USAGM Watch Commentary

USAGM Watch has received a copy of “USAGM & Transition Work Plans and Request,” which was reportedly sent to the senior management of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) by the Biden USAGM transition team headed by Richard Stengel, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs during the Obama administration. The document has a reference to the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). IBB was divided and abolished several years ago.

USAGM & Transition Team Work Plan and Requests

Biden-Harris Transition Team Mission

The Biden-Harris Transition Team looks forward to working collaboratively with USAGM staff to ensure a smooth transition. In this effort, we hope to reflect the values of our transition effort by promoting transparency and innovation, ensuring our government reflects the diversity of our nation, while of course trying to deal with overcome the pandemic. We hope to have the opportunity to engage with staff and ensure all employees have the opportunity to share their input with Transition and incoming leadership.

Key Contacts & Coordination for the Biden-Harris Transition Team
NamePoint of Contact for:Email
Rick Stengel(Primary) Transition Team LeadNOT REPOSTED
Rumana Ahmed (Primary) Coordination for work plan, meetings, documents, requestsNOT REPOSTED
Brian Conniff(Primary) HR, Budget, Security, Contracts NOT REPOSTED
Dana SmithPolicy, Governance, Strategy, Infrastructure—–
Bruce ShermanResearch, Development, Policy—–
Raina KumraTechnology Strategy Delivery—–
Margaret TaylorLegal, Legislative, Procurements—–

*Note: Our team is still awaiting to receive official .gov emails. At this stage, communications with Rumana and Brian may continue using the emails above. Any documents should be sent to Rick Stengel (NOT REPOSTED). Rumana will remain in touch on any questions or updates here.

Work Plan, Next Steps & Timeline Proposal

Week of November 30th 

Agency transition team helps coordinate and schedule requested interviews and briefings for first two weeks, with Rumana as point person.  

Virtual meeting between Michael Pack and Rick Stengel

Virtual meeting between Rick, Rumana, Brian and agency transition counterparts. 

Agency Management issues a statement to all employees: 1) announcing the beginning of the transition review, 2) identifying the team members, 3) outlining the review plan (objectives, timeline), and 4) identifying how employees can submit input to the Transition Team. Our Transition team would like to provide all employees the opportunity to provide input directly into the transition.

Agency Management asks IBB and heads of entities to prepare a 3-5 page overview memos that include:

  1. Mission, Current Operations, Structure (ongoing restructuring efforts)
  2. Management, Personnel and Budget information that need to be addressed on Day One, and in the near-term of 3-6 months
  3. Policy, Legislative, Regulatory Priorities
  4. Outstanding Procurements
  5. Pending Contracts
  6. Equal Employment Opportunity profile
  7. COVID-19  prevention steps  
  8. Existing routine management, meetings, policies and requirements
  9. Technology Capability & IT Security issues
  10. Supplemental Materials: Org Chart, Entity Budget sheets, etc.
  11. Identify any issue or topic requiring special attention by the transition team

Agency Management shares any requested documents that are already available. 

Week of December 7th +   

Transition/Agency meetings continue

Agency Management prepares remaining requested documents. Transition will remain in close communication on additional information that may be necessary.

IBB and Entity Memos are shared

Requested Meetings & Briefings

We would like to request the following initial engagements. Please let us know of the relevant points of contact. We would appreciate your recommendations of other key AGM staff we should meet with as well. We look forward to coordinating the following interviews with you, starting with USAGM, and meeting the team.

USAGM 

Michael Pack, CEO 

Budget

Current (Acting) CFO

Grant Turner, CFO

Thom Layou, Budget Director

Human Resources, Security

Chris Luer, Acting Director 

Current Director, Management Services

Marie Lennon, Director, Management Services 

Dan Rosenholtz, Senior Manager

Current Director, Human Resources 

Fairment Rios, Director, Contracts

Current Chief Security Officer

Legal 

Current (Acting) General Counsel

David Kligerman, General Counsel

Technology, Services, Innovation (TSI)

Current USAGM CIO/CTO

Terry Balaz, Director, TSI

Development

Joan Mower, Director, Training & Development

Paul Marszalek, Lead, Projects & Strategy 

Performance Management

Theresa Beatty, Strategic Management

Policy and Research

Kate Neeper, Deputy Director, Strategy

Current USAGM Research Director 

Shawn Powers, Senior Advisor, Global Strategy

VOA

Elez Biberaj, Acting VOA Director

Matthew Baise, Director, Digital Strategy 

Kelu Chao, Programming Director

Leah Ermarth, Research Director

Steve Herman, White House Bureau Chief

Karen Larson, Managing Director

Steve Springer, Standards Editor

MBN

Kelley Sullivan, Acting President

RFE/RL

Daisy Sindelar, Acting President

RFA

Parameswaran Ponnudurai, Acting President

OCB

Jeffrey Shapiro, Acting Director

Initial Briefing Requests:

  • USAGM 2020 Performance and Accountability Report 
  • USAGM and entity CIOs on technology and innovation statuses and initiatives 
  • VOA Regional Directors
Request for Official Data and Documents 

Below are a few initial documents and pieces of information we would like to request from your team, understanding that more requests may arise as we begin working together. We welcome any additional readily available material you are able to share to help ensure a smooth transition. 

Human Resources

  • Current Organizational Charts for USAGM and Entities
  • Agency Succession Plan
  • USAGM Staffing Pattern – Authorized v Filled Positions
  • List of Authorized SES Slots
  • List of “First Assistant” Positions
  • List of any SES slots in Processing (QRB)
  • List of any Political Appointees on board at this time
  • List of Outstanding Personnel Actions (job offers in process, etc)
  • List of Positions Requiring Security Clearances (what levels of clearance), having access to classified information
  • USAGM Response to OPM Report on Suitability and Security Clearances
  • Number of Authorized/Available Schedule C slots
  • Number of Non-Career SES slots
  • Number of Non-Career SES Temporary slots (term) 
  • Number and List of Political Conversion positions during last 4 years

Agency Equal Employment Opportunity Profile

  • Last date of diversity training
  • Latest employee satisfaction survey results (federal viewpoint survey)
  • List of any ongoing IG, OSC, or GAO audits/investigations and copies of reports from the last 5 years

COVID Prevention

  • USAGM COVID Prevention & Response Plan
  • COVID Policy & Requirements
  • Agency Telework Policy
  • List of “Site” Critical  Positions

Budget

  • Budget Requests and Enacted for the last three years
  • Copy of FY 2021 Submission to OMB
  • FY 2021 Senate and House marks are @$170 million below request. Contingency plan (furloughs, elimination of language service)  if budget cut sustained?

Pending Contracts & Outstanding Procurement Actions

Link: https://bbgwatch.com/bbgwatch/usagm-transition-team-work-plan-and-requests-exclusive/

Link: https://bbgwatch.com/bbgwatch/usagm-transition-team-work-plan-and-requests-exclusive/