BBG employee union calls OIG report 'Hatchet Job'
In one of its previous reports, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) had completely missed abundant evidence of serious mismanagement and tragic lapses of judgement that produced a major media scandal and subsequently led to the resignation of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) president and CEO Steven Korn. Much of that report consisted of copy and paste from Korn’s own statements praising his own actions.
In its latest report, the OIG attacks BBG Governor Victor Ashe who was the first to call attention to the crisis at RFE/RL and exposed host of other examples of mismanagement, low employee morale, waste of taxpayers money on questionable contracts and travel, and serious strategic mistakes in broadcasting to China, Tibet, and Russia.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors employee union, AFGE Local 1812, has condemned the OIG report.
by American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1812
The Office of Inspector General recently released results of an investigation into the Broadcasting Board of Governors (ISP-IB-13-07) that is obvious in its intent. Instead of being objective, it is primarily an assassination of the character of one Board member and one Board member alone – Victor Ashe.
In fact, we have never seen an OIG report that was so brazen in its attempt to besmirch a person’s character. The report spends a great deal of time characterizing Mr. Ashe’s legitimate concerns as a public servant as some sort of intentional attempt to disrupt Board proceedings. The report disregards the dedication of a public servant which includes fighting for transparency, accountability, responsibility to the U.S. taxpayer, addressing the concerns of the rank-and-file employees and attempting to further the ideals of U.S. international broadcasting.
For this dedication to public service, he is reviled, belittled, besmirched and shamelessly attacked by the State Department OIG in what we view as a blatant attempt to shift responsibility from those within the bureaucracy who want, above all, to preserve their status and in our opinion to continue wreaking havoc on a once-great federal agency.
If some of the recommendations in the report are instituted it would squelch all dissenting opinion on the BBG. The majority would be able to sanction any member holding a differing opinion and would allow the majority of the BBG members to remove any member they so choose.
Another recommendation would apparently allow the BBG to keep its proceedings totally secret, sidestepping rules outlined in the Sunshine Act meant to foster transparency in the federal government.
It is depressing that the governmental agency charged with investigating waste, fraud and abuse can be misused in this way.
AFGE Local 1812 requests that a Congressional investigation be conducted to determine who was involved in this misuse of the Office of Inspector General and to prevent this from ever happening again.
In the future, we will address and refute many other issues in this report individually.
It would have been a better and wiser use of taxpayers’ monies to investigate why the BBG continually ranks as the worst managed federal government agency according to the annual OPM Human Capital survey than to invest all the time, and money this report must have cost, in order to viciously attack one member of the BBG board who refuses to go along with a sad status quo.
The Inspector General has lost what little credibility it had as an impartial investigator of wrong-doing. The OIG should be above this but, sadly, it appears that it is not.