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FCC Will Close 11 Field Offices in Modernization Effort

Wheeler voted in favor of it, as did Clyburn and Rosenworcel; Pai and O’Rielly also concurred

WASHINGTON�The Federal Communications Commission will close 11 field offices as part of a plan to modernize its Enforcement Bureau.

Chairman Wheeler was a strong proponent of the plan and Thursday, July 16,�voted in favor of it,�as did Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel. Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O�Rielly also concurred but issued separate statements regarding some concerns.

The plan which was approved had been modified since its initial proposal. The final version also requires that all field agents are electrical engineers, and six compliance specialists will lose their jobs as a result.

Field offices will remain open in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbia (Md.), Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Portland (Ore.) and San Francisco.

Offices in Anchorage, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Norfolk, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Juan, Seattle and Tampa will be shuttered.

�The Enforcement Bureau will maintain a field presence in Alaska and Puerto Rico and field agents will also rotate periodically through Kansas City. In addition, three offices will relocate to FCC-owned properties nearby to better utilize agency resources.�

Rapid deployment �tiger� teams will be stationed in Columbia (Md.) and Denver to �supplement the enforcement efforts of other field offices when necessary and support high-priority enforcement actions nationwide.�

The commission said the current structure of field operations is over 20 years old, �during which time significant technological changes have taken place and available funding has decreased.� It said the new structure was adopted after the Enforcement Bureau, Office of the Managing Director and outside consultants studied the problem. Some, including the Society of Broadcast Engineers, have criticized the openness of that process.

The NAB issued a statement saying it �appreciates the work of both the FCC and Congress in forging a compromise FCC field office proposal that keeps open many more enforcement offices than was originally proposed� and thanked all the commissioners for taking note of �a need to better enforce prohibition against pirate radio stations.��