One of the worst-managed federal agencies, BBG, has become even worse

BBG Watch Commentary

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has received even lower scores in the 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, conducted by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), than it did in previous years, when it already found itself at the very bottom.

One of the worst-managed federal agencies has become even worse. One might even say it is imploding, with new scandals and crises erupting almost every week.

The latest example is the brutal and illegal firing of dozens of highly-qualified journalists at the Radio Liberty Moscow bureau and replacing them with friends and former associates of the new Russian Service director. Actions of RFE/RL executives Steven Korn and Julia Ragona, being described as causing a meltdown at Radio Liberty, have been condemned by nearly all major Rusian democratic politicians and human rights leaders, as well as highly respected sociologists who study media trends in Russia.

Here at home, the news is equally bad. The BBG had a lower participation rate in the OPM’s 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (53% or 829 of 1,565 eligible employees, down from 1,089 out of 1,626 eligible employees in 2011, or a 67% return rate) and low satisfaction in categories of leadership and talent management (training & recruitment for necessary skills).

The only area in which BBG saw significant improvements were on three questions relating to work/life programs, specifically elder care programs, child care programs, and employee assistance programs.

BBG employees, however, showed their complete dissatisfaction with the management the agency and the leadership of its top executives. Keep in mind, however, that the International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard Lobo claims that the employees were confused by the word “leadership” and were not being critical of him, his top assistants and the Board but of lower-level supervisors. You can now laugh.

 

  • BBG scores dropped between one and three percent on the four OPM indices:
    • The Leadership & Knowledge Management index indicates the extent to which employees hold their leadership in high regard, both overall and on specific facets of leadership. (FY 11 score:  49%/FY 12 score:  48%)
    • The Results-Oriented Performance Culture index indicates the extent to which employees believe their organizational culture promotes improvement in processes, products and services and organizational outcomes. (FY 11 score:  48%/FY 12 score:  46%)
    • The Talent Management index indicates the extent to which employees think the organization has the talent necessary to achieve organizational goals. (FY 11 score:  50%/FY 12 score:  48%)
    • The Job Satisfaction index indicates the extent to which employees are satisfied with their jobs and various aspects thereof. (FY 11 score:  64%/FY 12 score:  61%)
  • BBG scores declined significantly (by 5 or more points) on the following questions.
    • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization (FY 11: 52%/FY 12: 44%)
    • I have enough information to do my job well. (FY 11: 66%/FY 12: 60%)
    • The workforce has the job-relevant knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish organizational goals. (FY 11: 59%/FY 12: 53%)
    • My workload is reasonable.  (FY 11: 63%/FY 12: 57%)
    • How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work? (FY 11: 46%/FY 12: 40%)
    • I am held accountable for achieving results. (FY 11: 77%/FY 12: 72%)
    • Employees have a feeling of personal empowerment with respect to work processes. (FY 11: 38%/FY 12: 33%)
    • My agency is successful at accomplishing its mission. (FY 11: 60%/FY 12: 55%)

The International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) director Richard Lobo blamed the continuing decline in employees’ confidence in his leadership and in the management skills of his top executives on the employees themselves. According to sources quoting the IBB director, Richard Lobo said the word “leadership” has proven to be problematic since the workforce does not have a uniform understanding of this term.

According to sources, Richard Lobo also said that it is reasonable to observe that a contributing factor for declined scores is that the survey was administered in April, closely following the announcement of a FY 2013 budget that threatened to eliminate nearly 200 positions. Director Lobo failed to point out that it was he and his top executives who have developed these mass layoff plans for the board to save their own jobs and their bonuses, which the IBB director had approved. These top BBG/IBB executives are directly responsible for every crisis and embarrassment in recent years, including the latest meltdown at RFE/RL.

PDF File of some of OPM’s 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results for BBG.

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