BBG Watch Commentary

The latest Best Places to Work in the Federal Government snapshot by the Partnership for Public Service found that managers at the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), the Voice of America (VOA) and Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) — three federal entities of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) — are rated by their employees as being some of the worst in the entire federal government.

Some of these findings were reported on Nextgov website in an article titled SIX AGENCIES YOU DON’T WANT TO WORK FOR IF YOU’RE A HIGH PERFORMER by Brittany Ballenstedt.

The Partnership for Public Service reported that the BBG’s Overall Ranking in the Best Places to Work Index Score declined 6.40 between 2011 and 2012.

The agency’s management policies are determined by top executives of the International Broadcasting Bureau who have remained in their positions for years despite getting the same low ratings. They are being kept and protected, however, by current IBB Director Richard Lobo and his deputy Jeff Trimble.

In the past Lobo gave his top executives outstanding performance bonuses of up to $10,000 each. BBG Watch has learned that presidentially appointed members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors put a stop to these bonuses.

Sources also told us that while they would like to put in a new management team at IBB, BBG members are unable to do so. At this time, the BBG board lacks quorum and cannot take formal votes or make any major decisions that depend on IBB staff to carry them out. The agency is in effect run by discredited IBB executives.

In the Partnership for Public Service report for 2012 on Best Places to Work, BBG is the last one on the list of mid-size federal agencies with the lowest score: 46.8. The highest rated mid-size agency, FDIC, has a score of 83.3.

According to the Partnership for Public Service report, the worst agencies to work for in terms of performance recognition and promotions were the Transportation, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security departments, as well as the National Archives and Records Administration, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Among mid-size federal agencies, BBG had the lowest score.

The rankings are based on data from the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). The FEVS was completed by more than 687,000 permanent executive branch employees from April 2 through June 30, 2012.

The Partnership for Public Service report listing BBG can be seen HERE.

IBB Resorts to Bribing Employees

Agency sources reported to BBG Watch that in an attempt to get a better score in future Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys, Lobo gave federal employees two hours of paid administrative leave. IBB executives hope that a larger participation in OPM surveys, especially by IBB managers, can get them better scores.

Such bribery represents a tremendous waste of taxpayers money (about 3,000 employees may be affected) and is highly unethical. U.S. taxpayers are being asked to pay this bribe. It amounts to tens of thousands of dollars simply to make the worst federal managers look good. Or at least that’s what they hope for.

And while taxpayers’ money are being wasted, these International Broadcasting Bureau executives are cutting rates and assignments for permanent contract employees and other contractors who now represent a sizable segment of the workforce. These full-time workers get no employment benefits and many receive substandard pay.

The good news for IBB managers — something they understand and take full advantage of — is that these exploited contract employees cannot participate in the OPM Federal Employee Management Survey. They get no retirement, no vacations and no health care. Many of them have worked full time for IBB/VOA/OCB for many years.

Considering how they treat their contract employees as well as their federal employees, the latest “bribe” announcement by IBB executives is a moral and ethical outrage. But why should we be surprised. According to the Partnership for Public Service, these executives are in charge of one of the six federal agencies you don’t want to work for if you’re a high performer.

Members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the bipartisan board in charge of IBB, should do everything possible to remove these discredited executives. Members of Congress should help them in carrying out management reforms at IBB This latest outrage by IBB executives should be enough to justify getting them out and installing a new management team that can get top scores from employees without resorting to bribery at American taxpayers’ expense.

Partnership for Public Service Best Places to Work for Index, Mid-Size Agencies shows the IBB-run agency as dead last.
Partnership for Public Service Best Places to Work for Index, Mid-Size Agencies shows the IBB-run agency as dead last