A series of senior representatives of the Finance Ministry, the Histadrut labor federation and the Journalists’ Association have complained year in and year out that the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is mismanaged and that is the underlying reason for its perpetual deficit and its overloaded payroll.

The issues of the deficit and the staff have been raised time and again in the State Comptroller’s Report, but never as scathingly as in the swan song of outgoing State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

In a withering report on the IBA, the state comptroller painted a picture of mismanagement, negligence and irresponsibility that resulted not only in an ongoing multimillion-shekel deficit, and an organization vastly top heavy with unnecessary staff, but also a problem of property ownership.

Apparently no one bothered over the years to check out whether properties supposedly belonging to the IBA have actually been registered as such, a factor that came to light when the Finance Ministry, which was unwilling to keep bolstering the faltering financial status of the IBA, said that the only way it could get rid of its deficit and progress with its reforms, was to sell off the bulk of its properties in Jerusalem.

But when it came to taking an inventory of the properties, the IBA was lacking in legally binding proof of ownership. The IBA has been operating in state-owned properties in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Some of these properties were long ago officially transferred to the IBA, but the IBA neglected to do the required paper work.

As a result, it is not yet in the position to sell off the properties and the reforms cannot be implemented.

As for mismanagement, the state comptroller indirectly pointed a finger at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who is also the minister responsible for overseeing the workings of the IBA in accordance with the Broadcasting Authority Law.

Netanyahu initially appointed Yuli Edelstein to the position, but following the latter’s resignation, Netanyahu took it over himself in September 2010, but did not appoint a new 31-member plenum until March 2011. Without a plenum from which the board of management is selected, there was no board of management until April 2011. Both the plenum and the board of management are vital in the decision- making processes of the IBA, and without them, the IBA was unable to function efficiently.

Over the years, all these factors have contributed to the erosion of the IBA’s image in the eyes of the public, concluded the state comptroller.

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