Bickering commissioners, ineffective managers and lousy internal communication rank among the top reasons why the Federal Election Commission staff is one of the federal government's most bedraggled.
That's the dispiriting — if unsurprising — conclusion of a new report from the FEC's Office of Inspector General, which for months had conducted employee surveys and interviews in hopes of answering a nagging question: why, specifically, is agency morale so consistently rotten?
Investigators dump the most blame on the FEC’s six commissioners: three Democratic appointees and three Republican appointees who have regularly criticized one another and frequently (but not exclusively) deadlocked on high-profile political issues before them.
“Tone and attitude perceived as poor,” the report said of the commissioners.
“Too many disparaging public statements … employees feel work not valued,” it continues.
The report also scolds the commissioners for failing to hire for top management positions, either placing people in “acting” roles or simply leaving key jobs unfilled.
The FEC, for example, has gone three years without a permanent leader for its legal department — despite its congressional mandate to administer and enforce federal election laws.