What follows is the Report of EEOC's Senate Appropriations Oversight Committee led by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Richard Shelby ( R- AL). Please note that the Committee saves EEOC from the $4 million budget cut in the administration's request for FY 07. Instead it provides the same funding as for FY 06. The report also calls for the elimination of the call center, hiring of staff, and an IG review of the impact of EEOC's restructuring. Of special note is that the report directs EEOC to reinstate the Baltimore office as a District Office.
Last month the House Report had allowed for the $4 million budget cut. The House and the Senate will meet in the coming months to agree to joint language on the budget.
Senate Report 109-280 - DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE AND JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2007
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
SALARIES AND EXPENSES
Appropriations, 2006 $326,998,000
Budget estimate, 2007 322,807,000
House allowance 322,807,000
Committee recommendation 326,998,000
The Committee recommendation provides $326,998,000. The recommendation is the same as the fiscal year 2006 enacted level and $4,191,000 above the budget request.
The Committee is concerned over the rising backlog of charges of employment discrimination at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]. The EEOC estimates that it will have a backlog of 47,516 complaints in fiscal year 2007. The Committee's recommended funding levels will result in an increase in resources to the field, where the vast majority of the agency's work gets done, while reducing funding for staffing at headquarters.
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. Given the lack of respect shown for congressional priorities and the inability of the EEOC to submit detailed budget plans, the Committee has little choice but to make specific office appropriations for the EEOC. This is a break from past practice of appropriating one amount for all of the EEOC's salaries and expenses. The Committee recommendation includes $234,198,000 for compensation and benefits, and $92,800,000 for other object classes, including travel, rent and State and local programs. The Committee directs that compensation, including salaries and expenses, be allocated to headquarters offices as follows:
Office of the Chair--$645,095;
Offices of the Vice Chair and Commissioners--$2,665,598;
Office of Executive Secretariat--$555,001;
Office of General Counsel--$6,673,265;
Office of Chief Financial Officer--$4,700,262;
Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs--$1,367,274;
Office of Equal Opportunity--$1,087,697;
Office of Federal Operations--$8,913,980;
Office of Field Programs, Headquarters--$5,260,542;
Office of Human Resources--$3,955,060;
Office of Information Technology--$1,643,785;
Office of Legal Counsel--$4,203,432;
Office of Research, Information and Planning--$4,752,912; and
Office of the Inspector General--$2,075,000.
The Committee directs that remaining amounts in salaries and expenses shall be to support existing field staff, and, with remaining amounts, to hire permanent field investigator and attorney positions.
Bill language is also included restoring the Baltimore office to a district office. Since 1990, the population of Maryland has grown by 1,770,000 people and the number of employees has increased by more than 335,000 since 1993. In keeping with these demographic trends, the Baltimore office has seen its load of charges rise steadily, more so than any other office in the country. The EEOC is directed to designate the Baltimore office a district office and to hire a regional attorney for the office.
The Committee recommends that the National Contact Center be discontinued after the pilot contract ends, in light of the findings contained in the June 29, 2006 Inspector General report on the subject. The Inspector General report concludes that the NCC, as presently operated, is not effective. It found that the NCC handled 269,693 calls, far lower than the 1.2 million calls projected by the EEOC and estimates that the NCC saves the time equivalent of 6.71 full-time equivalent employees. These conclusions make clear that the Contact Center is not serving more people, or to the EEOC's overall cost efficiencies. No funds provided in this act may be used to support the National Contact Center.
The Committee recommendation provides a $265,000 increase for the Office of the Inspector General above the fiscal year 2006 enacted level. The Committee directs the Inspector General to submit, within 90 days of enactment of this act, an evaluation of the impact the EEOC's repositioning plan has had on the delivery of core services. The report should include an evaluation of cost savings attributable to the repositioning, and the impact that the repositioning has had on the EEOC's capacity to deter, detect, and litigate violations of the Nation's civil rights laws.