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Roger Wicker 'Alarmed' Over FTC Employee Satisfaction Survey

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

(Image credit: U.S. Senate Photography Officer)

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), no fan of Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, said he is concerned about a new agency survey that found morale at the agency had significantly declined under her leadership since June 2021.

Khan is a veteran critic of concentration and anticompetitive market power.

Wicker, ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has oversight over the FTC, pointed to a Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) by the Office of Personnel Management that indicated that FTC employee satisfaction had declined from 89% in 2021 to 35% in 2022.

Arguably more troubling was that the percentage of FTC employees (over 500 were surveyed) that said they did not have a high level of confidence in FTC senior leadership had increased from 6% in 2021 to 35% in 2022 and those who disagreed with a statement that "the FTC’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity" had gone from 45% in 2021 to 29% in 2022.

Wicker called the results striking and alarming, calling it a "complete reversal" from the prior year, when the FTC had the highest scores for honesty and integrity of any federal agency surveyed. "If the current level of staff satisfaction persists, turnover at the agency will undoubtedly increase and consumers will ultimately pay the price," said Wicker.

Wicker said he wants to know what caused staff satisfaction to fall and the questions about honesty and integrity to rise and what Khan plans to do to turn the survey around.

Wicker said he was concerned about staff attrition due to satisfaction, and suggested senior leadership could learn from FTC management employees who have consistently received excellent evaluations. ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.