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FTC’s Khan Looks To Fix Sinking Staffing Issues

 |  May 1, 2022

Under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the Federal Trade Commission has consistently ranked in the top five for staff satisfaction among medium-size government agencies, according to annual government surveys. But that changed in 2021, the year Lina Khan, a favorite of progressives, took the helm with plans to overhaul how the antitrust agency operates and turn it into a more aggressive bulwark against corporate consolidation, especially in the tech sector.

In the government’s November survey of the 1,100-person FTC, about half of whom responded, 53% of employees said senior leaders “maintain high standards of honesty and integrity,” down from 87% in 2020. And 49% of respondents had a “high level of respect” for senior leaders, down from 83% in 2020. Overall satisfaction with the agency dropped by a third, to 60% from 89%.

The “overall trends are not where we want them to be,” Khan said in a Thursday email to staff, which The Information viewed. She pledged to “understand the root causes of these results” and “strengthen communication and relationships more broadly within the agency.”

To help remedy some of the problems, the agency is working with Diane Rhodes, a management consultant in Alexandria, Va., who has previously consulted with the FTC, according to people familiar with the situation. Rhodes has in the past helped coach new FTC managers and advised on personnel issues. 

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