Following an agreement reached with the National Treasury Employees Union, the Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau field office in Farmington Hills, Michigan will close on January 7, 2017.
The closing is part of a broader reorganization of the bureau initiated in 2015 to scale back on the number of field offices. Initially, the plan was to reduce the number from 24 to nine, with two spared the chopping block in later planning. The Detroit office closing is one of eleven closing, though the bureau will maintain a presence in Alaska and Puerto Rico.
Employees will be offered positions in other offices as they become available; otherwise, the staff reductions would be accomplished by retirements and layoffs.
The initial plan called for a beefed-up enforcement hub at Kansas City, with so-called “tiger teams” available for deployment as required. Agents from nearby field offices that remain open will be responsible for enforcement in Michigan; the closest to remain open is Chicago.
Old-timers will remember when the bureau’s Detroit presence was in room 1029 of the then “New” Federal Building in downtown Detroit. The bureau, which later moved to room 1054, administered commercial and amateur license exams and handled other regional business. Many of us nervously took these exams under the watchful eye of field directors Dick Cotton, Ed Atems and Irby Tallant. The field office was later relocated to Hathaway Drive in Farmington Hills as the Commission’s responsibility for conducting operator exams was passed to private parties.