NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EEOC L0CALS No 216, AFGE, AFL-CIO
Office of the President
c/o Denver District Office, EEOC
303 East 17th Avenue, Suite 510, Denver, Colorado 80203
Tele: (303) 866-1337 Fax: (303) 866-1900
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2007 (303) 725-9079
EEOC SENATE OVERSIGHT HEARING 5/3/07
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is being summoned for a Senate Subcommittee oversight hearing on May 3, 2007. This will be the first hearing since EEOC was rebuked in a 2007 Committee report for unilaterally downsizing a dozen offices without approval, "The EEOC's decision to move forward with its repositioning plan despite congressional concern with the plan calls into question the judgment of leadership at the EEOC." The offices that were downsized, many in cities with high minority populations, included the EEOCís Baltimore office, which falls under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee Chair Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).
Senator Mikulski has also been a critic of the EEOCís pilot call center, which outsources calls from the public to contract operators, who rely on scripts to answer questions. The 2007 Senate budget report, citing a negative evaluation by the Inspector General, recommended discontinuing the failing call center, which costs $2.5 million annually.
According to Gabrielle Martin, President of the National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216, which represents EEOCís employees, "Senator Mikulski is a civil rights champion, who knows whatís wrong with the EEOC and how to fix it. The EEOCís administration has lost sight of its priorities, making strong oversight a must. Instead of wasting precious budget dollars on more bureaucracy, like the call center or restructuring, EEOC needs to address a frontline staffing crisis, which is harming customer service. "
Based on the administrationís 2008 budget request, EEOC faces its fourth year of level funding. Staffing is down at the EEOC from 2,924 to 2,250, since a hiring freeze began in 2001, i.e., a 23% slashing of the workforce. At a recent briefing, EEOC Chair Naomi Earp informed stakeholders that EEOC will face a backlog of over 100,000 cases by 2010, assuming no new resources are forthcoming.
"We are hoping that the oversight panel asks Chair Earp some tough questions about whether she has a plan to reduce the backlog and why the EEOC should not end the contract with the call center, when the agencyís own staff can do a better job of answering the publicís calls and for a fraction of the price," states Martin.
EEOCís oversight hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday May 3, 2007, Dirksen Senate Office Building 192, before the Commerce, Justice and State Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.