June 18, 2015 — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a plan to reorganize the agency’s field offices to his fellow commissioners last week, attempting to increase the efficiency of the Commission. While not giving any details, the chairman hinted that his plan had been altered from the proposal that he presented to Congress last March.
“This updated plan represents the best of both worlds: rigorous management analysis combined with extensive stakeholder and congressional input,” he said in a statement. Wheeler said he received input from Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and other lawmakers, industry and public safety officials, as well as the National Association of Broadcasters.
During the March 24 hearing on the FCC’s fiscal year 2016 budget request before Congress, Wheeler said the agency was studying the management of resources in field offices that had a one-manager-to-four-employee ratio and oversized rental facilities.
“After analyzing a contractor report on field office use, we have determined that we can more efficiently deploy staff using a ‘tiger team’ approach and make better use of regional offices,” Wheeler told the Appropriations committee.
Wheeler’s plan, at that time, included a substantial number of field office closures (16) and annual savings of $9 million.
“We will continue to seek efficiencies that allow the FCC to continue to perform its mission, but there are limitations,” he said. “Seeking even lower [full-time equivalent] levels could have adverse operational effects. While the Commission’s staffing and resources have been steadily shrinking, the industries we oversee have continued to grow at a healthy clip.”