NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EEOC L0CALS No 216, AFGE, AFL-CIO
Office of the President
c/o Denver District Office, EEOC
Tele: (303) 866-1337 Fax: (303) 966-1900
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Gabrielle Martin
EEOC POISED TO VOTE FOR GIANT STEP BACKWARDS
FOR THE FUTURE OF CIVIL RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT
EEOC’s inconsistencies regarding its restructuring plans and proposed savings, include:
EEOC Assertion: The plan reduces the number of managers and administrators and increases front-line staff. Source: EEOC Website.
Fact: Pursuant to its restructuring plan, EEOC
intends to fill: 5 Senior Executive Service (SES) positions in the field; 2 SES
positions in the office of General Counsel; 5 Field Office Director slots; 15
Office Managers and 9 Admin technicians.
Source: EEOC Website and Draft
Repositioning Implementation Proposal,
EEOC Assertion: EEOC anticipates a “downward trend in inventory.” Source: EEOC Repositioning-Field Offices Questions and Answers.
Fact: EEOC anticipates its back log (inventory) will rise from 29,966 in FY ’04 to 37,332 in FY ’05, to a whopping 51,572 in FY ’06. Source: EEOC’s FY ’06 Budget Request.
EEOC Assertion: The criteria for downgrading offices came from a workgroup sponsored by Vice Chair Naomi Earp and then-Commissioner Paul Miller. Source: EEOC Website.
Fact: According to the cited report, “The representatives from the field on the Repositioning Workgroup (Workgroup) do not believe that a business case been made for reducing offices, and, therefore do not recommend that the current number of district offices be reduced.” Source: 2004 Repositioning Workgroup Report.
EEOC Assertion: EEOC plans to open two new offices. Source: EEOC Website
Fact: For the foreseeable future one person will act
as “virtual office contact” for new offices.
Source: Draft Repositioning
assertions regarding its restructuring plans leave one nauseous about the
future of civil rights enforcement in this country,” says Martin. “The supposed guardians of civil rights, who
vote for this plan, will leave the EEOC ill prepared to fight the rising claims
of discrimination. As a result,
After EEOC reluctantly submitted to an abbreviated public comment period, the agency turned a deaf-ear to the feedback it received on the plan. At a hastily scheduled June 23, 2005 EEOC forum, civil rights groups, public and private sector unions, fair employment practice agencies, and Congressional aides rebuked the agency for rushing to vote on restructuring and refusing to provide sufficient information or justification for its proposal to downgrade offices and chop off state jurisdictions. Despite these protests, the agency made only cosmetic changes to the plan, consisting of transferring a few counties from one proposed district office to another. Martin says, “This proves that the ‘public comment process’ was a mere mockery. EEOC never intended to listen to the public or address their concerns.”
On July 6, 2005, thirty United States Senators, led by Sen. Edward Kennedy, served a letter on EEOC Chair Cari Dominguez opposing EEOC’s restructuring, because: “We are not satisfied with your generally unsupported assertions that the restructuring will not diminish the extent to which our constituents have ready access to meaningful EEOC services. “ The letter calls on the EEOC to “defer going forward with action on the restructuring proposal until the Government Accountability Office has released the results of its study on the issue.”
The joint Senate letter comes on the heels of the Senate Appropriations Committee Report, which states that the Committee, “remains concerned over the pending Equal Opportunity Employment Commission [EEOC] repositioning plan and its impact on the Commission's ability to perform its investigations and enforcement duties.”
Martin believes EEOC’s timetable further demonstrates a pattern of arrogance and obfuscation. “First EEOC tried to push through its plans in a week without getting public comment. EEOC is disregarding a bipartisan commissioned GAO study on EEOC restructuring not due until November. EEOC timed its ‘public forum’ for when two major stakeholders were out of town holding their annual conventions. Now EEOC is trying to quietly hold its vote on the Friday of a shortened holiday week, when many people are away, including Congress, which is in district recess.”
Martin questions, “Why is EEOC in such a rush? EEOC needs to spend more time addressing the concerns of John Q Public, such as keeping offices adequately staffed and getting a handle on the agency’s growing backlog of cases.”