Vermont PTV should be sanctioned for closed meetings, CPB IG finds

CPB’s Inspector General has recommended that the corporation sanction Vermont Public Television in response to 22 open-meeting violations by VPT’s board dating from July 2011. In the May 5 report, IG Mary Mitchelson said that while 17 of the meetings were closed for appropriate reasons, such as personnel matters, the station failed to provide written explanations for why the meetings were not open to the public. The IG’s conclusions were based on interviews of board members who attended the meetings in question as well as an examination of documents detailing what business was transacted, the report said. Following the IG’s recommendation, the decision on whether or how to penalize the station rests with CPB’s management. Michael Levy, e.v.p., said CPB will respond to the IG within 90 days.

CPB Board selects Mitchelson as inspector general to replace Konz

Mary Mitchelson, deputy inspector general at the Department of Education Office of Inspector General, will take over as CPB inspector general June 3. She replaces retiring CPB IG Kenneth Konz. The CPB Board selected Mitchelson for the position, which is responsible for promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness; preventing fraud, waste and mismanagement in CPB programs and operations; and independently auditing CPB’s internal operations and external grantees. CPB Board Chair Patty Cahill said in Monday’s announcement that Mitchelson “brings a high level of integrity and extensive managerial skills” to the post. Mitchelson has been with the Department of Education’s IG office since 2000.

CPB Board recognizes retiring IG Konz

The CPB Board today honored retiring CPB Inspector General Kenneth Konz with a resolution of appreciation for his service in the post since 1998. Konz told the board he arrived 15 years ago thinking he’d stay for two years. “This has been a collegial, wonderful group of people to work with,” Konz said. “I am sure with the people I leave here and the new inspector general, the office will continue in good hands and continue to have a good relationship with CPB.” The independent office audits CPB grants, investigates complaints from citizens, promotes efficiency and works to deter fraud, waste and mismanagement in CPB programs and operations.

Clash at Crossroads

Could CPB have avoided the public collision of wills over one of the America at a Crossroads documentaries that tainted its $20 million project in 2007 about the post-9/11 world? Determining that, in effect, was the assignment that Cheryl Halpern, then chair of the CPB Board, gave more than two years ago to the corporation’s semi-autonomous inspector general, Kenneth Konz. Back then 10 members of Congress also had asked CPB and its IG to determine what kept the program, Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center, from airing among the first batch of Crossroads shows on PBS. The lead producer of the film, Frank Gaffney, a defense think-tank president and former Pentagon official, had gone public with his dispute.

Executive summary of CPB inspector general’s report on the Tomlinson affair

See also PDF of the complete report and Current coverage. Review of Alleged Actions Violating the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as Amended
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Office of Inspector General, has conducted a review of alleged violations of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as amended. We found evidence that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) former Chairman violated statutory provisions and the Director’s Code of Ethics by dealing directly with one of the creators of a new public affairs program during negotiations with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the CPB over creating the show. Our review also found evidence that suggests “political tests” were a major criteria used by the former Chairman in recruiting a President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CPB, which violated statutory prohibitions against such practices. Our review of the hiring of a consultant to review program content for objectivity and balance showed that such reviews were consistent with Section 19(2)(B) of the Public Telecommunications Act of 1992, however problems occurred when the former Chairman initiated such actions without informing the Board and signed the contract without Board authorization.