|Qualified, Experienced, Disabled Veteran
Not Right Color for the FAA!
Beware! Skin Color is More Important
than Air Safety!
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,
"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
"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
-- 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 governments 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
"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
"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 FAAs 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. Whats 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." Were
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
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
, 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
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
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
-- 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.
-- DeWayne Currier 12/30/98
-- Letter to Adversity.Net
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)