Ashe Tagged to Be Replaced

Former Knoxville Mayor and Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe's tenure on the Broadcasting Board of Governors may be coming to an end, but not without a fight.

A union president from an American Federation of Government Employees local that represents broadcasters and journalists at Voice of America has written a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pleading that Ashe not be replaced on the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The board that oversees government broadcasts around the world is supposed to have four Democrats and four Republicans. But Ashe has been the only Republican on the board in recent months. His term has expired, but he serves until he is replaced. Two Republicans have been nominated to join the board, but instead of filling the empty slots one is designated to replace Ashe instead.

Ashe has angered his fellow board members by demanding that meetings be open and broadcast on the Internet, and by castigating them for absences from board meetings where there is often a lack of a quorum. Tim Shamble, the union local president, credits Ashe with championing employees and helping clean up the mess when the staff at Radio Moscow was fired. The Inspector General's office has criticized Ashe for being "disruptive."

The letter praises the choice of former Ambassador Ryan Crocker to the board but argues he should fill one of the empty slots. The Heritage Foundation has weighed in on the same issue, pointing out if Ashe is replaced the board will consist of four Democrats and two Republicans.

Ashe went on the board in 2010 to fill an unexpired term, but McConnell and Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have kept him in place thus far.