But, don’t worry. It was all part of their training, to make sure they were on the same page. Or something:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spent five million dollars this month to bring 3, 600 managers to a conference in Atlanta that FAA whistleblowers and critics say was little more than an excuse to throw a three-week-long Christmas party.
“It’s the wrong time to spend five million dollars on a Christmas party for anybody’s employees, especially in the government,” said Tom Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a non-profit watchdog group.
Undercover video to be broadcast tonight on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer shows FAA managers drinking heavily and making the rounds of Atlanta bars after a day of meetings.
One FAA manager told an ABC News undercover reporter, “Anytime you get a bunch of FAA guys together, it is nothing but a party.” Another said, “It beats being at work.”
The FAA says the purpose of the December meetings was to train managers on the new contract for air traffic controllers that went into effect on Oct. 1.
“This is worth it because we have to get the frontline managers on-board with what we’re trying to do,” said Hank Krakowski, the chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Operations.
The FAA managers received $81 per day to spend on meals and personal expenses. The hotel room cost was $140 per night.
At the end of one day of meetings, an FAA manager said he and others were about to head out “to dance on tables shortly.” He boasted he was “almost arrested” for being drunk and “dancing on the tables” at the last such FAA managers gathering in St. Louis in 2006.
Another conference attendee asked a female ABC News undercover reporter if she was a “hooker” because “I was ready to reach for my wallet.”
Obviously, I went to work for the wrong employer. The best we get is a plate of cookies; the FAA gets a “spread the wealth” program for call-girls.
Yeah. Me, too.