BBG Watch Commentary

Whenever there is any kind of crisis, the management in charge of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) lives up to its reputation of being one of the worst in the federal government with one of the worst employee morale rating on OPM’s annual employee surveys. This time employees of the Voice of America (VOA), the BBG’s main federal media entity, are complaining that senior and mid-level management failed to communicate with them early, frequently and effectively on the impact of the most recent government shutdown.

One VOA broadcaster was quoted as saying that BBG CEO John F. Lansing had sent out a memo in which he promised that managers should have let employees know whether they are furloughed or not. The VOA employee observed that many managers went home and failed to provide useful information to employees in a timely fashion.

“It’s a [expletive] outrage,” the VOA journalist was quoted as saying.

Lansing’s email memo titled “Potential Government Shutdown” itself was issued late. It was released on Friday at 6:13 PM and only said: “We are committed to providing you with updated and timely information on any further developments.” It referred employees to FAQs developed previously during the 2013 shutdown on the agency’s intranet, promising that they will be updated.

Lansing’s earlier memo released Friday at 11:16 AM had no useful information, some BBG employees observed.

Lansing wrote in his earlier Friday memo: “Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for all that you do for the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the American people.”

The BBG Office of Contracts sent out a somewhat more detailed instructions for contractors on Friday at 6:21 PM.

BBG employees had to wait until Sunday night for an email with more information from Lansing’s right-hand man, BBG Deputy Director Jeffrey Trimble. Titled “Sunday Evening Update – Shutdown,” his email was not released to employees until 8:55 PM.

The email had instructions on what functions non-essential employees will be required to conduct before being furloughed.

The memo also included the following information (we removed tel. numbers and e-mail addresses):

We hope that this situation will be resolved quickly, and we will provide additional information as soon as we have it. Please provide your manager with a personal email or phone number so we have a means to contact you, if needed. Individuals currently classified as non-excepted may be called back to duty to perform excepted activity as the furlough evolves. You may also wish to forward this email and other important links to your home email account, as you will not have access to work email while furloughed.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Carroll Cobb, Director of the Office of Human Resources, at […] or at […], or Marie Lennon, Director of Management Services, at […] or at […].

Jeffrey Trimble

Deputy Director

U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors

1 comment
  1. Another abdication of basic management duties. Was awful but totally unsurprising.

    And they wonder why morale is so dismal.

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