Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A 3-Page Memo on the Proper Use of the Office Coffee Pot?

Al Kamen inquired about this report in his column some months ago. Matthew Lee of AP got first dibs of the leaked report last week. Digger of Life After Jerusalem posted a link of the AP report saying “Since I am not an idiot, I will just post this without comment.”  TSB of The Skeptical Bureaucrat has linked to the AP report carried by WaPo. I’ve been looking for this report since last week and was told it will be online "within a few weeks." The OIG website says the report was finally posted on 02/26/10 -The Bureau of Public Affairs (ISP-I-10-39) Feb 2010. In any case, I finally got to read it this morning. 

On the Assistant Secretary, that would be P.J. Crowley -- this is what the report says:
“Although the Assistant Secretary is approachable, gregarious, and easy to talk to, bureau personnel desire and require better, more, and regular communication from him, particularly regarding his strategic vision and goals for the Bureau, as well as his plans for organizational structure and the responsibilities of senior personnel. Employees throughout the Bureau, including some in the front office, lamented their lack of knowledge as to who is actually doing what. During the inspection, the As­sistant Secretary hired a senior, experienced advisor to oversee the strategic planning process. This individual is working diligently and making inroads on this important assignment.”

It had good things to say about the former Spokesman Ian Kelly (currently awaiting Senate confirmation to be Ambassador to OSCE):
“The spokesman, who is also a deputy assistant secretary, is an experienced, com­petent Senior Foreign Service officer. He received high marks from bureau personnel for strong mentoring and his friendly, outgoing, and helpful demeanor.”
Also had good things to say about Robert Wood, the Deputy Spokesman (did he head out to be DCM some place in EUR?): 

"The deputy spokesman is a skilled, profession­al briefer who often responds to questions without referring to the briefing book. He served effectively as Acting Assistant Secretary and spokesman for 4 months during the transition to the new administration, and he is the only current senior member of the front office to have worked for both the previous and current administrations. Staff members consider him to be a good mentor and a helpful colleague."

The Office of Electronic Information (the folks who run the webs) came out with good marks. Did you know that during the first 9 months of the present administration, the website posted a total of 61,000 pages of online information — nearly as much information as was published in the last 8 years com­bined?

The Historian’s Office came out with acceptable marks -- remember it went through an internal and very public upheaval in the closing days of the last administration (see the revolt of the historians in late 2008-2009?).     

The Office of Broadcast Services (PA/OBS) came out of this not too good:   

“The office enjoys a strong reputation for customer service and technical expertise. However, acrimonious internal management problems have eroded teamwork and contributed to a tense and unproductive work environment. Bureau management must take action to address the leadership issues in the office.” Some items of note:

#1: Many in the office, even those who are sympathetic to the office director’s goals and objectives, describe the workplace climate as contentious and acrimonious, with mutual mistrust between the office director, who was appointed in 2005, and the employees in the office.

#2: Tensions have boiled over into confrontations be­tween the office director and employees that resulted in disciplinary or administra­tive actions against subordinates on several occasions. Several employees expressed concerns to the OIG team that violence in the workplace could result because of the high levels of workplace animosity and tension.

#3: Employees gave the office director especially low marks for fairness, allowing dissent, and problem solving. […] The office director attributes employee discontent to resistance to change among the staff and weaknesses in their technical skills, which he felt he has addressed forthrightly. Elsewhere the OIG team found that no performance evaluation had been prepared for the office director in the past 2 years.

#4: Approximately three-quarters of staff interviewed by the OIG team cited a range of poor management practices — to include micromanagement, public humiliation and bullying of subordinates, failure to show proper respect for racial and religious diversity, a strongly directive management style, and a focus on exact performance of the technical elements of broadcast production, to the exclusion of interpersonal management and team building — as serious leadership failings that have damaged relations between employees and their supervisor.

#5: Many of these employees are not productively engaged. One employee spends 90 minutes a day editing video clips, and performs no other duties (now that IS a cushy job)!

#6: One employee cited a three-page memorandum that the office direc­tor issued to all staff on the proper use of the office coffee pot as an example of the unproductive interchange that now prevails. Seriously? Man, I want to read that memo, pronto!  

OIG Recommendation 15: The Bureau of Public Affairs, in coordination with the Bureau of Human Resources, should transfer the office director for the Office of Broadcast Services to a nonsupervisory position. (Action: PA, in coordina­tion with DGHR).

I know you really want to read all this. Read on below:

OIG_ISP_1_10_39_Bureau of Public Affairs 2010




7 comments:

A Daring Adventure said...

I will only read that huge thing if you promise me that, buried inside it, is the three page memo on the coffee pot usage! THAT would be worth it...

A Daring Adventure said...

I will only read that huge thing if you promise me that, buried inside it, is the three page memo on the coffee pot usage! THAT would be worth it...

diplopundit said...

ADA - I wish I could tell you that the coffee memo is in the Appendix; it's not. I am hoping that somebody from over there would send it to me. That is, of course, if it has not been marked Sensitive or Confidential. I've always wanted to read a confidential memo on the proper use of the official coffee pot so I could plagiarize it. To think that I've grown this old without ever reading one is totally not acceptable. Maybe somebody will feel sorry for me :-)

Digger said...

Hmmm...I'd like to see that memo too...

Digger said...

I linked to you here: http://lifeafterjerusalem.blogspot.com/2010/03/oig-report-on-pa-and-3-page-coffee-pot.html

diplopundit said...

Thanks for the mention and the link, Digger!

Connie said...

So glad I didn't work in that last office... it sounds like things were quite poisonous! Although, I have worked in an office where a 3-page memo on the proper use of a coffee pot would have been a blessing. The coffee brewed could have awakened the dead, which was a good thing considering the overall (non)cleanliness of the machine... :p