BBG Watch Commentary

BBG Watch has learned that the Voice of America (VOA) under its current director Amanda Bennett, deputy Sandy Sugawara and Yolanda Lopez, director of VOA’s News Center, has announced key assignments for a new “powerful TV operation” that serves both the VOA language services and VOA English-speaking global audience.

Among those getting a new important assignment in the latest reorganization, which one VOA Newsroom reporter described as jobs being given away to a “trusted” group, is believed to be a manager whom a number of women working at the Voice of America had accused in the past of having anger issues. These managers protect each other, another employee said.

If VOA director Bennett, deputy director Sugawara, VOA News Center director Lopez and their boss, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing do not know about these problems, they should.

This is bound to be a morale buster in an agency where employees have already rated their senior leaders at record low levels for leadership and employee engagement in the 2016 Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).

BBG employees may very well again express their displeasure in the 2017 OPM confidential employee survey.

A Washington Post columnist described the Broadcasting Board of Governors a “regular bottom feeder … going backward” on employee morale, senior leadership and employee engagement.

BBG and VOA senior managers, whom both Bennett and BBG CEO John F. Lansing , refer to as “fabulous” and “excellent” maintain together with their top bosses that the Broadcasting Board of Governors is well-managed and making great progress.

Yolanda Lopez described the new VOA TV group as a “dynamic team,” and wrote in an e-mail to staff: “We are happy with this great group of professionals. TV continues to be one of the pillars of VOA and we hope that this new structure will help us provide the best TV content to our language service audiences.”


  1. Yet another in a long, long list of “rehabilitated” managers. Worst part is, in almost all cases, managers were originally removed for totally messing up, i.e. anger issues. Then, after some time in “Siberia,” where they continue to draw their six-figure salary, they are eventually recalled to manage again, and guess what? They fail again — miserably.

    The negative impact this has on the morale of the rank-and-file can not be overstated.

  2. Amanda Bennett does not seem to understand international broadcasting. Neither does the army of her advisors which keeps growing in numbers. As for the Newsroom, we are going to end up having two supervisors for each employee. It’s a disaster. They are all trying to find refuge before the new CEO and VOA director are appointed. I do not know whether a clean-up like the one at DOS (7th floor) could be applied on the Cohen Bldg 3rd floor.

  3. I have watched this place for years make the same mistake over
    and over and over again. We don’t forget — bad managers have
    been recycled at VOA again and again.

    And we also see people who retired, but then are brought right back into
    the agency — at least two or three examples of this over the past year.
    This is what happens in an agency that remains far off the radar
    of the mainstream media, and also of Congress.

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