VOA Director David Ensor
VOA Director David Ensor

Voice of America Director David Ensor does not rule out staff reductions in Central News or English Division, although if they did occur they would not be as severe as originally planned, the AFGE Local 1812 Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) employee union reported.

Dateline: Washington, D.C. 07/20/12.

Although the employee meeting yesterday in VOA Central News started out favorably with the usual praise about how well the unit was performing, VOA Director David Ensor quickly made it clear that the Agency was still planning on making cuts that could result in staff reductions in the VOA Central News and the English Divisions. Mr. Ensor said that even though both the House and Senate marks for BBG funding for FY2013 were above the requested funding level, enacting even the House level would not be enough to avoid cuts because costs go up every year. The House level for BBG is 747 million while the Senate level is 733 million. The House level is the same as the current fiscal year’s level (FY2012). Also in attendance were VOA Chief of Staff Barbara Brady and BBG CFO Maryjean Buhler.

Ms. Buhler gave a quick overview of the budget process in which she stressed that the proposal sent to Congress was the “President’s”. As she described it, the process starts with an initial proposal from the Agency to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). After several rounds of discussions, it is finalized and submitted by the White House to Congress. She declined to say whether in the Agency’s FY2014 initial proposal to OMB the requested funding level for the Agency was less or more than the final funding level for FY2012. She cited OMB restrictions on information regarding the FY2014 budget information.

When asked if upper management had gotten the message from Congress that the cuts to Central News and English should not take place, Ms. Brady responded that the message was heard loud and clear. However, in answering a follow-up question regarding future budget requests, Mr. Ensor stressed that, if necessary, the Central News and English Divisions would not be spared.

VOA Director Ensor stressed that even if the Agency received funding at the House level for FY2013 that amount would not prevent cuts but that the Agency would attempt to make the necessary reductions utilizing vacancies and the general operating funds. Again, he did not rule out staff reductions either in Central News or English although if they did occur they would not be as severe as originally planned.

Originally Posted by AFGE Local 1812: Friday, Jul 20, 2012