The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Remarks of Reuben Daniels, Jr.
District Director, Charlotte District Office
Former Acting Director, Office of Field Programs
Madame Chair, Madame Vice Chair, Commissioners, General Counsel, Guests and all EEOC Staff. My name is Reuben Daniels, Jr., District Director of the Charlotte District Office. Thank you for the opportunity to share a few observations on the tasks before us from my perspective as a Field Office Director who also has had the privilege to serve as Acting Director, Office of Field Programs
(OFP) for 9 months of this fiscal year.
The most surprising moment of my 24 year career with the EEOC occurred just over one year ago when I was called early one morning by the COO, at the request of the Chair, and invited to come serve as Acting Director, OFP as the then Director was retiring in about two weeks. Relieved to find my 1st phone call from
the COO did not have immediate adverse employment implications, I rushed home to explain to my wife that her moving to Charlotte, North Carolina from Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July, 2002 and my going on detail to Headquarters in September, 2002
was really GOOD timing and cause for celebration. We had spent nearly 17 of my
first 20 years with the agency in Milwaukee, the last seven as the Regional Attorney
before I began the move to Charlotte in November, 1999. I returned to Charlotte
from the detail here in HQ some nine months later after a rich and enlightening
The Office of Field Program's primary responsibility is the administrative
enforcement of the Federal Statutes prohibiting employment discrimination in the
public and private sectors. OFP has lead responsibility for the Administrative and
Enforcement oversight of the 51 field offices located throughout the country and the
dedicated staff that perform the work of this agency. I will use this time to
highlight span of control, staffing and workload concerns.
II. STATE OF THE AGENCY ENFORCEMENT
The Chair and agency leadership implemented a 5 Point Plan nearly two
years ago through which the agency would accomplish its vision and mission. It
built upon prior changes such as the Priority Charge Handling Procedures through
which the agency has improved its charge processing operations bringing inventory
and average charge processing times to historic lows. The 5 Point Plan has
broadened the reach of the agency through increased Education, Outreach,
Mediation and Strategic Enforcement and Litigation.
- The agency has a legacy of stellar achievements in spite of significant internal as well as external obstacles. I will focus on a few internal obstacles.
- The Office of Field Programs currently has three major program functions with Program Directors and a total of 66 staff allocated/56 on board.
- The program areas are Field Management Programs (FMP), Field Coordination Programs (FCP) and State and Local Programs (SLP). The 24 District Offices and their affiliated 27 Area and Local offices have program development, implementation and reporting responsibilities to each of these offices that frequently overlap or require use of related resources to achieve agency goals.
- Outreach, Education and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR/mediation) central themes to our Enforcement efforts in Private sector and Federal Sector are located in FCP at the Headquarters level while the vast majority of our staff resources report through FMP. The success of the field offices in conducting more than 4,100 Outreach events reaching nearly 361,000 people last year could not have occurred without the use of Investigators, Hearings and Legal
resources whose primary goals are set outside FCP. The initiatives on ADR with the state Fair Employment Practice Agencies (FEPA's) did
not clearly fit within SLP, FCP/ADR or FMP which does overall
program management. Field offices have staff assigned to cover all
these functional areas but must constantly track which HQ office has the lead for a particular project or initiative. Resource allocation is often more competitive than collaborative.
- Most District offices have State and Local Coordinators that report accomplishments to OFP-SLP. However, in addition to other district investigative and legal resources that may be utilized for case reviews and processing, that program now has Outreach, and in a few pilot offices, Mediation responsibilities that require coordination with Field Coordination Programs. The launching of the FEPA Mediation Pilot this fiscal year at times seemed like a bad replay of "Who's on First"
as we sorted out responsibility for various parts of the pilot between FMP, SLP and OFP-Admin. with a healthy dose of input from OLC and OCFOAS. The Director FCP finally pulled the pieces into a coherent whole and it is now in process.
- The 24 designated District Offices, equivalent in ranking, range in staffing allocations from 28 to 130 persons. The management level
staffing for Deputy Directors and/or Enforcement Managers is uneven across the organization with no clear correlation to office
- Current staffing profiles for many field offices do not match the agency
workload due to changes in population, economic conditions and
staffing restrictions as a result of budget constraints. The agency for
several years has moved charges from the receiving office to another
office for investigation to balance workload and assure reasonably
timely investigations. The agency this year, authorized the movement
of nearly 3,000 private sector charges and more than 1,000 Federal
Sector complaints to match them with available staff. It is anticipated
that FY '04 program planning will require the movement of over 3,800
private sector charges and over 1,100 Federal Sector complaints.
- During my time in OFP, we found it was imperative that cases be moved - sometimes to geographically distant offices - to be
investigated and resolved. Failure to do so would have been a
disservice to our customers and staff; our customers would have
suffered additional processing delays and staff in the "sending" offices would have been left with substantially larger workloads and processing assumptions than their peers in other offices. This movement however runs counter to our desire for increased on-site investigations and assuring the parties access to the investigators.
- The staffing freeze for the past two years only partially accounts for the workload imbalance. As you heard earlier from Mr. Elkins,
population shifts and changing employment demographics have clear
- However, we must not ignore the fact that the agency lost nearly 140 investigators from the start of FY 2000 through March FY '03. Our
Investigators averaged 113 resolutions per year for the period
FY'1999 through FY'2002. We have now lost capacity for 15,820 resolutions per year. This means that despite ending FY '02 with a record low inventory - a level or continuously rising Intake will result
in sharply increasing pending inventories and backlogs.
- The staffing and span of control for Program Managers in Headquarters
is also extremely uneven. When I arrived, OFP Program Managers had
responsibilities for staff that ranged from allocations of 12 to 22 staff
for equivalent level managers. The Director of OFP had 23 direct
reports in the District Offices, along with an additional 10 direct
reports of senior staff and support staff in Headquarters and the WFO.
- Program Managers frequently confront issues related to program
consistency among the District offices. As we strive to present a
consistent face to the public as regards access and services while
empowering managers to make local decisions, we frequently struggled
to avoid the exceptions swallowing the rule. For example, as we
prepared to launch local home pages for all the District offices that
described services and local access, we found even providing choices
from 4 templates still brought requests for more flexibility on content.
Controlled correspondence on charge processing often revealed
different experiences with charge processing options for customers
depending upon where the parties were located.
III. CURRENT ISSUES/FUTURE CHALLENGES
These structural challenges and overlaps, combined with the recurring need to
move workload as a stop-gap measure to compensate for staffing imbalances, have
been chronic challenges for this agency. As you know, the agency's current efforts
to find long-term solutions began with the directive we received from the Office of
Management and Budget in May, 2001, which set forth workforce planning and
restructuring requirements for all federal agencies. This OMB Bulletin, No. 01-07,
implements the goal of making federal government more citizen centered. It
directed EEOC, and each federal agency, to develop a five-year restructuring plan to
streamline agency operations, with two objectives:
- to deploy resources to direct service delivery positions that interact with citizens; and
- to flatten the federal hierarchy, reduce the time it takes to make decisions, and reduce the numbers of layers in government.
- An earlier memo on "Hiring Controls" noted the President's goal of
reducing management ranks that included de-layering of management
levels to streamline organizations. The major result of this process is
to make Government more citizen-centered; reducing the number of
layers in the upper echelons of Government and redistributing higher-
level positions to front-line, service delivery positions that interact with
customers. This reduces the time it takes to make decision and reduces
the layers of government.
- The agency commissioned a study by the National Academy of Public
Administrators (NAPA) to assist with preparation of the 5 Year
Restructuring Plan pursuant to the President's Management Agenda
and to seek ways to make the agency more efficient and effective
through its organizational and financial structures.
The NAPA report focused on three overarching identified areas of concern for OFP:
- a National Call Center for information distribution and electronic charge intake; ( and I note here you will hear more on this from Cynthia Pierre, Director of Field Management Programs , who led a workgroup earlier this year to study the feasibility of a
National Call Center before the NAPA report was issued);
- a streamlined field structure that acknowledges the need for staff capabilities throughout the country for investigations,
mediations, education and outreach and utilizes technology to
enhance and expand that presence outside current, traditional
brick and mortar structures; and
- organization of Headquarters to establish a more balanced
distribution or functional capacities. (The emphasis here was on
enhanced prevention and mediation strategies.)
The variation in workload and staffing profiles for the field District offices seems to support the NAPA recommendations for restructuring of the field office alignment. An objective review of the variations in office workloads, staffing, local and national demographic trends and employment trends requires we re-visit the current District Office and Headquarters office configurations. The disparity for offices of
equivalent rankings is striking and the continued movement of
workload to staff runs counter to our national goals of quality customer service and efficient operations.
- The NAPA report suggests clearer lines of demarcation between program areas such as Prevention and Technical Assistance,
Enforcement and Mediation. I note the field offices have responsibility for all three program areas residing with the District Director. In an era of limited resources and cross functional interaction, the efficient use of staff and resources may require we more closely align the Headquarters organization to the current field structure as opposed to further isolating these program areas for planning and oversight purposes.
The choices confronting this Commission are large with long ranging
consequences. Civil Rights enforcement is a issue that requires commitment,
passion and the will to do the right thing despite our biases or self interests. All
members of the EEOC family must understand the choices you make are larger than
any individual circumstance. Your choices must reflect that which is best for the
mission and the customers on whose behalf we have dedicated our life's work. This
is a moment in time, when this community of believers whom you have invited here
today, must rise and shape Civil Rights enforcement for the next 40 years. This is
the time when we must wisely and boldly plan an organization whose staffing,
workload distribution and organizational structure insures citizens and decision
makers are in close proximity and services are delivered in the most efficient and
effective manner possible. Above all, this is a time to be certain our organization,
staffing and work processes are true to our mission.
This concludes my statement and I thank you for the opportunity to speak
with you on the current state of the agency as we confront new realities for the 21st
This page was last modified on September 9, 2003.
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