The FCC’s Detroit Enforcement Office’s final day of operation has been set for January 7, 2017.
The office’s closing date, confirmed by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, was finalized after the Commission met with members of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) to discuss the procedures and mitigation steps each party would take regarding the impending reduction in force seen from the closure of not only the Motor City’s enforcement office, but others across the U.S.
A mutual agreement between the FCC and NTEU was codified August 12, the MAB reports.
In an order released July 16, 2015, the FCC announced the closure of 11 of its 24 field offices, after originally planning to scale back to just 9 field offices.
As reported by RBR + TVBR, the offices that will be shut down also include Anchorage, AK; Buffalo; Houston; Kansas City; Norfolk; Philadelphia; San Diego; Seattle; and Tampa.
The FCC will maintain a presence in Alaska and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where it is also closing its field office. It also plans to periodically rotate staffers through Kansas City.
Offices remaining in operation can be found in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Columbia, Md.; Dallas; Denver; Honolulu; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; New York; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco.
Agents will have the opportunity to apply for vacancies in the remaining field offices if a vacancy exists, an FCC spokesperson tells RBR + TVBR.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in July 2015, “We will work with every affected employee to mitigate the impact … These are individual lives that are being affected and we are painfully aware of that reality.”
The NTEU took those words seriously, as it was a sharp opponent of the Commission’s initial plan to shed 15 total field offices.
NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley said the union will aggressively represent employees as the agreement between the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the FCC is implemented.
“Our goal is to make sure that FCC field staff can continue to do their valuable work in the communities where they now serve,” the NTEU leader said. “We believe the work of the field offices should be strengthened through an effective modernization plan.”
Meanwhile, an FCC spokesman says the field office closures are a necessary response to tech advances, and budget dips.
“The current structure of the FCC’s field operations is over 20 years old, during which time significant technological changes have taken place and available funding has decreased. The new field structure aligns the field’s structure, operations, expenses, and equipment with the agency’s priorities such as radio frequency interference. It also prepares the field to address future enforcement needs in an ever more complex spectrum environment, and aligns field operations to support this mission. Through this plan, the Commission is maintaining a commitment to respond in a timely manner to interference issues anywhere in the nation, including responding to all public safety spectrum complaints within one day.”