BBG workers don’t buy ‘good news’ on morale from CEO Lansing

BBG Watch Commentary

Award-winning journalist Sandy Sugawara, who played a leading role in transforming The Washington Post’s newsroom to a data-driven, digital operation, was sworn in as Deputy Director of the Voice of America on Monday, May 2, 2016, joining the leadership team of Amanda Bennett, who was sworn in as VOA’s new Director on April 18, 2016. John Lansing (not shown) was named BBG CEO in August 2015. BBG Deputy Director Jeff Trimble (not shown) joined the BBG in 2007. BBG Photo.

Rank and file federal employees of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) don’t seem to be buying the “good news” message on employee morale from BBG CEO John Lansing sent out a few weeks ago. An email circulating today among BBG’s rank and file employees described the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results for 2017 for the Broadcasting Board of Governors as “disastrous.”

“From what has been released the results for the BBG are disastrous.”

And:

There were two agencies that had the dubious distinction of running the board (finishing last in all four indexes in their categories – the Department of Homeland Security and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The 2017 FEVS results from the OPM show that the BBG has sunk deeper into the last place on employee morale among medium size federal agencies in all the categories measured by survey. While there was a government-wide gain in FEVS results in 2017, small gains at the BBG, which John Lansing tried to present as “good news,” were actually smaller than gains made by other agencies competing with the BBG for the dubious distinction of being the very bottom of the list. The BBG was pushed further down in the government-wide ranking.

The BBG is mismanaged and its federal employees are desperate to see a change of leadership. The Voice of America (VOA), the BBG’s largest employer of federal workers, have been racked by scandal after scandal under the leadership of John Lansing, his deputy Jeff Trimble, VOA director Amanda Bennett and her deputy Sandy Sugawara.

The BBG has been from its beginning a mismanaged and dysfunctional agency, but scandals, especially programming scandals at VOA, have gotten worse under the Lansing-Bennett management team, which also includes many of the longtime managers.

The latest scandal, having a powerful negative impact on employee morale and VOA’s credibility in China, has been the senior management’s decision to place on forced leave five VOA Mandarin Service journalists. They were among many VOA federal employees who had opposed the senior management’s decision to shorten a live interview with Chinese whistleblower Guo Wengui.

Members of Congress have asked for an independent investigation by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

A few weeks ago, John Lansing said in an email to staff about the preliminary FEVS results:

“While government-wide figures will not be available until October, we were able to analyze and compare this year’s results with BBG’s 2016 scores, and there is good news to report.”

This is what an internal email circulating among BBG’s rank and file employees said about the more complete OPM 2017 FEVS results on employee morale at the agency:

 

EMAIL CIRCULATING AMONG BBG’s RANK AND FILE EMPLOYEES

 
Here are some takeaways from a quick glance at the results of the 2017 Employee Viewpoint Survey. There is data that has not been released yet. For example there does not seem to be a breakdown per Agency of the responses for each question.
 
From what has been released the results for the BBG are disastrous. The survey has five categories of agencies: Very Large, Large, Medium, Small, and Very Small. The BBG is included in the Medium category.
 
There are four Indexes: Overall New IQ Index, Employee Engagement, Leadership and Knowledge Management Index, and Global Satisfaction Index.
 
Look at these takeaways:
 
New Inclusion Quotient
The Government-wide Average was 60. The Government-wide average for medium-sized agencies was 65. BBG scored 51. Lowest in their category.
 
Employee Engagement Index
The Government-wide average was 74. The Government-wide average for medium-sized agencies was 79. BBG scored 66. Lowest in their category.
 
Leadership and Knowledge Management Index
The Government-wide average was 62. The Government Average for medium-sized agencies was 66. BBG scored 50. Lowest in their category.
 
Global Satisfaction Index Trends
The government-wide average was 64. The Government average for medium-sized agencies was 69. BBG scored 55 Lowest in their category.
 
Here’s a look at the bottom dwellers in each of the four indexes for each of the five categories (Very Large Agencies, Large Agencies, Medium Agencies, Small Agencies, & Very Small Agencies)
 
New Inclusion Quotient
Very Large Agencies – Department of Homeland Security
Large Agencies – Social Security Administration
Medium Agencies – Broadcasting Board of Governors
Small Agencies – Tie: Federal Election Commission and Selective Service System
Very Small Agencies – African Development Foundation
 
Employee Engagement Index
Very Large Agencies – Department of Homeland Security
Large Agencies – Social Security Administration
Medium Agencies – Broadcasting Board of Governors
Small Agencies – Export-Import Bank of the United States
Very Small Agencies – U.S. Access Board
 
Leadership and Knowledge Management Index
Very Large Agencies – Department of Homeland Security
Large Agencies – Department of the Interior
Medium Agencies – Broadcasting Board of Governors
Small Agencies – Federal Election Commission
Very Small Agencies – Tie: African Development Foundation and Commission on Civil Rights
 
Global Satisfaction Index Trends
Very Large Agencies – Department of Homeland Security
Large Agencies – Department of the Interior
Medium Agencies – Broadcasting Board of Governors
Small Agencies – Federal Election Commission
Very Small Agencies – African Development Foundation
 
There were two agencies that had the dubious distinction of running the board (finishing last in all four indexes in their categories – the Department of Homeland Security and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
 

END OF EMAIL CIRCULATING AMONG BBG’s RANK AND FILE EMPLOYEES

 

 
The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) detailed results for 2017, which were released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM, show that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and its main broadcasting element, the Voice of America (VOA) under BBG CEO John F. Lansing and VOA director Amanda Bennett, both of them Obama-era holdover executives, have sunk deeper into the last place in the staff morale category of employee engagement compared to the next lowest-rated medium size federal entity.
 
 

 

 

READ MORE: BBG sank deeper into last place in employee morale under Lansing and Bennett, 2017 OPM FEVS results show, BBG Watch, October 16, 2017

 
 
 

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