Friday, January 27, 2017

Survey: FCC Rated Not The Best Place To Work

The latest Best Places to Work in Government® reports on the quality of life for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) employees and suggests that new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai can make an improvement.

According to Forbes, the 2016 report, produced by the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte since 2003, surveys 421,000 civil servants from 379 federal organizations on a wide range of workplace topics. Agencies are grouped by their budget and headcount and then ranked according to overall employee engagement.

Overall the FCC is ranked 20 out of 27 for similar mid-sized agencies, with less than average scores for all indicators. FCC staff report increasing dissatisfaction with the agency’s leadership since 2013 when Chairman Wheeler took office. Pai has an opportunity to reverse the dismal and declining scores for empowerment, fairness, supervision, innovation, and strategic management.

The FCC’s worst score is for Employee Skill–Mission Match which measures the extent to which employees feel that their skills and talents are used effectively. With some 600 lawyers and only 50 or so economists, the FCC today is not equipped to conduct even basic economic regulation. After some 20 years of making reports on the mobile wireless market, the FCC can’t conclude whether the market is effectively competitive.

Byzantine federal hiring rules which impose job posting requirements for technical staff but not attorneys are partly to blame. Plus the FCC is not a place where the input of economists is welcome, leading one former chief economist to call it an "economics-free zone". The situation is similar for engineers, who lack the facilities and fraternity necessary for intellectual inquiry. Staff's assessment is also demonstrated in the report’s measure of Strategic Management  in which the FCC ranks next to last among similar agencies.

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