Ashe Makes Exit

To the relief of some of his board colleagues and some executive staff, former Knoxville mayor and ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe has exited the Broadcasting Board of Governors this month. Even though there is an unfilled Republican position on the board, the Obama administration specifically replaced Ashe with former Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Ashe, while popular with worker bees, had castigated board members for not attending meetings and had been critical of spending and other issues in the operation of the agency that runs programs like Radio Free Europe.

The board has Democratic and Republican positions in order to make it bipartisan. Ashe’s term expired some time ago, but he had continued serving until he was replaced. The Senate finally confirmed Jeffrey Shell, head of NBC Universal, a Democrat, and Matthew Armstrong, a diplomat and Republican. There remains an unfilled Republican position.

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Comments » 1

liberti writes:

Yes, Governor Ashe was respected and admired by the 'worker bees'. Here are some excerpts from the tribute entitled: A Governor and a Gentleman.

AFGE Local 1812 wishes to extend its gratitude to Ambassador Ashe, who came to personify the values embodied by the Voice of America Charter, notably that VOA will tell the truth, whether the news is good or bad.

Very soon after coming on the Board, Governor Ashe made his presence felt by doing what the current BBG/IBB Executive Staff has been incapable of doing. He personally met with employees, providing his personal coordinates and encouraging them to stay in touch. He refused to allow those running the Agency to wall him off from the rank and file. He did not rely on the Executive Staff to provide him with information on the health of the organization. He rolled up his sleeves and found out for himself.

Governor Ashe fought for transparency in the way the Agency communicates with the staff and the outside. ...

Governor Ashe helped resolve the RFE/RL Russian Service mess, a major diplomatic snafu that destroyed much of the Agency’s credibility in Russia.

Thanks to the efforts of Governor Ashe together with bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress, the Edward R. Murrow transmitting facility in Greenville NC, the only shortwave transmitter asset remaining in the continental United States, was saved.

For these “sins” and others, the honorable former U.S. Ambassador was unfairly vilified, insulted and hounded by an Agency Executive Staff that cannot tolerate any oversight or contradictions to its hard-fisted management methods.

Yet, in the face of character assassination, Governor Ashe forged ahead, showing the same grit, courage and indomitable spirit that got him re-elected as the longest-serving mayor of Knoxville, TN, and exhibiting the qualifications that led to his appointment by the White House to the important post as U.S. Ambassador to Poland from 2004-2009.

Rank and file VOA employees can’t be fooled. They may have to stay silent as their Agency is eviscerated by misguided people who claim they are moving it into the 21st century. But they know integrity when they see it. And they saw it in the person of Governor Ashe.

That is why AFGE Local 1812 extends its warmest thanks and best wishes to Ambassador Victor Ashe, for doing what the management of this Agency has so often failed to do: tell the truth, be willing to make adjustments to plans that are not working, reaching out to those who actually produce the work of the Agency, suggesting instead of threatening, listening instead of ordering, and recognizing that there is a major morale issue in this Agency.

At this juncture, we reluctantly say goodbye to this outstanding Governor and Gentleman, and thank him for being a shining example of what a public official could and should be.

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