BBG Watch Commentary
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will hold its continuing board meeting today in Washington, DC and 4PM EDT. It is not known whether BBG’s interim presiding governor Michael Lynton will participate. He has missed every BBG board meeting since January 2013. The remaining BBG governors have been recessing their meetings to persuade him to attend. Today’s meeting will be the continuation of the previous one, which did not have a quorum.
The board does not have a quorum without Michael Lynton’s participation, which in effect prevents BBG to fulfill its Congressional mandate and puts the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives in charge of the agency without proper oversight. They have been rated in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) employee viewpoint surveys as being the worst managers in the federal government and responsible for the worst employee morale among federal agencies.
Even though today’s meeting is not likely to be a formal board meeting due to the lack of quorum, it will be streamed live online, according to an announcement on the BBG website. At this time there is still no video link on the website.
At least two BBG members, Ambassador Victor Ashe and Michael Meehan, are expected to be present. BBG Watch has learned that Ann Noonan, the Executive Director for the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) has registered to participate and to make public comments. There may be other public comments as well. One of the emerging issues being now discussed publicly is whether individuals whose companies are doing business in countries like Russia and China should serve on the BBG board.
Thanks to efforts by BBG Governors Ashe, McCue and Meehan, with support from Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is being reformed by its new acting president Kevin Klose. Some of Radio Liberty’s Russian journalists, who were fired last year, are being rehired.
But the White House, possibly at the instigation of top agency officials who have done political fundraising for President Obama, wants to replace Governor Ashe. He has made himself unpopular with the bureaucracy for exposing mismanagement and demanding transparency and accountability. He is the only BBG governor with a perfect attendance record at board meetings. Some of these issues may be discussed at today’s BBG meeting.
BBG Press Release
WASHINGTON DC – The Broadcasting Board of Governors will meet at 4 p.m. on May 15, 2013, at BBG headquarters in Washington. This meeting will be the second continuation of the recessed meeting on April 11, 2013.The Board will receive and consider a progress report from the Strategy and Budget Committee on the 2013 language service review and the agency’s strategic plan. The Board will also hear from the Governance Committee regarding progress made on compliance with recommendations in the Office of Inspector General’s recent inspection report of the BBG Board, as well as a BBG Board staffing plan.
Registration for public attendance is now closed. The meeting will be available for public observation via streamed webcast, both live and on-demand, below.