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FCC Possibly Downsizing Enforcement Field Offices

Proposal reportedly on the table would cut field offices, agents

The FCC is apparently proposing to close or significantly reduce assets at approximately half of its field offices.

That’s according to a memo from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc and Managing Director Jon Wilkins to the bureau staff that outside sources shared with Radio World.

In the memo, they state that the current field office model was adopted 20 years ago “and while field operations have served a vital part of the agency’s mission, significant technological changes and increasing resource limitations require a fresh look at this operating model.”

The agency sought input from consultants, its employees and others about the plan to most efficiently use commission resources while make progress in “modernizing our methods and meeting our enforcement responsibilities in the 21st century,” they state in the memo.

The FCC would reduce the number of field agents from 63 to 33, reduce the number of director positions from 21 to five and cut support staff as well under the plan.

The agency would shrink the number of field offices from 24 to eight. The field offices to remain open would be in or near New York City, Columbia, Md., Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Some markets would have “prepositioned equipment” with an emphasis “on population/spectrum use density,” according to the memo, including Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Seattle, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Anchorage, Alaska, Honolulu and Billings, Mont.

As part of the proposed changes, the primary focus of the field offices would be RF spectrum enforcement and all agents would be required to have electrical engineering backgrounds. A special team of field agents would work out of the Columbia, Md. office to support other Enforcement Bureau or overall agency efforts.

The FCC’s budget request for FY 2016 is $505 million, $59 million more than FY2015.

The plan has reportedly been sent to the full commission for consideration; Radio World has contacted the agency for comment.

Industries Nervous About Potential FCC Field Office Closures