BBG Watch Commentary

The American Federation of Government Employees union, AFGE Local 1812, representing federal employees at the mismanaged and dysfunctional Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) rebuked BBG CEO John Lansing’s statements of “good news” on employee morale by pointing out that the $740 million agency is once again:

AFGE Local 1812: “In the Employee Engagement Index–dead last. In the New IQ Index – dead last. Global Satisfaction Index – dead last. Finally, in the Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework – same story – dead last. For those keeping count, that is four for four; a total and complete failure.”

Formed in 1958, Local 1812 of the American Federation of Government Employees serves hundreds of Broadcasting Board of Governors employees. The union’s latest commentary on the senior management’s failure to improve employee morale, The Baby Step Tango,” is posted on the Local 1812 website and on its Facebook page.



The union was commenting on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) releasing more detailed results of the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). Contrary to Mr. Lansing’s earlier assertions of “good news,” the news is worst than ever. While the BBG gained two or three points in some categories, government-wide gains in the 2017 FEVS survey were even bigger, most likely due to better news on federal pay raises, which put the BBG even lower in the overall ranking.

As the AFGE Local 1812 pointed out, the BBG did not keep pace and fell further behind into its permanent “bottom of the barrow” last place.

AFGE Local 1812: “Once again, our Agency has the dubious honor of being the cellar-dweller in the Medium-Sized Federal Agency category. We’re the ‘bottom of the barrel’ kids. We literally can go no lower!”

“For the Broadcasting Board of Governors, there is no significant difference between this year’s and last year’s results,” BBG employee union stated.

Since the next to worst agency in the medium size agency group where the BBG is rated, the Small Business Administration, had improved much more, the gap between the BBG in the last place and the rest of the agencies has widened. The worst performance for the BBG was in the 2017 FEVS “Leaders Lead” category. It applies to the BBG’s top executives, including executives in charge of the BBG’s largest broadcasting entity, the Voice of America (VOA). VOA director is Amanda Bennett. Jeff Trimble and Sandy Sugawara are respectively BBG deputy director and VOA deputy director. Lansing, Bennett and Sugawara are all Obama-era appointees and have been at the agency since 2015 for Lansing and since 2016 for Bennett and Sugawara. Jeff Trimble has held executive positions at the BBG for several years during which the agency remained in the last place in employee morale, as it did in the 2017 FEVS OPM-conducted survey.

READ MORE: The Baby Step Tango, AFGE Local 1812, October 20, 2017.

A few weeks ago, BBG CEO John Lansing said in an email to staff about the preliminary FEVS results:

“While government-wide figures will not be available until October, we were able to analyze and compare this year’s results with BBG’s 2016 scores, and there is good news to report.”

To see how Lansing tried to take credit for small gains in 2017 FEVS results, which were in fact greater at most other federal agencies than at the BBG, read his full email in this earlier BBG Watch post and compare them with the actual OPM data. It shows the BBG falling further behind other agencies near the bottom of the FEVS list.

BBG sank deeper into last place in employee morale under Lansing and Bennett, 2017 OPM FEVS results show, BBG Watch, October 15, 2017.