1. In my prepared paper for the conference on FCC reform, I commented on the lack of transparency on awards for FCC staffers. Obviously this had an impact because the new Sunshine Notice for the 1/15 Commission meeting has the following 2nd item:
TITLE: FY 2008 Senior Executive Service
Performance Rating, Bonus, and Pay Increase Recommendations
SUMMARY: The Commission will consider annual performance awards for career Senior Executive Service personnel
For more than a decade such awards have been handled in near total secrecy although under Chairman Fowler they were awarded in a major ceremony.
2. Today FCC announced “FCC Chairman Martin Creates New International TV White Spaces Fellowship and Training Initiative”. This appears to mean that FCC is beginning to proselytize overseas its achievements on Docket 04-186 in an unprecedented way. It looks like a good idea. But it would be nice if FCC would finish the 2nd Report & Order. While it was released on November 14 – 12 days after its adoption (speedy compared to some other controversial items in recent times), it has not been published yet in the Federal Register. Because of this the rules are not yet effective and the inevitable reconsideration/appeal process has not even begun. Rumor has it that MSTV has met with other broadcast interests to seek consensus on a court appeal in a friendly jurisdiction rather than a reconsideration request at FCC.
2. The Washington Post reported today that OPM has released the 2008 Federal Human Capital Survey – a Bush Administration initiative “to gauge the impressions of our civil servants, and seek out those areas where agencies are doing well, and where improvement is needed.” This year for the first time FCC participated. Surprise — they did not win any top awards although the similarly-sized Nuclear Regulatory Commission did.
The agency data in the report has lots of information on the state of morale at FCC. In some areas it is reasonably comparable to other agencies, even better in a few. For example, there are positives views at FCC on immediate supervisors. But in other areas it shows the FCC's poor morale quite well. For the statement “I have a high level of respect for my organization’s senior leaders.”, 11% strongly agree, 27% agreed, 21% neither agree or disagree, 19% disagree, 21% strongly disagree. By contrast for the overall survey of other agencies the numbers were 16% strongly agree, 36% agreed, 23% neither agree or disagree, 14% disagree, 11% strongly disagree. Thus 40% of FCC employees disagree or strongly disagree with having respect for the agency's senior officials versus only 25% of other federal employees.
I hope the new FCC Chairman reads this report carefully and starts taking corrective action as soon as possible.