Over the past 10 years, my support and admiration for the vast majority of FAA personnel has simply vanished. When Congress asked the FAA about what was going on in Aviation, it was evident that those individuals in Washington had no idea of what was going on in the industry or in their own field offices. Rather then resolving this problem like a normal business by implementing policy changes on the way they do business and provide oversight and support to the industry. Instead, they reacted in typical bureaucratic fashion and implemented systems from the "Top-Down" rather then from the "Bottom-Up" method. They took three perfectly knowledgeable Inspector Orders, know as Handbooks, (i.e., Order 8300.10 - Airworthiness Inspector's Handbook, Order 8400.10 - Air Transportation Operations inspectors Handbook, and Order 8700.1 - General Aviation Operations Inspector's Handbook) and combined these books into FAA Order 8900.1 - Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS). They implemented ISO-9000 as a method of data collection to determine Risks. The Risk here was not the industry, rather the Risk of answering questions to Congress and not knowing the answers. The problem with these methods from years of government employment is lots of work, no results, poor customer satisfaction, lots of "CYA" and absolutely no work being done. Since the system identifies when someone makes a mistake, the system has scared the FAA Inspectors to the point, no one makes any decisions, therefore no one makes any mistakes.
In other words the reports are the FAA is doing much better, but the operators, (i.e., the Industry) is coming to a standstill. ISO-9000 is nothing more the a risk assignment program for counting widgets. It does nothing for the enhancement of Safety. If the FAA stopped the ISO-9000 implementation right this minute, I would bet there would no change in the number of accidents. In other words, ISO-9000 does nothing for safety and simply stops the process for which Aviation was initiated in the first place, to enhance commerce. If you have a well trained pilot, a good maintenance program with proper FAA Oversight it decreases the risk of Accidents, Incidents or Enforcement Actions. I defy anyone in the FAA to prove this wrong.
Government employees forget that they are here because of tax payers and their clients and their employers are not the Government but the tax payers. The purpose of any government agency is oversight and support and it is difficult to do this when you feel you have no accountability other then to other government employees and can not be fired. Who looses in these cases, the Tax Payers. In other words YOU.