In a six-page letter, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has given Chairman Julius Genachowski a roadmap of suggestions to reform the agency — a timely suggestion in advance of their appearance before Congress in an oversight hearing.
McDowell's suggestions build on ones he made earlier to Commissioner Michael Copps when the latter was acting chairman.
"Although you have only been here for three weeks, I applaud the steps you have already taken to reform the agency. Your recent statements regarding boosting employee morale, promoting greater transparency, and creating a more informed, collaborative and considerate decision-making process are heartening," said McDowell in the letter.
His suggestions should be taken as starting points for discussion, he said. They include an operational, financial and ethics audit to better identify the current condition of the commission and how it operates. Regulatory fees are the primary means by which the commission funds its operations, McDowell, who adds the FCC "may have over collected by more than $10 million for each of the last two years."
And the agency may want to look at why it continues to collect administrative fees to the tune of some $25 million a year from industry, though the FCC is fully funded through regulatory fees, wrote McDowell.
The FCC should consider filling open positions with non-attorneys; engineers could investigate complaints and petitions that involve technical and engineering questions, suggests McDowell.