Inspector General’s Statements
The following is a summary of issues the Inspector General considers the most serious management challenges the Agency is confronting. These matters require not only the commitment of significant Agency resources, sound decision making by the Agency’s leadership, and continued oversight by the OIG, but also a change in management culture. Specifically, EEOC management needs to break the cycle of continuing to use its standard methods and embark on innovative processes that are more efficient and productive. Without addressing each of the following issues, the ability of the Agency to continue to meet its mission and the challenges of the 21st Century may be compromised.
The Agency’s strategic management of human capital remains a major management challenge and progress appears slow. In its June 2008 Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes that after four years, EEOC’s efforts to develop, communicate and implement a strategic human capital plan are still incomplete. In the report, GAO recommended that the Chair finalize the strategic human capital plan, on the basis of skills and competencies assessments, and develop an implementation plan for the strategies identified in the plan with stakeholder input that identifies necessary resources, responsible parties, timelines for completion, and milestones to measure progress. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) last updated the draft plan in September 2007. A recent revised plan was sent to the Chair’s office for review on September 30, 2008. We requested a copy of the document but were told by OHR managers that senior management requested that the report not be released until after their review was complete.
Another human capital concern is the vacancy left by the retirement of its Chief Human Capital Officer in June 2008. This is a key position within the agency and the individual selected for this position will serve as the agency’s chief policy advisor on all human resources management issues. Several managers within the Office of Human Resources will be serving as Acting Chief Human Capital Officer, on a rotating basis, until the position is filled. The fact that the Agency has not advertised for a Chief Human Capital Officer, more than four months after the retirement, indicates that the strategic management of human capital is not considered a high priority in the Agency. Other OHR staffing issues, such as the absence of critical skill sets and continued vacancies, further support the lack of attention to this critical Agency function. Management needs to finalize its human capital plan and ensure that it is linked to the EEOC’s Agency’s strategic plan and annual performance goals.
Finally, the agency must take steps now to ensure that a leadership pipeline exists within the current workforce that is equipped with the skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to ensure that leaders are available to lead the agency in meeting its mission and strategic goals in the future. In Chair Earp’s testimony before Congress in April 2008, she explained that there is no fully fleshed out succession planning system in the Agency and that the strategic human capital plan will include provisions for succession planning. In a document prepared by OHR entitled, Leadership Succession Management Plan: Leading into the Future, September 2007, key and mission critical leadership positions were identified but the plan did not contain information addressing movement of current employees into leadership positions. Additionally, steps must be taken to link the agency's succession planning efforts with the agency's strategic plan and to integrate succession planning into the budgetary planning process. The OHR managers indicated that they recently met with senior management to discuss a revised draft leadership succession plan. Senior management requested that the plan be submitted to the Senior Executive Service Advisory Council, established in September 2008, to obtain its input and recommendations. OIG will be provided a copy of the plan after their review is completed.
EEOC faces a major challenge in adequately addressing the growing backlog of private sector discrimination cases. This backlog, known as charge inventory, is growing rapidly and is expected to continue growing. The primary negative effect is the delay in case resolution for thousands of EEOC primary customers, the people who believe they have been discriminated against.
Preliminary Fiscal Year 2008 information indicates that EEOC received 95,000 new private sector charges. This represents 12,000 more than last year, resulting in a beginning Fiscal Year 2009 inventory of nearly 75,000 charges. This presents an enormous challenge, according to the Director of the Office of Field Programs. In order to slow growth in, and then eventually decrease inventory, EEOC needs either dramatic budget increases (which would enable hiring of many more staff to process cases) or major improvements in how efficiently it processes cases. Dramatic budget increases are extremely unlikely, therefore, EEOC needs to focus on major improvements in case processing.
In its FY 2009 budget justification, the EEOC did not propose major improvements in charge processing. EEOC has not embarked on major initiatives to reduce the inventory, or to reduce the growth of the inventory, in over 10 years. The last major initiative was the Priority Charge Handling Process (PCHP), instituted in 1995. As was reported by Chair Naomi Earp, in her April 2008 testimony before the Congress, “the charges that we receive are increasingly nuanced and more complex. This requires refocusing and making a strategic alignment to enable the Commission to continue to be effective in this twenty-first century environment.”
Without focus on major improvements there will not be a fundamental change in how well EEOC succeeds in its most important and resource-intensive activity. One of the key findings of the GAO report relating to the private sector charge inventory was the Agency’s failure to share promising management practices with all field offices. We agree with the GAO that EEOC needs to develop criteria for identifying offices that ensure quality outcomes in a timely manner and share promising practices across the agency. These efforts will contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of handling private charge case processing in a timely manner.
The EEOC remains challenged in integrating budget and performance. Without better data in this area, it is difficult to know how well EEOC performs with the resources it is given. The Agency still has the lowest possible Program Assessment Rating Tool score (Results Not Demonstrated) from the Office of Management and Budget. This means that EEOC cannot yet measure performance adequately. To address this deficiency, the EEOC, in 2007, adopted an improvement plan. Significant progress has been made, including work in the reporting period that includes identification of specific performance targets and goals. EEOC is also continuing to work with the EEOC’s Fair Employment Practices Agencies to determine effective ways to measure their contributions.
In July 2008, the Agency adopted a strategic plan that greatly reduced the performance goal and targets for private sector case resolution processing time. For 2012, the target was reduced from 75 percent to 54 percent of cases that will be resolved within 180 days. OMB did not accept the new targets, leaving the authority of the Agency’s Strategic Plan in doubt. Without solid performance data to support the lowering of performance levels, as decided by the Commission, the EEOC will likely face renewed and major challenges in determining and justifying short and long term performance targets. Until EEOC senior managers, particularly those responsible for private sector case processing, accept the need to gather and use the performance data necessary to assess performance accurately, these long-standing challenges will continue.
Such performance data can be captured using a cost accounting system. While EEOC has made progress in improving EEOC’s labor hour distribution system, the system is not robust. Without adopting and fully utilizing a more detailed cost accounting system, many resource and management requests and decisions are made without vital information. For example, EEOC staff was unable to provide adequate support to the Chair for Systemic Litigation resource request, making budget requests to Congress difficult and inferior to requests that include cost data. As a result the annual EEOC budget request contains much information on what and how much was done, rather than how well it was done.
One of the major issues that OIT faces concerns change management as it relates to providing timely and appropriate information technology resources. As the Agency and its stakeholders face changes in its workforce due to technology innovation, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been placed in a position of needing to re-engineer itself and its business processes in order to meet the current and future needs of its stakeholders. According to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), a change in the Agency’s information technology culture is required. OIT is in the process of implementing a number of recommendations that were previously provided by an independent consultant’s report that focused on OIT customer service and its ability to provide for the needs of stakeholders.
Also, as part of this change, the CIO is challenged with developing business relationships with stakeholders in order to aid in the identification of critical needs in an effort to better assist Agency program offices in accomplishing the Agency’s mission. The Chief Information Officer has made initial strides in developing business relationships through tactical planning and involving stakeholders in the information technology decision making processes. This is being accomplished through:
- Senior executive engagement;
- Sharing the CIO’s philosophy with senior OIT staff concerning how to deal with business partners (stakeholders); and
- Modeling the behavior that is to be exhibit by OIT staff.
Information gathered through the development of business partner relationships, the implementation of independent consultant’s recommendations, as well as other sources, will aid OIT in developing a new IT Strategic Plan, which replaces an earlier plan that according to the Agency’s Chief Information Officer, is out of date and does not reflect the changes that are occurring inside and outside of EEOC.
November 13, 2008
|TO:||Naomi C. Earp
|FROM:||Aletha L. Brown
|SUBJECT:||Agency Compliance with the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act
(OIG Report No. 2008-17-AIC)
The Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA), P.L. 97-255, as well as the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Circular A-123, Management Accountability and Control, establish specific requirements with regard to management controls. Accordingly, each agency head must establish controls to reasonably ensure that: (1) obligations and costs are in compliance with applicable laws; (2) funds, property and other assets are safeguarded against waste, loss, unauthorized use, or misappropriation; and (3) revenues and expenditures applicable to agency operations are properly recorded and accounted for, in order to permit the preparation of reliable financial and statistical reports, as well as to maintain accountability over the assets. FMFIA further requires each executive agency head, on the basis of an evaluation conducted in accordance with applicable guidelines, to prepare and submit a signed statement to the President disclosing that their agency’s system of internal accounting and administrative controls fully comply with requirements established in FMFIA.
EEOC Order 195.001, Internal Control Systems requires this office to annually provide a written advisory to the Chair on whether the management control evaluation process complied with OMB guidelines. On November 3, 2008, the Office of Research, Information and Planning (ORIP) submitted EEOC’s Fiscal Year 2008 Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act Assurance Statement to the President, to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for review. To make this determination OIG reviewed: (1) assurance statements submitted by headquarters and district directors attesting that their systems of management accountability and control were effective and that resources under their control were used consistent with the agency’s mission and in compliance with the laws and regulations set out in the FMFIA of 1982; (2) all functional area summary tables, and functional area reports; and (3) ORIP’s Fiscal year 2008 Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act Assurance Statement and Assurance Statement Letter, with attachments. Based on our independent assessment of this year’s process, OIG is pleased to advise you that the Agency’s management control evaluation was conducted in accordance with OMB’s standards.
Further, based on the results of audits, evaluations, and investigations conducted by OIG during Fiscal Year 2008, OIG concurs with ORIP’s assertion that the Agency had no material weaknesses during this reporting cycle.
OIG concurs with ORIP’s reporting of twenty instances of financial non-conformances. Two of those financial non-conformances were identified in FY 2007. The Agency has or is in the process of implementing corrective action plans to resolve the remaining non-conformances in FY 2009.