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FCC Needs More Engineers, Fewer Lawyers

A reader support's bill to add back engineering assistants on commissioner staffs

I wasn’t trying to start an attorney vs. engineer fisticuff over increasing the number of engineers at the Federal Communications Commission when I wrote about Sen. Olympia Snowe’s bill to do just that; however it’s turning into one.

John Aegerter writes me saying the return of engineering assistants to the FCC commissioners is long overdue.

“During the reign of Clinton, his telecommunications expert and FCC chairman went on to slash many departments within the FCC, but of course, never the attorneys! He had to hire more,” writes John.

Political winds can change direction quickly, John continues, saying “economics became front and center for the agency that is a purported ‘spectrum guardian.’ After all, engineers were a bunch of geeks with old ideas, and the politicians (most of them attorneys) could do a much better job. So, the engineering assistants were dismissed.

“We had a veteran broadcaster at the helm” — for awhile, when the late Jim Quello was interim chairman — “and some very good commissioners during this period with engineering assistants. We need them back,” John concludes, with five or more fewer attorneys in the agency.