FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
October 26, 1999
News Media Contact:|
Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0500.
FCC RESHAPES FOR THE FUTURE -
ESTABLISHES NEW ENFORCEMENT AND CONSUMER INFORMATION BUREAUS TO BE EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 8, 1999
This change will enhance the FCC's ability to serve the public by improving the effectiveness of the agency's enforcement program in an increasingly competitive communications marketplace. It will also maximize the ability of consumers to obtain quick, clear and consistent information about their rights under communications law.
Kennard said, ``Our decision to establish bureaus devoted exclusively to enforcement and consumer information signals the enormous importance of these functions in our transition from an industry regulator to a market facilitator. This reorganization is the first step in a larger effort to streamline and modernize the FCC. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues at the Commission and in Congress to implement the additional measures that will be critical to redefining ourselves as we enter the 21st Century.''
Kennard said David H. Solomon has been named Bureau Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, which consolidates enforcement functions and personnel from the Commission's existing Common Carrier, Mass Media, Wireless Telecommunications and Compliance and Information Bureaus. Jane E. Mago and Bradford M. Berry will be Deputy Bureau Chiefs and Richard K. Welch will be Associate Bureau Chief. Solomon has been FCC Deputy General Counsel since 1994; Mago was most recently Senior Legal Adviser to Commissioner Michael K. Powell; Berry is currently a litigation partner at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca and Lewin in Washington, DC; and Welch is presently Senior Counsel to the General Counsel.
Kennard announced his intention to name Lorraine C. Miller to be Bureau Chief of the Consumer Information Bureau, which consolidates the FCC's Gettysburg Call Center, the Office of Public Affairs' Public Service and Reference Operations Divisions, most of the existing staff in the Wireless Telecommunications and Common Carrier Bureaus responsible for facilitating resolution of informal consumer complaints, and staff from other bureaus responsible for handling public information requests.
The Consumer Information Bureau will also oversee the Commission's compliance with disabilities-related legal requirements generally, and will be responsible for ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to Commission processes and material in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Miller is presently Director of the Office of Congressional Relations at the Federal Trade Commission. Pamera Hairston and Karen Peltz Strauss will be Deputy Bureau Chiefs. Hairston is Chief of the Compliance Division of the Compliance and Information Bureau and Strauss is Legal Counsel for Telecommunications Policy at the National Association of the Deaf.
The Commission is retaining a small stand-alone Office of Media Relations responsible for interacting with members of the news media and for overseeing the agency's website. Joy Howell has been named Chief of the Office; Maureen Peratino and David Fiske will serve as Deputies. All three presently serve in the same capacities in the Office of Public Affairs, which will cease to exist once the reorganization is effective.
FCC ENFORCEMENT BUREAU
The new Enforcement Bureau will be the primary FCC organization responsible for enforcement of the Communications Act, as well as Commission rules, orders and authorizations. The Bureau will have four divisions, with the following key responsibilities:
Telecommunications Consumers Division, which will be responsible for enforcement regarding consumer-related obligations of common carriers such as prohibitions on slamming and unsolicited faxes; resolution of formal complaints filed by consumers against common carriers; and resolution of formal consumer complaints against regulated entities regarding accessibility of telecommunications services and equipment to persons with disabilities;
Market Disputes Resolution Division, which will be responsible for resolution of complaints against common carriers (wireline, wireless and international) by competitors and other carriers involving market issues;
Technical and Public Safety Division, which will be responsible for resolution of complaints involving public safety and technical issues such as tower marking and lighting, equipment requirements, Emergency Alert System rules and unauthorized construction or operation; and
Investigations and Hearings Division, which will be responsible for resolution of complaints against broadcast stations on non-technical matters such as indecency, enhanced underwriting, unauthorized transfer of control and misrepresentation; and resolution of complaints against wireless licensees on non-technical matters such as unauthorized transfer of control, auction collusion and misrepresentation. The Division also will conduct, or assist in the conduct of, various other investigations being conducted by the Bureau and serves as trial staff in formal Commission hearings.
The Enforcement Bureau also includes the FCC's existing Regional and Field Offices, which are responsible for handling a variety of on-scene investigations, inspections and audits in response to complaints and in support of the Commission's operations. The Bureau also provides support to the FCC Defense Commissioner.
Certain enforcement activities will remain in existing bureaus. The relevant licensing bureau will have primary responsibility for issues that are addressed in the context of a specific licensing proceeding and related post-licensing matters, including enforcement of the Commission's environmental rules and automatic license cancellation rules. The Mass Media Bureau will have primary responsibility for complaints involving children's television programming, political and related programming matters and equal opportunity matters. The Common Carrier Bureau will have primary responsibility for common carrier accounting and related requirements, and for enforcement of Part 68 of the Commission's rules regarding attachment of equipment to the telephone network. The International Bureau will have primary responsibility for enforcement of international settlements rules and policies. The Cable Services Bureau will have primary responsibility for enforcement of most cable rules.
FCC CONSUMER INFORMATION BUREAU
The new Consumer Information Bureau will be the primary FCC organization responsible for handling public inquiries and informal consumer complaints. It will have one division, one center, and three staff offices, with the following responsibilities:
Consumer Information Network Division, which will be responsible for handling consumer inquiries and informally resolving consumer complaints through a Consumer Center in Gettysburg, PA, a Consumer Center to be established in Washington, DC, in response to increasing public demand, and an Informal Complaints Team also in Washington, DC;
Reference Information Center, which will be responsible for the agency's management and maintenance of public records;
Consumer Education Office, which will be responsible for conducting consumer forums and disseminating fact sheets about Commission programs and policies;
Strategic Information Office, which will be responsible for collecting, evaluating and disseminating data about consumer complaints and inquiries and for compliance with FCC disabilities accessibility legal requirements applicable to the FCC itself (as opposed to regulated industries); and
Disabilities Rights Office, which will be responsible for oversight of FCC implementation of disabilities-related requirements, the provision of technical assistance on disabilities-related rulemakings, and other related functions.
The reorganization was initially adopted by the Commission in July 1999, and subsequently approved by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees and the National Treasury Employees Union Local 209.
Enforcement Bureau contacts: Jane Mago at (202) 418-1100 until November 8, and 418-7450 beginning November 8; and John Winston at (202) 418-1107.