Federal Election Commission leaders — dogged by abysmal staff morale and a top manager improperly obtaining employees’ confidential critiques — are considering changes to how the agency operates in a bid to restore staff trust. Chief among them: the creation of a new “ombudsman” office dedicated to investigating and resolving staff complaints and internal conflicts, according to an internal proposal written by the agency’s chairman and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. As written, the proposal further calls for formal, anonymous reviews of agency managers by subordinates, as well as better manager training.
Staff Director Alec Palmer would also be required to file quarterly reports with the agency’s six commissioners detailing, among other things, “the status and success of efforts made to establish and maintain high morale among agency staff.”
Many staffers are still reeling from an incident last year in which FEC Inspector General Lynn McFarland said a top manager — identified as Chief Compliance Officer and Deputy Staff Director Patricia Orrock — duped her into releasing hundreds of confidential employee surveys critical of agency leaders.