Many Government Employees Should Be Fired

I read a story yesterday about an air traffic controller, at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, who nearly ran two airplanes into each other. The NTSB report stated that he cleared a small Cessna 172 for take-off. Then, 16 seconds later, he cleared an Embraer ER145 on another runway that had an intersecting departure path with the Cessna 172. The planes came approximately 300 feet from one another after take-off, during their climb-out. The controller, Robert Beck, made this near-fatal mistake that could have killed almost 60 people. Beck has been a controller for 23 years, during which he had been suspended from work for excessive tardiness, absences, and failing to report a DUI. Following this 2009 incident, Beck was removed from duties; however, he was later “re-trained” and then allowed to return to work at the same airport.

As a pilot myself, this story scared me to death. Air traffic controllers should not be able to return to work after incidents like this, let alone getting a DUI and showing up late to work. This, however, seems to be a chronic issue throughout the government, as poor quality employees are retained. In fact, according to a USA Today analysis, many government employees are more likely to die of natural causes, than to be fired. I propose that the government start acting like a business and getting rid of employees who do not live up to expectations. If Mr. Beck would have worked for one of the airlines in the private sector, I can assure you he would have been fired many, many years ago after the first problems with his behavior arose. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy and poor management within the Federal Aviation Administration almost led to 60 people dying. This type of wanton disregard by the management within government agencies needs to end. Not only will it save money through a more productive workforce, but it will also increase safety within agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration.

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