Save Taxpayer Money for Air Traffic Control

President Obama has claimed airline delays because of the Sequester cannot be avoided, however, Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes, that taxpayers are funding 17 air traffic controllers to work for their union instead of for public air safety: With air traffic controllers furloughed and travelers delayed at airports, it's time to ask why Uncle Sam is paying 17 air traffic controllers to work full time as representatives for government unions rather than guiding airplanes. Uncle Sam calls hours that federal workers spend working for their unions and not working for taxpayers "official time." Sixteen of the 17 air traffic controllers on official time make six-figure salaries. In a report issued in February, just before Presidents Day weekend, the Office of Personnel Management announced that the federal government paid more than $156 million in 2011 for career civil service employees to work on official time, up from $139 million in 2010 and $129 million in 2009. Government employees, including air traffic controllers, spent more than 3.4 million hours in 2011 on official time, up from 3.1 million in 2010 and 3 million in 2009. OPM reports numbers of hours on official time. The only way to ascertain the number of full-time employees is to submit a Freedom of Information Act request to each individual agency. Americans for Limited Government, a conservative nonprofit organization, requested the data for each agency. Kathy Roy, FOIA officer at DOT, reported that 35 employees did no work at all for the department in 2012, including 17 air traffic controllers. go here for the list. They were paid average salaries of $138,000, for a total cost to taxpayers of $4.8 million annually. Many more DOT employees spent some of their day at departmental duties, with the rest as official time, courtesy of the taxpayer.