Inspector General report blasts Victor Ashe

6:59 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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Former Mayor of Knoxville and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe was blasted in a recent report by the Office of Inspection General (OIG) for his role as a board member in an important agency that has turned "dysfunctional."

When Victor Ashe was sworn in on July 12th, 2010, he made the following comment during an interview with John Becker on 10 News at 5 p.m., "We don't micromanage it, but we set the broad policies. We make sure that we're meeting the goals and the missions that have been set by the congress when they enacted this."

In the January, 2013 report OIG said that is not happening.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) sets policies and oversees the agencies that provide U.S. news to countries across the globe.

According to the report, "the Board fails to stand by its own decisions," citing its inability to pass a budget on time for three straight years.

The OIG fired shots at Ashe directly but not by name: "During the course of the inspection, the majority of individuals interviewed firmly expressed the view that the Board's current paralysis was the fault of a single Governor."

Later, it sources that same governor as one with years of experience as mayor of a city. Ashe is the only board member who served as a mayor.

The report went on to bash Ashe, claiming "many accuse him of using outside media to support his views and attack colleagues and staff who disagree."

It also said Ashe "produced a pervasive atmosphere of hostility, lack of trust, and disrespect."

Victor Ashe was in Thailand Wednesday, but made the following comment via email: "Allegations against me are unwarranted and factually incorrect. Virtually no examples are offered to document them."

Ashe also cited a post by the local American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) 1812 titled 'Hatchet Job'. The article criticized the OIG report, calling it "primarily an assassination of the character of one Board member and one Board member alone - Victor Ashe."

The AFGE said "the report disregards the dedication of a public servant which includes fighting for transparency, accountability, responsibility to the U.S. taxpayer, addressing the concerns of the rank-and-file employees and attempting to further the ideals of U.S. international broadcasting."

Ashe said he receives emails from senders who he has not personally met that express the same sentiment. One email forwarded to 10 News was titled 'Keep up the fight at BBG'. The sender said "From what I have read and listened to, you are the voice of reason. My impression is that the high level bureaucrats that command the operations of the VOA are so intent on self-preservation, that they will do anything for their own benefit, including discrediting any voice that opposes their status."

The OIG addressed its list of recommendations to the BBG, including the appointment of a CEO to govern the board. It also recommended establishing a policy on meeting attendance that includes sanctions for noncompliance, since its report details of the board failing to meet quorum on several occasions.

The OIG said it based its assessment on interviews with employees and officials of relevant agencies and institutions, direct observation, and a review of applicable documents.

According to the AFGE post, the union felt "it would have been a better and wiser use of taxpayers' monies to investigate why the BBG continually ranks as the worst managed federal government agency according to the annual OPM Human Capital survey than to invest all the time, and money this report must have cost, in order to viciously attack one member of the BBG board who refuses to go along with a sad status quo."

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