BBG Watch Commentary

anonymous surferOne of BBG Watch contributors, Jane Doe, who because of her sensitive position within the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) – the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) bureaucracy prefers to remain anonymous, has prepared for us and for the BBG Board a series of analyses of the IBB – BBG debacles. We start today with:

“You’re not the Boss of me!” BBG staff to Federal Courts, Federal Arbitrators, OPM, OMB and Congress!!! (oh wait,… you ARE the boss of me – my bad)

Is it me or is almost everything coming from the International Broadcasting Bureau – Broadcasting Board of Governors IBB/BBG management team reinforcing the desperate need for reform?

Allow me to elaborate:

Legal debacle one: OCB class action lawsuit which was confidently defended by GC Paul Kollmer-Dorsey may finally be settled after humiliating defeat after defeat and years of lost back-wages and suffering by the class. Ironically it was the much under-appreciated and maligned Governor Ashe who consistently raised concerns about the impact of this lawsuit on the future of USIB. It was Governor Ashe who repeatedly urged the BBG to settle the case rather than dragging it on and on.

Legal debacle two: Thanks to the OIG the vast numbers of employees who have been illegally denied proper employee benefits and protections for decades are finally seeing legal redress. This was presented to the current part-time board as a surprise. The only surprise is how long VOA and IBB leadership were able to get away with this travesty despite a multitude of complaints and questions ignored or poo-poo’d by the IBB’s crack legal team. Upper management in the past few years have been heard to say, “it may be a problem, but we can’t afford to fix it”. Surprise! Labor laws are not optional. Now you are compelled to “fix it” – but at whose cost? Again it was Governor Ashe who spoke up for the contractors who were unable even to receive their compensation when due and denied flu vaccinations.

Legal debacle three: Visa abuse arbitration rulings are also not optional. The appellate court not only slammed the IBB legal position but eviscerated the agency for its complete and defiant refusal to carry out a legal ruling. Yes, we know it’s embarrassing to admit that you deliberately hired from outside the US — but didn’t you kind of know that from the clear language of the visa laws? One may ponder whether the determined hiring of non-US citizens has any influence on the digression of VOA programming from focusing on US policies and principles…

But wait, there’s more —

Jane Doe’s IBB – BBG Debacles will continue until the Broadcasting Board of Governors Board meeting on June 20, in Miami, Florida. Please keep checking our BBG Watch website for updates.

READING MATERIAL (Optional, But Highly Recommended)

READ MORE: Waste and Abuse of Power at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, According to Audit, By Reid Standish, Foreign Policy Blog, June 17, 2014.

International Labor Rights Forum Charges Discrimination at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, BBG Watch, June 16, 2014.

READ: Federal Labor Relations Authority Judge slams BBG for law violations, BBG Watch, June 4, 2014.

READ: Federal court issues another rebuke to IBB officials accused of mistreating journalists, BBG Watch, May 19.

READ: Voice of America wasted estimated millions on improper contract payments, Radio Free Asia gets clean bill of health, BBG Watch, May 3, 2014.

READ: Protests from Helsinki Committee, bad publicity continue for RFE/RL over treatment of foreign journalist staff, BBG Watch, April 3, 2014.