The Reports Consolidation Act of 2000 provides that the Inspector General of each federal agency is to describe what he or she considers to be the most serious management and performance challenges facing the agency and assess the agency’s progress in addressing those challenges. In accordance with the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000, the Inspector General prepared his annual assessment of the significant management challenges facing EEOC. The three challenges contained in this report present EEOC with areas of potential weakness requiring heightened scrutiny by agency leadership.
The Chair of the agency stated the following in her 2012 budget justification to OMB:
“EEOC’s progress toward rebuilding lost capacity has been hampered in fiscal year 2011 by the possibility of a year-long continuing resolution which would hold the agency’s appropriation at fiscal year 2010 levels. Because the EEOC was recovering from years of declining resources the prospect of level funding would be particularly damaging to our efforts to hire and train mission critical staff. Should the EEOC be held to fiscal year 2010 levels in 2011, agency plans for new hiring, as well as backfilling vacancies, would be shelved with deleterious effects on our pending inventory and customer service.”
The possibility of the agency being held to 2010 spending levels became a reality for the agency throughout FY 2011. The hiring freeze implemented during FY 2011 on backfills and new positions is projected to remain in place for FY 2012. The agency is faced with meeting all of its mission responsibilities in a budget climate that may require fundamental changes in its management culture to effectively meet major challenges including the reduction of private sector inventory, the strategic management of human capital, and the implementation of other strategies that will enable the agency to ultimately achieve its core mission prime directive.
The agency has made significant progress in strategic management of human capital including senior management approving a draft Strategic Human Capital plan and the implementation of major components of the plan. The draft Strategic Human Capital plan appears to have all of the recommended elements for the strategic management of human capital provided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
In a memorandum dated July 5, 2011, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) directed the EEOC’s leadership to implement workforce planning. The COO stated that workforce planning was needed in order to ensure that the agency maximizes use of its Compensation and Benefits (C&B) budget to hire the best employees while ensuring that, “we have the right employee in the right job to achieve the EEOC’s mission. To achieve this goal, we must begin workforce planning for FY 2012 as we enter into the last half of FY 2011 and work through the FY 2013 budget justification process.”
Examples of EEOC’s progress are the implementation of workforce planning, a key element of the strategic management of human capital, and the second launching of EEOC’s mentoring program. During the last quarter of the fiscal year the agency launched the second offering of the EEOC Mentoring Program. The EEOC mentoring program partners a group of 40 established EEOC employees (mentors) who understand the agency and its culture with junior employees (mentees) to provide opportunities for mentees to learn more about the organization and develop and broaden core competencies andleadership skills to enhance their professional growth and development.
The driving factor for this immediate shift to strategic planning for human capital is the need to maximize our compensation and benefits budget and OMB’s call for all agencies’ to reduce their appropriation requests 5–10 percent below the agency’s enacted FY 2011 level. The agency must take steps to finalize its strategic planning for human capital to ensure that it is fully staffed to continue to meet its mission of eradicating discrimination in the workplace.
EEOC’s leadership succession plan is being updated with current data for immediate release. Once the agency’s strategic plan is released, OHR managers must make aligning the Strategic Management of Human Capital plan and the succession plan a priority and work to ensure this implementation is finalized.
The EEOC has made progress but continues to face major challenges in adequately addressing the large backlog of private-sector discrimination charges. According to preliminary data, the charge inventory at the end of FY 2011 was decreased by 8,785 charges. Total receipts for 2011 were 99,947. Total resolutions were 112,499 and total pending at the end of FY 2011 was 86,921.
The Office of Field Programs (OFP) attributes its progress to its efforts to create performance goals that were more in line with the Chair’s vision on how the reduction of inventory should be achieved. OFP also attributed their progress to two new major program initiatives. One initiative focused on identifying best practices that increase the effectiveness of the work completed by front line staff including investigators, supervisors, and managers. This initiative has been partially implemented for investigators resulting in the issuance of a handbook for use in managing their individual caseloads. Similarly, OFP indicates that a handbook is being developed to help field management manage the inventories in their offices.
The second OFP initiative is currently being reviewed by agency leadership. This initiative includes an operations plan to manage and reduce charge inventory. The plan includes elements of a results oriented approach to measuring the performance of the agency in charge processing. For instance, the plan proposes to implement mechanisms to achieve consistent productivity throughout the fiscal year.
OFP lost approximately seven percent of its investigators during 2009-2010. However, despite the increasing challenges presented by a declining budget, the lost of frontline staff, and expanding enforcement responsibilities, OFP’s new program initiatives have shown a positive impact on the reduction of the charge inventory. Additional sustained progress in this area is conditioned upon approval of this plan.