In the October 2011 meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the open session was made notable by remarks from Ambassador Victor Ashe, a member of the board.
Ambassador Ashe commented at some length about the recent employee survey. He noted some slight improvements in the survey results and other observations on employee-related subjects (both career staff and contractors).
Ambassador Ashe distinguished himself by his candor and his concerns. Keep in mind that among the current BBG members, he is the only one to make pointed remarks that put employees in the category of an important agency resource. This contrasts sharply with the impression one gets that the prevailing view among senior agency officials is that employees are expendable collateral, an inconvenient and annoying means to an end.
If this read of the situation is correct, it is quite likely that these other officials would be none too pleased to hear someone on the board speaking on behalf of the employees, both career and contractors, particularly on subjects related to employee morale.
As Ambassador Ashe indicated in his remarks, the contractor part of the staff (also known as “POVs,” purchase order vendors) are (a) a disaffected and unhappy group, (b) make up 45 percent of the total agency workforce and (c) are excluded from participation in the survey. Indeed, the situation being otherwise, if the POVs were able to participate in the survey, the results would likely increase negative responses, wiping out the meager improvements noted in the last survey.
For the career employees, please note: that same unhappiness experienced by the POVs may be visited upon your future, since it is a stated goal of the BBG strategic plan to de-Federalize the workforce completely. Well, almost completely. No doubt the senior staff will exclude themselves from that conversion. You can be certain that they will protect their interests and benefits before that of the workforce. One can imagine the joy, the rapture, on the Third Floor of the Cohen Building: no Federal employees – no survey, and perhaps more fertile ground for senior management bonuses.
Lest one think this is being too harsh, keep in mind that the track record of the agency is clear: meager improvements to survey results taking years to accomplish. This record demonstrates that employee morale and a process to substantively address employee concerns is as low a priority as the agency’s ranking in the survey itself
October 17, 2011.