Improving the FCC Circulation Process 888011000110888 Several of my prior blogs have highlighted process reforms that will improve both the Commission’s consideration associated with and public input on “meeting items” that are scheduled for a election at the monthly Open Meetings. At this point, I want to draw attention to and recommend process improvements for “circulation items, ” which can either be identified electronically outside of a meeting or put into an Open Meeting. Background Flow items are often lower profile, much less controversial, or more technical proposals that will don’t draw as much public attention as meeting items. They also are generally less time sensitive. For these reasons, circulation products may linger on circulation for a lot of months without receiving votes. ‎ There are two ways to hasten the resolution of circulation items. First, if an item provides three votes in support, it is placed in “must vote” status and the Commissioner(s) who have not yet identified must do so by a set deadline, generally within a couple of weeks. Second, the item may be added to a Commission monthly Open Meeting. That process typically happens three weeks in advance of the particular meeting (the “white copy date”), but can occur as late as one week before the meeting (the “Sunshine date”). ‎ Appropriate Circulation Life ‎Given the intense 8th Floor focus on the monthly conference agenda, it is not surprising that several circulation items are not voted quickly. However , if an item has been on circulation for six months, no matter the main reason, it should automatically be removed from blood circulation. After six months, the draft is often stale, and likely would need more work to reflect the current state of the record. Moreover, in the event that an item has been sitting on circulation for six months with only one or two ballots, it is typically because the item does not have the support of a majority of Commissioners, and is unlikely to garner sufficient support to even trigger the particular must vote procedures. ‎In these instances, the Chairman’s office should pull the item away circulation and work with staff and the Commissioners to find a consensus. If or when one is achieved, the item could be revised and recirculated knowing that it can now be voted in a timely manner. Alternatively, the revised item could be placed on a Meeting agenda. This particular suggestion is similar to how nominations are handled in the U. S. United states senate. All non-confirmed, non-rejected pending nominations are returned to the President in late a session of Congress to allow the particular President to consider withdrawing the candidate selection or nominate the person again. Furthermore, like the differences between circulation plus Open Meeting items, Senate leadership always has the option of calling the nomination up for a recorded vote below regular order. Circulation Items Converted to Meeting Items Under current procedures, long-pending circulation items can be added to a meeting. Sometimes this takes place when it is clear that the current text lacks support and little work has been done to modify the set up. In these instances, the version put into a meeting is an outdated placeholder for some yet-to-be drafted, consensus document that will hopefully emerge in the short time prior to the meeting. The problem using the placeholder process approach is that Commissioners are supposed to use that time to meet with outside parties regarding the proposal. It is hard enough to have productive meetings when outside parties can’t see the textual content of the item that’s being identified. But it is even worse when the Commissioners themselves do not have a clear sense associated with what is actually on the table. While it is true that any meeting item can change in the time leading up to the particular vote, those are changes to a recent and concrete proposal, to not a long pending draft that may not really reflect the current views of staff and the Chairman’s office. ‎‎‎‎Even worse, the current procedures allow for even less notice to the community and less time for consideration by Commissioners. Specifically, an item that is on circulation as of the white copy date could be added to the Commission’s monthly agenda one week prior to the Open Meeting, which is the start of the “Sunshine” period. That is, at the very time that outside parties discover it is finally time to focus on an item, they are no longer able to contact the Commission to express their views because it is prohibited legally and FCC regulations. Keep in mind, any previous views of interested celebrations – and any ex partes conducted – may be completely irrelevant depending on the new text of the item so they can’t necessarily be depended upon as sufficient public input. To fix this process, I suggest that circulation items that are transformed into meeting items should be announced 3 weeks before the meeting (i. e., on the white copy date, which is the regular notification time for all other meeting items). Moreover, converted items which do not reflect the current views associated with staff and the Chairman’s office should be revised and recirculated as standard meeting items no later than the white copy date. I would also argue that a draft that needs substantial rewrites during the white copy time period should be pulled and considered at a later date. Finally, absent extraordinary circumstances, simply no item should be added one week before the meeting, as that all but prevents public input on the item. These simple changes would help make sure adequate input and deliberation upon all items considered by the Fee at its Open Meetings.

May 31, 2016 – 3: 58 pm

Michael O' Rielly | Commissioner

Several of my prior blog posts have highlighted process reconstructs that would improve both the…


No Responses to “Improving the FCC Circulation Process 888011000110888 Several of my prior blogs have highlighted process reforms that will improve both the Commission’s consideration associated with and public input on “meeting items” that are scheduled for a election at the monthly Open Meetings. At this point, I want to draw attention to and recommend process improvements for “circulation items, ” which can either be identified electronically outside of a meeting or put into an Open Meeting. Background Flow items are often lower profile, much less controversial, or more technical proposals that will don’t draw as much public attention as meeting items. They also are generally less time sensitive. For these reasons, circulation products may linger on circulation for a lot of months without receiving votes. ‎ There are two ways to hasten the resolution of circulation items. First, if an item provides three votes in support, it is placed in “must vote” status and the Commissioner(s) who have not yet identified must do so by a set deadline, generally within a couple of weeks. Second, the item may be added to a Commission monthly Open Meeting. That process typically happens three weeks in advance of the particular meeting (the “white copy date”), but can occur as late as one week before the meeting (the “Sunshine date”). ‎ Appropriate Circulation Life ‎Given the intense 8th Floor focus on the monthly conference agenda, it is not surprising that several circulation items are not voted quickly. However , if an item has been on circulation for six months, no matter the main reason, it should automatically be removed from blood circulation. After six months, the draft is often stale, and likely would need more work to reflect the current state of the record. Moreover, in the event that an item has been sitting on circulation for six months with only one or two ballots, it is typically because the item does not have the support of a majority of Commissioners, and is unlikely to garner sufficient support to even trigger the particular must vote procedures. ‎In these instances, the Chairman’s office should pull the item away circulation and work with staff and the Commissioners to find a consensus. If or when one is achieved, the item could be revised and recirculated knowing that it can now be voted in a timely manner. Alternatively, the revised item could be placed on a Meeting agenda. This particular suggestion is similar to how nominations are handled in the U. S. United states senate. All non-confirmed, non-rejected pending nominations are returned to the President in late a session of Congress to allow the particular President to consider withdrawing the candidate selection or nominate the person again. Furthermore, like the differences between circulation plus Open Meeting items, Senate leadership always has the option of calling the nomination up for a recorded vote below regular order. Circulation Items Converted to Meeting Items Under current procedures, long-pending circulation items can be added to a meeting. Sometimes this takes place when it is clear that the current text lacks support and little work has been done to modify the set up. In these instances, the version put into a meeting is an outdated placeholder for some yet-to-be drafted, consensus document that will hopefully emerge in the short time prior to the meeting. The problem using the placeholder process approach is that Commissioners are supposed to use that time to meet with outside parties regarding the proposal. It is hard enough to have productive meetings when outside parties can’t see the textual content of the item that’s being identified. But it is even worse when the Commissioners themselves do not have a clear sense associated with what is actually on the table. While it is true that any meeting item can change in the time leading up to the particular vote, those are changes to a recent and concrete proposal, to not a long pending draft that may not really reflect the current views of staff and the Chairman’s office. ‎‎‎‎Even worse, the current procedures allow for even less notice to the community and less time for consideration by Commissioners. Specifically, an item that is on circulation as of the white copy date could be added to the Commission’s monthly agenda one week prior to the Open Meeting, which is the start of the “Sunshine” period. That is, at the very time that outside parties discover it is finally time to focus on an item, they are no longer able to contact the Commission to express their views because it is prohibited legally and FCC regulations. Keep in mind, any previous views of interested celebrations – and any ex partes conducted – may be completely irrelevant depending on the new text of the item so they can’t necessarily be depended upon as sufficient public input. To fix this process, I suggest that circulation items that are transformed into meeting items should be announced 3 weeks before the meeting (i. e., on the white copy date, which is the regular notification time for all other meeting items). Moreover, converted items which do not reflect the current views associated with staff and the Chairman’s office should be revised and recirculated as standard meeting items no later than the white copy date. I would also argue that a draft that needs substantial rewrites during the white copy time period should be pulled and considered at a later date. Finally, absent extraordinary circumstances, simply no item should be added one week before the meeting, as that all but prevents public input on the item. These simple changes would help make sure adequate input and deliberation upon all items considered by the Fee at its Open Meetings.”




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