BBG Watch Commentary

We are reposting a commentary which has been posted on the AFGE Local 1812 website.

AFGE Local 1812


by American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1812

We at AFGE Local 1812 have noticed that a number of apologists or just one using different pseudonyms have taken to the blogosphere to try and discredit those speaking out about the dysfunction of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the International Broadcasting Bureau. Using many different names — Penny, Mongoose, Sally, VOA Supporter, etc. — all have one thing in common: defending the status quo under what OPM surveys have revealed as being the worst management in the federal government.

The latest retort was by someone calling herself “Sally” who denied the existence of a plan to de-federalize the VOA and OCB with a line of defense which followed the logic “it all depends on what is – is” saying, in essence, that there is no plan because there is no final plan on how it will be executed. In this regard, the union contends that there is no way to deny the various plans that do contain the support and outlines for de-federalization. Those were documented in the union article ‘Plan? What Plan”. We have the BBG’s own Strategic PLAN (when is a plan not a plan?), the SW, MW, and Realignment Strategy (which the Agency denied even existed in numerous union/management discussions and finally released under a FOIA request with the pages containing the de-federalization recommendations redacted). And there are others, including the Deloitte report (page 29, Section 9: Observations on De-federalization of VOA/OCB.) No, the final plan, or shall we call it the final solution for dismantling VOA, is not yet finished. De-federalization or privatization is one of the options that the Congress is working on right now based in part on recommendations of the BBG/IBB Executive Staff.

Then there was the apologist calling himself/herself “Mongoose” who incoherently attacked the union tribute to Governor Victor Ashe. In the process of taking exception to our article, Mr/Ms/Mrs Mongoose confirmed that Governor Ashe was indeed the main target of the recent State Department Inspector General’s Report on the BBG and that the union was correct in calling it a ‘hatchet job’. Although Governor Ashe was not named in that report, the Mongoose comment speaks volumes as to the actual intent of the IG report and the targeting of Governor Ashe. According to Mongoose, “The Inspector General’s report was initiated because former Governor Ashe was a constant barrier to progress in BBG public meetings and worked against decisions made by the Board, including some he voted for.”

AFGE Local 1812 wonders who these commentators/apologists might be? Are they government employees? Are they performing these duties while on government time? What grade level may they be: GS-13, 14, 15 or even SES? Or could they be contractors monitoring the blogs and responding to postings that may be critical of the BBG/IBB Senior Executive Staff? And how would those contracting duties be justified in the POV contract? Defense duties? Clarification of union comments? Hopefully none of them (if there are in fact more than one) have anything to do with Workplace Engagement or Employee Morale issues.

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