last September, may not get the job to keep. After two hours of generally hostile questioning by senators, two members of the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest deliberative body” announced they would block his nomination from coming to the Senatebobby_sturgell.JPG floor for a vote.
Sturgell (right) needs a Senate vote if he’s to get the job for a full five-year term set by law. But after the back and forth on air-traffic controller staffing, attrition and morale in a Senate commerce committee session that was far more contentious than the usual confirmation hearing, that’s not a sure thing, even for someone as deeply experienced as Sturgell, a former NTSB staffer, former United Airlines pilot and former Top Gun navy pilot. One senator, New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg (left), announced at the start of the hearing that he was opposed to the Sturgell nomination. “He’s the wrong man at the wrong time,” said the Democrat. Within minutes of the close of the hearing, Lautenberg and his fellow New Jersey Democrat, Robert Menendez, announced that they had placed a ‘hold’ on a final vote on Sturgell’s confirmation. That puts Sturgell’s FAA future in limboland.
Sturgell has been acting administrator since Marion Blakey’s robertmenendez9.jpg five-year term expired last September, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association has lobbied against him since to protest the pace of new labour-contract negotiations. Menendez (right) said that “my hope is that by holding up this nomination, it will either spark the FAA to get moving on safety issues or it will result on a new nominee who grasps the sense of urgency.” Lautenberg and Menendez both said that the FAA was unprepared for controller attrition and that its recent redesign of north-eastern airspace had endangered safety margins at airports such as Newark in New Jersey.
Unless the two senators remove their hold, the debate over Sturgell’s nomination would have to be renewed at in early 2009, when a new Congress is sworn in. The hold puts Sturgell into a procedural limbo that complicates the fact that the Congress has not yet given the FAA a full budget for the fiscal year that began last October. Although the agency will be able to continue day-to-day business, the ‘no-boss, no-budget’ status makes it difficult for the FAA to undertake major new initiatives, while the long-running budget impasse puts the threat of involuntary furloughs before many of the agency’s employees.

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13 Responses to Senate limboland

  1. QuietRockland February 8, 2008 at 3:43 am #

    Below are some (but definitely not all) reasons to reject the proposed confirmation of Robert “Bobby” Sturgell as would be FAA Administrator:

    · “Bobby” Sturgell was and is the other half of the publicist run and failed Marion Blakey FAA regime.
    · Blakey’s and Sturgell’s incestuous pecuniary relationship with the airlines – the very same airlines that the FAA is by law supposed to be regulating – has led to substantially decreased safety in our American skies, and also record delays for all travelers.
    · Because of Sturgell’s failed approach and lack of objectivity, it is only a matter of time before his tenure at the FAA results in one or more aeronautical catastrophes. There have been an unacceptably large number of airplane near-disasters even since he recently took office as acting administrator. A major catastrophe, God forbid, will be the as much the responsibility of the Commerce Committee and the U.S. Senate if they fail to reject “Bobby” Sturgell. The Senate needs to send “Bobby” packing so that he can join his old boss, publicist Blakey, and continue to work for his “true” masters in the aerospace industry. He is no protector of the safety or health of the American citizenry, and he can never be the objective Aerospace “Czar” urged by Senator Charles Schumer and others. He should simply be deemed disqualified and unsuited for the post.
    · Bobby Sturgell is one of the chief authors and sponsors of the NY/NJ/PH Airspace Redesign – which promises to destroy the quality of life for millions of citizens, and will actually make air delays WORSE – while at the same time bringing real danger of terrible accidents over our heads and homes in the northeast.
    · The FAA and Sturgell have violated no less than three major bodies of federal law with regard to the NY/NJ/PA Airspace Redesign: NEPA, the Administrative Procedure Act, and 49 United States Code §40103(b)(2). These violations and others are cited in the 13 pending Redesign Federal Court lawsuits in 5 states across the Northeast – Lawsuits that Sturgell cost our government. “Bobby” Sturgell and the FAA never gave adequate attention to the due process rights of the citizens and communities on the ground, or Homeland Security imperatives regarding the proposed Redesign – and he and the FAA have failed to do so through and including this day.
    · The Blakey / Sturgell FAA have brought us to a national crisis in terms of air traffic controller shortages nationwide. The FAA mis-treatment of these hard-working men and women, who keep our skies safe, has led to mass departures of these vital workers and a breaking if their spirit. The near-future looks particularly precarious as these highly-trained, seasoned professionals depart en masse – and are replaced, if at all, with inexperienced or yet-unqualified replacements.
    · The Blakey / Sturgell regime failed to deploy, on an expedited basis, the advanced air traffic control equipment which we know is already available today. As a result, the state of our air traffic control system is in an unacceptably regressive and sorry state.
    · As many on Capitol Hill ALREADY know, for the past several months, Sturgell and his aerospace industry cohorts have been trying to rush and cram-down his proposed confirmation, in advance of the GAO Audit results on the NY/NJ/PA Airspace Redesign. Sturgell already knows that the GAO Audit is likely to slam the FAA and him, on his public official malfeasance relating to the NY/NJ/PA Airspace Redesign. At minimum, the Commerce Committee should further stay the confirmation of Bobby Sturgell as FAA Head pending GAO Audit results, given the strong likelihood that the GAO Audit will show in bas relief the unacceptable character of the man who would become the next FAA Administrator. Five more years of this man would be five more years of aeronautical hell.
    · We shouldn’t need to pay for an aviation Czar to oversee the FAA. rather, we should have an objective, incorruptible FAA head – who is the Czar – instead of being the patsy for the aerospace industry alone.
    · Virtually every single communication, which the FAA has made to us in the northeast regarding the Airspace Redesign – through FOIA replies and otherwise – has been one lie after another. The American people need and deserve and FAA and an FAA administrator who is honest.

  2. aerononymous February 26, 2008 at 12:52 am #

    For those who care about the future of this country, currently more in peril than some might otherwise think – please consider visiting the following Internet website:

    At this above website, you will be able to see, and even also hear, by way of mp3 musical download, the truth about FAA Head Bobby Sturgell’s background – and the primordial mid-Lantic chowder from whence he came.

    Please read the song lyrics. They are for real. They are no joke. Please also access the links to the corresponding news stories. Those news stories spawned the lyrics and song, just like the cult of the late J. Edgar Hoover spawned the ill intentions of Bobby Sturgell and the FAA. The Hoover connection, and even the very-real gunplay at the site of the Sturgell family biker-bar in Deale, Maryland, is all documented and on the website for the entire world to see. And for that matter, just how smart is it for a publican family to insult the very nationwide network of bikers upon whom the family’s income in part relied? It’s all what Bobby Sturgell and the FAA never wanted you to see. They lost. The people won.

    If you are concerned about the risk of people who emanate from racist, homophobic breeding grounds that would do further hateful violence to OUR rights and OUR country, retaining control of the United States federal government, then please, visit the website at least once a day for the sake of maintaining web-statistics and momentum; pass the URL on to your friends; write letters; make calls; and get (further) involved.

    Bobby Sturgell MUST be removed from office as current FAA Administrator. Your assistance is requested and very, very much appreciated.

    Thank you,


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