Repositioning Staff to Front Lines Will Improve Customer Service, Public Access
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today approved a plan to reposition the Commission's field structure to enhance the agency's enforcement presence, improve customer service and public access, and increase efficiency.
Under the plan, no jobs will be lost, no offices will close, and two new offices will be opened, in Las Vegas and Mobile, Ala. The plan reduces the number of managers and administrators and increases front-line staff doing investigations, mediations and litigation – delivering a more streamlined and efficient structure with greater customer service and more public accessibility. The Commission voted 3-1 to approve the plan.
"Repositioning will enable the EEOC to build up its front-line staff so that charging parties and the public will get better, faster service," said Chair Cari M. Dominguez, who introduced the plan. "EEOC is expanding – not reducing – its presence. All current offices will continue to provide a full range of services, and two new offices will be opened in areas that need more service. More staff will be available for daily interactions with the public."
The public will continue business as usual with the Commission, calling, visiting and writing offices as they always have, soon with two additional offices. Charging parties may continue to file charges in any convenient EEOC office.
The Commission has been engaged in a comprehensive review of its organizational structure and operations for three years. Chair Dominguez was guided by the President’s requirement that agencies be structured to be customer-centered and results-driven. She also required that any proposal be employee-friendly so no EEOC offices would close and no employees would lose a job, be required to make a geographic move, or be downgraded.
During the past two months, Chair Dominguez, Chief Operating Officer Leonora Guarraia and other top EEOC officials have met with a host of groups representing the civil rights community, the bar, and labor unions; and with numerous Members of Congress, to discuss the plan and field questions. The agency solicited public comments on the proposal, held a public forum June 23 and posted an extensive Q&A on its website.
All input received was carefully reviewed and assessed by Chair Dominguez. As a result of that review, certain changes to the plan were made including: Moving various counties to jurisdictions of other EEOC offices; and providing that each state and local fair employment practice agency (FEPA) will have a relationship with only one EEOC district office for the purposes of administration of its contract and file review of its cases.
COO Guarraia said at today’s meeting, "Through all of this we heard several things from our staff and stakeholders: Do not close offices, do not reduce service, do not cut staff, and we listened. We heard the concerns that were raised and we have addressed every single one."
The proposal approved today is the second of three repositioning efforts to put the Commission in a more viable position to carry out its mission, given shifting demographics, a changing business environment, explosive technological advancements, and budgetary considerations, Chair Dominguez said. The first effort involved establishing a National Contact Center, on a pilot basis, as the agency strives to better serve members of the public. The third phase will involve a more streamlined Washington headquarters, with well-defined lines of responsibilities and clarification of roles. EEOC’s structure was established in 1979 at a time when EEOC had approximately 3,800 employees. With the attrition of staff in the 1980s and 1990s, EEOC’s staff today is around 2,400 employees.
The President of the National Academy of Public Administration, a bipartisan Congressionally chartered research organization, wrote Chair Dominguez on July 5, 2005: ". . . It appears to us that your proposed actions to change EEOC’s field staff are consistent with recommendations made by an Academy Panel in its February 2003 report . . . The realigned structure is designed to enhance service levels by placing more employees on the front line to work in conjunction with the recently established nationwide call center. These steps can be expected to provide necessary efficiencies."
Chair Dominguez said, "It is critical to the Commission’s continued viability that this plan be implemented as soon as possible. Any delay will only exacerbate the very concerns that the plan seeks to address and prevent the Commission from hiring new staff, attaining needed budgetary efficiencies and improving customer service."
The EEOC enforces the nation's laws in the private and federal sectors prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age and disability. These statutes include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, sections of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available online at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on July 8, 2005.
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