Meeting of July 8, 2005, Washington D.C. on Field Repositioning
We are meeting today to deliberate and vote on a repositioning plan designed to do a number of things - among them: enhance our enforcement presence and service delivery; improve efficiency of operations; and reduce or eliminate expenses that threaten the financial stability of the Commission.
This is what every mission-connected organization strives to do. This is what taxpayers expect of their government. And this is what the President has asked of each federal agency. Specifically, he has asked each agency to develop a repositioning plan that is customer-centered, performance driven and results oriented. This plan accomplishes those objectives while providing the Commission with much needed efficiency and flexibility to adapt to shifting conditions in the workplace.
Over the past three years, the Commission has been engaged in a comprehensive review of its operations and organizational framework. We’ve had a lot of input from a lot of sources, both internal and external. Predictably, the comments have run the gamut, reflecting the diversity and divergence of views and competing interests that are represented among individuals and stakeholder groups. Faced with the impossibility of finding consensus in such an environment, one might consider just doing nothing, preferring inertia to take hold. But President John F. Kennedy put it best when he said, “There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”
For me, doing nothing is not an option, because the consequences are too dire to ignore. We can no longer afford a house built in the 1970’s for 3800 employees on a budget that over time has come to support an occupancy rate of 2400 employees. We can’t continue to lose line professionals such as mediators, litigators and investigators while feeding a structural design heavily laden with management layers no longer necessary in a high tech world. The Commission’s structure is an outdated liability. It was created before the telecommunications revolution and other watershed advances in organizational efficiency, and before discrimination shifted from bold and overt to subtle and sophisticated. EEOC is not yet a member of the National Historical Preservation Society, though we aspire to be someday, when we are no longer needed; for now, EEOC must remain a vital, dynamic, compelling force with a mission to eradicate discrimination; and its infrastructure must help, and not hinder, that effort. Driving a Model T Ford on the information superhighway, no matter how cute, quaint or expensive, simply won’t do.
We have a stewardship responsibility to utilize our limited resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. Streamlining will improve lines of authorities enabling us to expand coverage and enhance efficiency. Realigning our resources and strengthening our investment in front-line customer driven activities will better enable us to serve the American public. We must ensure that we maintain and vigorously enforce our laws while operating within our means without fear of furloughs or forced layoffs.
I have said from the beginning that every effort would be made to maintain EEOC’s presence and to preserve a job for every employee. This plan does that.
And while I can appreciate that each individual or stakeholder may look at this plan through their unique lens, guided by their role, position and perceived impact, ultimately it is the sum of the parts, the common good, what must guide any public process.
President Bush has exhorted all who answered his call to public service not to come into these jobs to mark time, but to make progress. I know that today we are making progress.
I want to thank all who have participated in this effort either by offering suggestions or by working through the suggestions. You have been a critical part of this work.
This page was last modified on November 14, 2005.
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