Skin color is more important to the Federal Aviation Administration than air safety!  You should be VERY afraid when you fly!

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Case 7 - Non-minorities need NOT apply to FAA!

Racial Preferences Cost!

Disabled veteran with college degrees and years of aircraft experience is the wrong color for FAA!

          DeWayne T. Currier served his country.  He's a veteran, and he is disabled.  He has over 10 years experience maintaining and inspecting aircraft.  He has two college degrees in the field.   But the FAA can't hire him because he is the wrong color!

Go:  Details of FAA Reverse Discrimination. FAA:   Race Is More Important Than Experience:  Non-minority, disabled veteran DeWayne Currier has the right qualifications but the wrong skin color for the FAA!

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Be sure to also see the Aug. 24, 1998 Update, below.
NEW! Be sure to also see the Dec. 30, 1998 Update, below.
Be sure to also see Additional Links, below.

Qualified, Experienced, Disabled Veteran
Not Right Color for the FAA!

Beware! Skin Color is More Important to FAA
than Air Safety!

          Mr. DeWayne T. Currier submitted this story to Adversity.Net on Feb. 21, 1998.  We have included updates on this case Aug. 24, 1998, as well as letters and documentation from Mr. Currier provided on Dec. 30, 1998:

          "In 1994 I completed my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Professional Aeronautics. My minor was Aviation Safety.

          "That same year I started my Masters Degree. My major field of study was Aeronautical Science. I completed the Masters Degree in 1996.

          "I should note that I am also licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration as an aircraft mechanic. I have more than a decade of aircraft maintenance experience.

          "My education was sponsored by the Veterans Administration due to the fact that I was separated from the Air Force with a disability. I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a neuromuscular disorder. Due to this condition, the federal government has rated me to be 30% disabled.

          "Our review [of the FAA] found the majority (82.5 percent) of FAA's Fellows Program nominees for Fiscal Years (FY) 1991 through 1995 were women and minorities.

          "During this period, white males were the largest group of potential nominees, however, the number of DOT white males nominated decreased steadily from 52 to 32 percent. We also found that for 2 years (i.e., FYs 1992 and 1993) FAA did not nominate any white males."

-- Office of the Inspector General DOT (FAA) 11/8/96

          "In late 1994 I learned of potential job opening at the Federal Aviation Administration in Sacramento, California. I contacted the director of the FAA Flight Standards Office (FSO) in Sacramento, and he requested that I send a resume of my qualifications. In response, I sent him my SF-171 with all supporting documentation. (The SF-171 form is the government’s standardized resume form.)

          "Throughout the month of November (1994) I tried to re-contact the FSO director in order to follow up on my earlier contact. I learned that he was traveling on official business.

          "I was persistent and called several times. During one telephone conversation I spoke with a person who said they were the "Administrative Officer". This individual asked me point blank if I "was a minority." I thought this to be odd and dismissed it at the time. Finally, on December 2, 1994, at approximately 1 o'clock in the afternoon I had a telephone conversation with the FSO director with whom I had originally spoken.

          "The FSO told me that he thought my qualifications were extremely good!  He made statements to the effect that "he usually did not receive applications from aircraft mechanics who also had college-level education in the field of aviation safety". This comment certainly seemed to be praise for my solid qualifications for the job! Then, the FSO popped the same question as the Administrative Officer had asked several days earlier: "Are you a minority?"

          "I confessed to him that I was not a minority. He explained to me that a Federal Government directive mandated that he was only allowed to hire a member of a federally-designated minority for the position of Aircraft Maintenance Safety Inspector.

          "Let me get this straight. Has the Federal Government issued a requirement that the FAA must practice racial discrimination?! Has the Federal Government mandated that only certain racial categories can be hired for certain positions? Am I missing something here? What about the Constitution?

          "The FAA’s requirements for the opening for which I applied are that the applicant must be able to document a minimum of 3 three years of full-time employment maintaining aircraft. I documented to the FAA that I have over 10 years of the required experience. Furthermore, my aviation degrees introduced me to aircraft accident investigation (both undergraduate and graduate study) , human factors in aviation safety (both undergraduate and graduate study), as well as systems safety in aviation, aircraft structural safety, and aviation/aerospace safety. Other areas related to safety were meteorology and aviation law. Initially, the FSO had indicated he was quite impressed with my experience and my education!

          "In spite of all this, I still was not able to get hired by the FAA because I am apparently not the right color!

          "All of this leads me to question the value of my six years of college-level education, and it seems to negate the value of my 10 years of "on the job experience" performing the aircraft maintenance tasks for which the FAA office was looking in a job applicant for this position. What’s wrong with this picture?

          "I have been denied a job for which I am very well qualified because I don't fit into some Government-mandated racial standard which has nothing at all to do with the requirements of the job!

          "Worse yet, it is my Government doing this to me!

          "I feel I have nowhere to turn, so I might just as well publish an honest account of what happened to me."


          Mr. Currier adds: "By the way, I will be contacting my elected officials about this. As a matter fact I've contacted the current FAA Administrator (Jane Garvey) about FAA hiring practices. All I've gotten from her office is silence."  We’re sorry, DeWayne, but you can probably expect nothing better from Ms. Garvey! She is required to defend the status quo of reverse discrimination at the FAA!  Her job depends on it!


          Mr. DeWayne T. Currier also adds: "I'm still kinda-sorta serving my country. I work for Lockheed doing modifications on the F-117."

          Mr. Currier poses the following, somewhat rhetorical question: "Would you rather have a person with my experience and education inspecting the aircraft on which you may fly -- or would you rather have someone with a racial waiver from the FAA qualifications (who may not even meet the FAA's own minimum experience standards) inspecting the plane on which you are about to fly? Just call me curious..."


Update Aug. 24, 1998:   The FAA Inspector General issued a report regarding allegations of discrimination against white males on November 6, 1996.  The report is titled "FAA's Alleged Discrimination Against White Males."   Report No. E5-FA-7-004.

          The Inspector General found, in part, that 82.5 percent of "FAA DOT Fellows" nominees were women and minorities! 

          The DOT "Fellows" program is a special, fast-track employee development program consisting of a year-long leadership development program to transform GS-14 employees into "leaders" and subsequently into GS-15's and/or Senior Executive Service employees.  The GS-15 grade level is the "creme de la creme" of federal employment.  Besides the "Senior Executive Service", GS-15 carries the highest pay scales, benefits and power.   Therefore, to be selected for the DOT "Fellows" program is widely seen as the capstone in the career of the "above average" government employee.

          Conversely, only 17.5 percent of the "FAA DOT Fellows" nominees were non-minority males!

          Incredibly, the tone of the Inspector General's report was inconclusive.  The IG stated:  "Our review did not find sufficient evidence that FAA discriminated against white males in selecting women and minorities for GS-15 positions."


Update Dec. 30, 1998:  The FAA responds to Mr. Currier!  Below is the text of the FAA's letter responding to Mr. Currier's complaint about reverse discrimination:

FAA letter dated May 12, 1998 to Mr. Currier:  Editorial comments appear in [brackets].

Dear Mr. Currier;

          Administrator Garvey has asked us to respond to your story in Adversity.Net on February 21 [1998], concerning employment as an aviation safety inspector (ASI) with the FAA.

          We have been in contact with the Aviation Careers Division in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, concerning your eligibility as an ASI. They have advised us that you were not referred for employment because your specific qualifications did not meet the specialties or the job factors required by the offices that you selected during the time your were eligible [i.e., Mr. Currier was not a minority, and could not fulfill this office's minority hiring goals].

          To identify candidates to fill a vacancy, the selecting official must determine the option and specialty, the types of experience, and selective factors [race or color] needed by the selectee to perform successfully in the position.

          Selective factors may include, for example, specific type ratings, levels and types of aviation management experience, and/or education. The Referral List includes those candidates who meet the above referenced criteria and who:  (1) are entitled to priority consideration, if any [i.e., are they the right color];  (2) have compensable veteran's preference status [which Mr. Currier does possess];  and (3) have the highest scores based on the ranking and rating criteria [FAA neglects to mention the importance of race or color in its ranking and rating criteria].  When a vacancy exists within any of the geographical areas of interest in employment, the candidate's qualifications are considered, along with other candidates in the inventory, against the specific job related criteria [including race] established by the office filling the vacancy.  Such job related criteria includes the type of work (air carrier or general aviation), the grade level, the ASI option (maintenance, avionics, or operations), and selective factors [including race] needed to perform successfully.  Unfortunately, during the period that your notice was active, your qualifications [including your skin color] did not match with the needs of the offices which you selected for your employment.

          We were advised that the eligibility period for your notice of results expired on April 20, 1995. Prior to that expiration date, you should have received additional information concerning reapplying. Every applicant must reapply when his/her eligibility expires. This allows the applicant a chance to update his/her application with current information. If you did not receive this notice and remain interested in employment as an ASI, please contact the Aviation Careers Division on (405) 954-4657. However, you can reapply at anytime by contacting the Aviation Careers Division.

          In filling ASI requirements, the FAA strives to maintain a diverse work force by identifying well qualified candidates from all sources [especially including membership in the correct racial group].  We utilize various appointment sources to make selections; appointment of Vietnam veterans and 30 percent disabled veterans. The FAA is proud of its efforts to increase the representation of females, minority, and disabled employees in the ASI work force. Regardless of the method [i.e., notwithstanding FAA's racial selection criteria -- editor], our managers select from among only well qualified candidates who have met, all of the above requirements for the ASI position.

          If we can be of further assistance, please let us know.

Thomas E. Stuckey
Acting Director, Flight Standards Service


DeWayne Currier Comments on the FAA Letter:  Hmmm, interesting, this letter proudly proclaims that 10 point (30% disabled vets get due consideration). That never happened to me. The gentleman who was director of the Sacramento SFO at the time said my 10 point veterans preference didn't matter - "Washington wanted only minorities". The Sacramento SFO director would have loved to have hired me, but according to him his hands were tied (telephone conversation Dec. 2, 1994). This shoots down the statement in the May 12, 1998 letter saying I did not "meet the specialties or the job the job factors required by the offices that you selected during the time you were eligible." As I wrote in my e-mail earlier this year [to Adversity.Net], I was asked the question, and this is a direct quote, "Are you a minority?"

          I have found my Notice of Results letters, dated 04/20/94, from the FAA regarding my eligibility for Aviation Safety Inspector Air Carrier Maintenance: [my] score 97.5 (out of a possible 100).  For Aviation Safety Inspector General Aviation Maintenance:  [my] score 92 (out of a possible 100).  These [score results] are from the Office of Aviation Careers in Oklahoma City.  Subsequently, I was reissued a notice of results from Oklahoma City on November 14, 1994 and my scores were 93.3 and 98, respectively, for Aviation Safety Inspector General Aviation Maintenance and Aviation Safety Inspector Air Carrier Maintenance.  A score of 80 is the minimum considered for being "eligible" to be hired.

The 1996 DOT/FAA Inspector General's Report concluded, in part:

          "... we did find FAA (as well as DOT) selections for the DOT Fellows Program, although not an Affirmative Action Program, were disproportionately women and minority candidates.  Based on this finding, we recommend the Departmental Office of Civil Rights (DOCR) fully evaluate the DOT Fellows Program to determine whether the program fairly considers all applicants and is operating in accordance with departmental policy."

-- Office of the Inspector General DOT (FAA) 11/8/96

          To answer [Adversity.Net's] question regarding my having any more problems from the FAA.  NO! I've had no problem because I've learned my lesson. There was an SFO manager ready to hire me in 1994, but he couldn't.  [Apparently] the only hiring criteria at the time was "Are you a minority?"  This was asked more than once during a two week period spanning November and December of 1994. Although it would be interesting in the coming year to try again.  Call it an experiment. Well, we'll just have to see what happens.

-- Signed:
-- DeWayne Currier 12/30/98
-- Letter to Adversity.Net


Links:  Be sure to also see the full text of the Inspector General's report at: [Last known link as of 10/21/02]

Also See:  U.S. DOT and the FAA - "FAA Racial Quota Hammer for the Feds" (Adversity.Net special section, this site, Jan. 13, 1999)



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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.