Growing consensus that failed Broadcasting Board of Governors executives should leave

BBG Watch Commentary

“That is why we call yet again on Congress to exercise its overview functions to get to the bottom of what is truly happening in U.S. international broadcasting and intervene to sweep clean the Agency’s discredited executive leadership.

Our Agency needs many more managers of the caliber of Kevin Klose to return the Voice of America, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and other entities to the right path.”American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812, the union representing Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) employees.

AFGE Local 1812:  "since coming out, yet again, near the bottom in the OPM Human Capital survey in 2012, the Agency's executive management has continued to pursue its destructive policies."AFGE Local 1812, the union representing Broadcasting Board of Governors employees, has called for the replacement of “the Agency’s discredited executive leadership,” which is centered largely within the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), but also includes some senior managers at the Voice of America (VOA), the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) and at some of BBG’s grantee surrogate broadcasters.

AFGE Local 1812 does not represent employees working for the grantee broadcasters, but it has welcomed the appointment of Kevin Klose as RFE/RL’s acting president who has been selected by the BBG to restore Radio Liberty’s reputation in Russia.

Members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors are also hearing from more and more outside experts that replacing the IBB’s discredited senior executive team is the only way to save the “defunct” and “dysfunctional” agency — to use Hillary Clinton’s words — from even further decline and to improve abysmal employee morale, which is the lowest among all federal agencies of similar size.

But, as AFGE Local 1812 points out, “since coming out, yet again, near the bottom in the OPM Human Capital survey in 2012, the Agency’s executive management has continued to pursue its destructive policies.”

Failed executives are being protected by IBB Director Richard Lobo. Some who have retired are being immediately rehired as highly-paid consultants. At the same time — despite getting larger and larger budgets each year and cutting more and more programs and programming positions while growing their own bureaucracy — the executive leadership at IBB has not managed to increase BBG’s global audience since 2008.

CONCERNED BUT NOT SURPRISED

by AFGE Local 1812

We at AFGE Local 1812 are concerned, but not surprised, that since coming out, yet again, near the bottom in the OPM Human Capital survey in 2012, the Agency’s executive management has continued to pursue its destructive policies.

We refer to the quasi-destruction of the Russian service at Radio Liberty, followed by an OIG report on the Agency, which was used primarily as a hatchet job on Broadcasting Board of Governors members, and one in particular whose dignity and honesty have been a credit to the BBG.

We refer to the fawning interview of VOA Director David Ensor, arranged with Tom Fox, a vice-president at the Partnership for Public Service, at the same time that the PPS was launching a supposedly unbiased process to identify the reasons for the abysmal morale in the Agency and the best ways to improve it.

We also note the continued attempts by Agency executives to re-hire their former clique members as consultants as soon as they retire, regardless of the interim period of two years that should transpire under government regulations before such re-hiring should take place.
Furthermore, we refer to Agency executives’ continued defiance of the law, through their refusals to comply with legally-binding FLRA decisions. Such as the the decision upholding a federal arbitrator’s decision that the RIFed employees at OCB should be reinstated. Some of those employees are now facing eviction from their homes instead of being back to work as ordered because of the Agency’s feckless legal maneuvers.

In other words, it’s business as usual for the executive staff. The only positive step we noticed was the BBG’s nomination of Kevin Klose, to the position of acting president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) who is entrusted with repairing the catastrophic damage inflicted on Radio Liberty Russian by former head Steven Korn and his clique. Although, we are still waiting to see any significant results from his appointment such as hiring back the journalists who were fired.

That is why we call yet again on Congress to exercise its overview functions to get to the bottom of what is truly happening in U.S. international broadcasting and intervene to sweep clean the Agency’s discredited executive leadership.

Our Agency needs many more managers of the caliber of Kevin Klose to return the Voice of America, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and other entities to the right path.

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