BBG Watch Commentary
According to FEDweek website’s Federal Manager’s Daily Report, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reported that federal government agencies “have hit a goal set in a 2010 executive order of hiring 100,000 people with disabilities, hiring 109,575 into part-time or full-time career positions over fiscal 2011-2015, OPM has said.”
But FEDWeek also reported that “At the low end were Broadcasting Board of Governors [BBG], OMB and CFTC, in the 3-4 percent range.” Poor employee morale at the agency due to poor leadership may be to blame for the Broadcasting Board of Governors not hiring people with disabilities and for such employees to avoid the BBG.
This is more bad news for the ailing Broadcasting Board of Governors, which in 2013 then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described as “practically defunct” and in 2016 again scored in the bottom of all federal agencies in the employee job satisfaction rating also reported by OPM. At the same time, the BBG employees’ union accused the agency’s management of not hiring enough U.S. citizens and ignoring U.S. laws and regulations. The agency’s management has also been accused of illegal hiring of contractors. Some of the agency’s contractors have filed a $400 million class action lawsuit against the BBG. They claim that they have been underpaid and face discrimination.
As reported by FEDweek, many other U.S. government agencies do much better in hiring employees with disabilities than the Broadcasting Board of Governors. While the BBG had only 3.4% of such employees in FY 2015, overall they represent 14.4 percent of the federal government’s workforce. Some agencies, such as EEOC, have reached “25.3 percent; VA, 19.5 percent; various Defense components, in the 17-18 percent range; and Labor, 15.2 percent,” FEDweek reported.
In July 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13548 Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, to mark the historic 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EO provides that as the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government must become a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities.
Under its current and previous oversight boards, the Broadcasting Board of Governors failed to reach the goals set by President Obama in EO 13548.
READ MORE: Agencies Hit Goal for Hiring of Disabled, FEDweek, Federal Manager’s Daily Report, November 1, 2016.
ALSO SEE: Report on the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Federal Executive Branch
Fiscal Year 2015, Office of Personnel Management, October 2016
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a $777 million agency in charge of the Voice of America (VOA) and other U.S. government-funded overseas media outreach, some federal and some non-federal, has also scored at the bottom of the list in the OPM’s 2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).
Under new leadership of BBG CEO John Lansing since September 2015, BBG’s 2016 FEVS scores were lower than in 2015 in such categories as employees’ assessment of senior leaders and employee engagement. OPM’s latest results for hiring disabled employees are for FY 2015 and they do not cover Lansing’s tenure at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, but BBG’s 2016 FEVS results do cover about eight months of his leadership at the agency.
Only BBG’s federal employees participate in the OPM’s FEVS surveys. Employees of BBG’s non-federal entities, at least some of which are believed to be better managed than the core federal agency, are not surveyed by OPM about their job satisfaction and views of senior management.
ALSO SEE: Washington Post: ‘BBG is going backward’ in employee engagement under new CEO, BBG Watch, BBG Watch, September 21, 2016.
“The Broadcasting Board of Governors, another regular bottom-feeder that oversees the Voice of America and other government broadcasters, also scored 56 [in EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Category]. But unlike DHS, BBG is going backward. It scored two points better last year [in Engagement Index Trends]”
READ MORE: Homeland Security finally shows employee morale improvement, though still rates low, Joe Davidson | Columnist, The Washington Post, September 20, 2016.
American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812, a union which represents BBG’s federal employees, posted articles commenting on poor employee morale and mismanagement at the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The union has accused the agency’s management of ignoring the provision of the Smith-Mundt Act that gives priority to employing qualified United States citizens for jobs and promotions over non-U.S. citizens.
SEE: DOES THE BBG ENJOY FLOUTING THE LAW?, AFGE Local 1812
BBG CEO and Director John Lansing explained to the agency’s federal employees their 2016 FEVS answers, saying that “BBG continues to make improvements,” to which one VOA journalist responded: “You must be kidding, Mr. CEO!”
For BBG CEO John Lansing’s perspective on BBG’s 2016 FEVS results SEE: CEO Lansing explains for BBG employees their FEVS answers, BBG Watch, October 7, 2016.