Saturday, March 22, 2008

FCC staffer: This place is hell; silent protest planned

Interesting blog post about life at the Federal Communications Commission....


A Federal Communications Commission employee called me on Friday and said that this Tuesday, the third anniversary of Kevin Martin's tenure as Chair of the FCC, at least some staff will arrive at work dressed in black. A "silent but expressive protest" is what they're calling the move. What for? I asked. "Because this place is hell," came the reply.

A super-politicized environment

It appears that a critical mass of FCC grunts are sick of what they experience as a super-politicized work life in which just about anything that they want to do has to get the go-ahead from the top, that being Kevin Martin. "Nothing happens in the Commission without the approval of the Chairman's office," my source told me. "It is incredible. We have become so political."

Do you have any sense of the logic of these directives from the Chair? I asked. "Nope," came the reply. "It seems as random as he got up this morning and ate his breakfast and just decided to do it."

Why are FCC employees upset about this? Not because they disagree with Kevin Martin's perspective on this or that FCC issue, but because, according to my source, he and his top subordinates demand that staff skip proper procedures and leapfrog various rules, even Congressional mandated rules, on a day-to-day level.

"In the past I may or may not have agreed with the outcome, but at least the proper procedures were followed. Now they tell us 'what are the media reform groups going to do: file a class action lawsuit? Just do it.' But ethically I have to sleep at night. It's not the decision, it's how the decision is reached. The situation has become arbitrary and capricious."

So....what else is new? This just points out how more and more obvious it is that some changes are needed in the way top brass at the FCC conduct themselves when attending to spectrum matters and other regulatory business that impacts us all.


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