McDowell Proposes FCC Reform Agenda
July 21, 2009 at 10:58 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL sent a letter MONDAY to Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI suggesting that the agency "commence a thourough operational, financial and ethics audit of the Commission and its related entities." MCDOWELL characterized the audit as "akin to a due diligence review of a company as part of a proposed merger or acquisition, or after a change in top management," and called the proposed undertaking "a meaningful first step on the road to improving the agency."
He proposed holding "town hall" meetings to allow for public participation, suggested working with Congress on reviewing the collection of fees (asking why the agency levies a "tax of sorts" of $25 million on industry after fully funding its own operations through regulatory fees), and recommended that the agency examine the financial management of the universal service fund.
In addition, MCDOWELL suggested an update and republishing of the Commission's strategic plan and possible improvements to the structure of the agency, and proposed changes to improve external communication, including schedules for open meetings and release of all statistical reports. Finally, MCDOWELL called on the commission to "overhaul our internal information flow" to improve internay communication, with suggestions like getting options memoranda and briefing materials well in advance of votes and regular meetings among senior legal advisors.
GENACHOWSKI responded in a letter that noted the appointment of MARY BETH RICHARDS as Special Counsel for FCC Reform and the launch of a new reboot.fcc.gov internal website to solicit reform proposals from the staff. GENACHOWSKI said that the agency's review process will address the concerns in MCDOWELL's letter.