Watchdog: Accountability

Why pro-democracy broadcasters targeting Cuba feel demoralized

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Watchdog,Kelly Cohen,State Department,Inspectors General,Accountability,Cuba

Office of Cuba Broadcasting employees suffered from low morale last year, but "fear of retaliation" prevented them from speaking up about it, according to report by State Department's inspector general.

Besides the fear of retaliation, the IG also attributed the low morale to "the lack of transparency in decision making, the inability to offer suggestions and the lack of effective communication."

The 100 OCB employees produce pro-democracy messages for broadcasts aimed at Cuba on Radio and TV Marti.

"Interviews with OCB employees staff indicated that the acting general manager’s management style has negatively affected operations," the IG said.

But when asked about the employees' concerns, OCB management cited results from the 2013 Office of Personnel Management's Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

That survey showed an unknown number of employees gave high scores in the categories of "work experience, leadership, and supervisors," according to the IG.

The IG said the OPM survey failed to ask about low employee morale despite it being cited as an issue in a 2007 IG report and a 2009 Government Accountability Office report.

Neither of those reports, however, encouraged OPM to ask about employee morale.

"Senior management needs to take additional steps to allow employees to offer suggestions and communicate with them effectively without fear of reprisal or intimidation," the IG said.

Employees were also unable to deal with a hypothetical crisis, attack or intruder at the Miami, Fla., office, the IG said.

Other details about what the IG called "security deficiencies" at OCB offices were redacted in the copy of the report that was released to the public.

The current OCB annual budget is $31 million.

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