A footnote to the FAA furloughs


One of the oddities of this summer’s partial Federal Aviation Administration shutdown was that the agency would never say exactly how many employees were furloughed as a result. “Nearly 4,000” was the stock phrase used by FAA officials, who refused to provide a more precise figure.

Not clear why they were so coy (this is supposed to be the most transparent administration in American history, after all), but FedLine’s curiosity was piqued, a Freedom of Information Act request was filed and the answer came back late last month: 3,750. The estimated cost in lost payroll for the two-week furlough (and the FAA, to be fair, had previously released an approximate figure) was $20.2 million.

The partial shutdown occurred in July and August after Congress failed to approve a short-term funding extension and then left town for its August break.  After taking a pounding from administration officials and in the media, lawmakers soon got the agency fully back to work; the latest extension now runs until the end of January.  And while Congress never acted on legislation to provide back pay for those furloughed employees, that turned out to be a moot point after Transportation Department lawyers decided that no congressional approval was needed.



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  1. As far as I know, no vote on FAA funding is scheduled at this point. But, to avoid another partial shutdown, Congress will have to do something before the latest funding extension expires on Jan. 31, 2012.

  2. That’s how many Federal employees were furloughed. Do you have any idea how many contract employees were sent home too? Or does that matter to anyone but those that were sent home?

  3. the other side that has STILL not been mentioned is the non-construction contractors that were also put out of work. granted, there were not 70,000 of us, but there were probably at least 4000, and we will not get back pay.

  4. $20.2 million for 3,750 employees to do nothing for how many weeks? And, of course, nothing for the FAA employees who had to pick up the slack, but that would compound Congress’ irresponsible inaction. Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture?

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