Saturday, December 8, 2007

FCC Boss Under Scrutiny for Management Tactics

"Martin's Management at FCC Under Scrutiny" is the "shocking" headline of a news report by Jeffrey Silva recently. It seems that the House Commerce Committee has launched an investigation into Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin's management of the agency.

"Procedural breakdowns at the agency tasked with overseeing communications laws for our entire nation jeopardize the public interest it is bound to serve," said House Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.). "Our nation is founded on fair, open and transparent government, and the Federal Communications Commission is certainly no exception. When that openness and transparency is compromised, so too is public confidence in the agency."

In a letter to Martin, Dingell asked the FCC chief to commit in writing by Dec. 10 to publish proposed rules in advance of FCC meetings, and to provide sufficient time to review proposed orders and rules. In addition, Dingell wants Martin to agree to provide other commissioners with all data and information on which those proposed orders and rules are based.

The two Democrats on the GOP-led FCC, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, have been particularly critical of Martin's oversight of the agency; however, complaints about Martin's stewardship have not been confined to the two telecom regulators.

"I have received several complaints from the public and professionals within the communications industry about how Chairman Martin is conducting business at the FCC," said Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations. "It is one thing to be an aggressive leader, but many of the allegations indicate possible abuse of power and an attempt to intentionally keep fellow commissioners in the dark. I look forward to investigating these concerns to be sure that the FCC chairman is not disenfranchising his fellow commissioners and the American public he is supposed to serve." was previously reported here, perhaps the GAO auditors should join forces with Dingell's committee and dig a bit deeper; so far, they've only scratched the surface of what many believe may be a much larger management problem within this agency.