Employee morale at Broadcasting Board of Governors declined under new leadership

BBG Watch

According to the Partnership for Public Service, which uses data from the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) described in 2013 by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex officio BBG member as “practically defunct” in its ability to deliver news from the United States to audiences abroad and to tell America’s story, has registered in 2014 yet another decline in overall employee satisfaction, strategic management and leadership under its new bipartisan BBG board currently chaired by Jeff Shell and former three-person interim management team lead by former interim CEO Andre Mendes.

Note: this latest PPS report is based on the OPM survey conducted in 2014, not 2015. The full latest 2015 OPM have not yet been published.

During the period under review by the OPM and the Partnership for Public Service, the Voice of America (VOA), the BBG’s flagship federal international media outlet, was led by VOA director David Ensor and his chief deputy Steve Redisch. David Ensor left the agency earlier this year and Steve Redisch moved to another position within VOA.

“The biggest decline for a mid-size agency occurred at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which dropped 5.3 points to a score of 45.3 and a rank of 24th out of 25 agencies,” the Partnership for Public Service reported.

Only the federal part of the BBG is surveyed by the OPM and ranked by the Partnership for Public Services. Non-federal BBG media entities, such as Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Radio Free Asia (RFA), are not surveyed and are believed to be better managed.

A few days ago new BBG CEO John Lansing has taken over as permanent CEO and BBG director. He is believed to be the choice of BBG chairman Jeff Shell after former CEO Andy Lack, also believed to be Shell’s choice, had left after only a few weeks on the job to lead NBC News, his former employer.

The Partnership for Public Service has ranked the BBG as 24 among 25 mid-sized federal government agencies in its Best Places to Work list.

Some employees said that the interim management team lead by Andre Mendes was a slight improvement over the previous BBG management within the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). BBG’s Republican member Matt Armstrong described bipartisan criticism in Congress of the BBG’s management practices as “overly harsh,” but the latest Partnership for Public Service ranking seems to confirm what the critics have been saying for years that the agency is defunct and dysfunctional.

Ranking of “Effective Leadership: Senior Leaders for the BBG dropped the most in 2014 (-4.00) and places the agency last in this category. Strategic management dropped -3.60 in 2014.

Agency managers expect improvements in FEVS scores in the 2015 survey, but those results have not yet been published.

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