ATC Staffing Shortage ; image: usps worker, fda sign, and an airplane

  • News from around the federal government, including some from the US Postal Service
  • Namandjé Bumpus becomes second in command at the FDA
  • FAA dealing with critical shortage of air traffic controllers (ATCs)

In this week’s wrap-up of news highlights from around the federal government, we’ll go over some news from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the US Postal Service.

USPS News: Postal Rates Going Up

It was recently revealed by the USPS that prices will be increasing for some delivery services. USPS “Ground Advantage,” which currently costs at least $4.75, will increase by 5.4%. Priority mail services, now a minimum of $9.35, depending on where the mail is handed off to USPS, is going to rise by 5.7%. And the USPS “Priority Mail Service Express,” which boasts a base expense of $28.75 at the moment, is set to go up by 5.9%. The new rates go into effect on January 21st.

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Another recent USPS story involves a former employee who was pocketing cash collected from postal customers purchasing stamps and money orders. During 2019 and 2020, Zeon Johnson, who is now 28, operated his scheme at a Massachusetts post office. When someone would give cash for a money order, Johnson would give them a voided draft and then secretly cut himself the real copy. He was sentenced to one day in prison earlier this month, along with 2 years’ probation, and will have to pay back the $18,260.72 that he stole.

New Deputy at the FDA

On November 29th, via the social platform “X” (twitter), FDA commissioner Robert Califf revealed to the public that Namandjé Bumpus will replace the retired Janet Woodcock as second in command at the FDA. Bumpus, who joined the agency last year as chief scientist, will be the first black woman to be the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner. She was integral to the team that revamped the human foods program after it faced scrutiny related to the baby formula shortage in 2022. Bumpus also helped implement the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act.

FAA’s ATC Supply is Low

The number of actively working ATCs is low. And while this has been a recurring theme since the early 1980s when President Reagan fired a bunch of them, it might be approaching a breaking point. Recently published research from the New York Times reviewed complaints made to the FAA and found three prominent topics: staff shortages, mental health concerns, and subpar facilities. Even though air traffic has ascended by 5% over the last decade, the number of ATCs has dropped 10%. This has led to 10-hour workdays and 6-day weeks, leaving these federal employees demoralized, worn out, and mistake-prone. Compounding the problem, ATCs have a mandatory retirement age of 56 limiting who the FAA can hire and retain.  Additionally, the agency cut back on training for air-traffic controllers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Until Next Time,

Benefits Ben, STWS

**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner, ChFEBC℠ The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.

ATC Staffing Shortage ; image: usps worker, fda sign, and an airplane

Federal News: ATC Staffing Shortage, New FDA Deputy, and USPS Rates