Democratic and Republican Congressmen are concerned with BBG’s practice of replacing federal employees with contractors

Letter to IBB Director Richard Lobo from Rep. G.K. Butterfield and Rep. Walter B. Jones

Letter to IBB Director Richard Lobo from Rep. G.K. Butterfield and Rep. Walter B. Jones

Two U.S. Congressmen from North Carolina, Democrat G.K. Butterfield and Republican Walter B. Jones, have written a letter to Richard Lobo, director of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) — the executive and administrative arm of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) — expressing concerns about the BBG/IBB practice of replacing federal employees with contractors.

”We are troubled by recent reports regarding Edward R. Murrow Transmission Station in Greenville, North Carolina. We have been informed that as personnel at the transmission station retire or leave, their replacements are contract employees and not federal employees. Based upon the latest Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting and the recent hiring of contract workers, we are concerned that the Murrow station may be slated for closure  in the near future.”

Rep.  Butterfield and Rep. Jones asked Director Lobo questions about recent personnel actions and  the numbers of permanent employees and contractors working at the facility.

Thanks to the efforts of Rep. Jones, Rep. Butterfield and BBG member Ambassador Victor Ashe, the station was recently officially renamed as  the Edward R. Murrow Transmission Station. It was its former name which BBG/IBB bureaucrats tried to obscure in preparation for closing the facility.

Read: Bipartisan effort by Victor Ashe and North Carolina congressmen to save BBG transmitting station is part of larger fight for public oversight of U.S. international broadcasting

Rep. Butterflied and Jones wrote that the Edward R. Murrow Transmission Station is important to U.S. foreign policy and also serves U.S. national interests.

Read full PDF text of their letter.

IBB Director Lobo and other BBG/IBB officials made promises that the only remaining civilian shortwave radio broadcasting facility on U.S. territory will not be closed down. They, however, proceeded to replace federal workers at the station with contractors.

The same management team has also been cited in court for illegal firing of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB – Radio and TV Marti) federal employees, illegal hiring of non-citizens over qualified U.S. citizens, and criticized for numerous other unethical personnel practices.

Most recently, most BBG members and IBB executives looked the other way as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty president Steven Korn fired dozens of highly skilled Radio Liberty journalists and new media professionals working in Russia so that his new pick for the Russian Service director could bring on board her friends and associates, many of whom lack multimedia and political journalism experience. These actions brought strong criticism from Russian human rights activists and opposition political leaders, including former President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Director Lobo has retained top BBG/IBB executives who have been consistently rated in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey as being some of the worst managers in the federal government. Their leadership and management skills rating in this year’s survey was even lower than their very poor ratings in previous years.

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