Beyond adding new agency leaders, Pack Wednesday ended long-standing board membership for members who have been part of USAGM entities for years, including those on the boards Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Open Technology Fund.
“I terminated your membership on the board effective immediately,” Pack said in emails reviewed by CNBC.
Newman said in the note, which was first reviewed by CNBC, that the changes were led by Pack himself and that some staff members must report on their new department leaders. She also appeared to put out a warning for staff members to contact anyone outside the agency.
“Until further notice, none of the measures to be taken, and no external communication are to be carried out, without the express authorization of the Chief Operating Officer; Vice-President of Legal, Compliance and Risk Management; Deputy Chief of Staff; or the Chief of Staff, “the memo reads.
The decision to add that the leaders of the, based on their experience, had an unwavering loyalty to Trump, who comes after the Democrats expressed fears that the Pack might be about to move forward with the staff purge. Pack, a curator and documentary maker with ties to former White House chief Steve Bannon, wrote a note for staff on Wednesday to introduce themselves and pose three goals, including boosting morale at the agency.
“USAGM regularly ranks low in surveys of the average size of Organizations in terms of motivation and job satisfaction. I’m going to make it a priority to improve morale here, “Pack said at the time. USAGM oversees the Voice of America, a news network that has been publicly besieged by Trump and his allies. Network two officials have already resigned since Pack was confirmed by the US Senate earlier this month. Meanwhile, a nonprofit run by Pack is under investigation by Washington, DC, the Attorney General, for the potential for self-treatment.
Those on the list of new heads of the organization include Michael Williams, who first worked at the Office of Management and Budget and later became an Assistant to the President. He also had a stint as general counsel for the American Suppressor Association, a lobby group that urges states to ease restrictions on the suppressor gun, according to their website. Williams will be the vice president of legal, compliance and risk management, the note said.
Williams also previously worked on Trump’s first committee as an associate general council and president in the 2016 campaign as returning officer on the day of operations, his financial reporting, the report said.
The new director of public affairs is Jonathan Bronitsky, who worked in the Office of Personnel Management, was a chief speechwriter at the US Department of Justice and held a similar role at Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank, which used to be run by the Pack itself.
André Mendes will be USAGM of the new Chief Operating Officer. He was previously employed by the US Department of Commerce, but prior to that had executive leadership roles at the organization’s federal media level.
When reached for comment, Bronitsky said he would work to confirm the roles and earlier works of the story from those mentioned in that story. There is no return call before publication. A White House spokesperson also did not return requests for comment.
One of the Democrats who raised the alarm over a possible spree fire at USAGM is the Republic Elliot Engel, (D-NY), the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I have learned that Michael Pack, the new director general of the US Agency for the World’s Media, intends to force a number of the agency into the careers of senior executives tomorrow morning , ”Engel said in a recent statement. “My fear is that USAGM’s impartial role in the news business is in jeopardy under his leadership. USAGM’s mission is to “inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy” – not to be a spokesperson for the President, as we approach ‘an election. ”
Copy of the note:
Effective immediately, before delegations of the authority’s CEO have been revoked and re-delegated to the following persons, until further notice:
Effective immediately, the report to the USAGM Chief Operating Officer, André Mendes:
o Deputy Director of Operations
o Chief Financial Officer
o Director of Strategy
o Director of Technology, Services and Innovation
Effective immediately, the report to the USAGM Vice President of Legal, Compliance and Risk Management, Michael Williams:
o General Council
o Executive Director
o Risk Director
Effective immediately, the report to the USAGM Senior Director of Public Affairs, Jonathan Bronitsky:
o Global Head of Communications
o Director, Office of Policy
Effective immediately, the report by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Diane Cullo:
o Director of Service Management
o Acting Director of the Business Congress
Until further notice, none of the measures to be taken, and no external communication are to be carried out, without the express authorization of the Chief Operating Officer; Vice-President of Legal, Compliance and Risk Management; Deputy to the Chief of Staff; or the Chief of Staff. These meetings will be scheduled this week to include delegations and functions.