Report: EEOC failed to weigh all reorganization options

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission officials failed to adequately consider all their options when planning an agency reorganization currently under way, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

In the report (GAO-06-10), GAO found that the EEOC addressed the three main recommendations in a February 2003 study by the National Academy of Public Administration, but lacked an "organized strategy" for considering 64 other enhancements suggested by the congressionally chartered nonprofit organization.

Agency officials disputed GAO's findings, arguing that they reviewed all of NAPA's advice.

"EEOC was under no obligation to follow any of NAPA's recommendations; yet, in fact, we have implemented most of them," said Charles Robbins, an agency spokesman, in an e-mail message.

In 2002, the EEOC asked NAPA for advice on how it could realign itself to better meet its civil rights enforcement mission and improve efficiency. The resulting report is guiding ongoing efforts to reorganize the agency.

In the nearly three years since the report's publication, the EEOC has set up a nationwide call center and announced a field office restructuring designed to reduce management layers and focus more attention on front-line work. The agency has said it will next look to make changes at its headquarters.

These steps indicate that the EEOC listened to NAPA's primary recommendations, GAO said. But the auditors concluded that the agency did not thoroughly consider 64 other points in the report.

The additional suggestions included improving methods for evaluating employee performance, beefing up technology, supporting telework and enhancing training programs.

"In the last year, EEOC took major restructuring actions that could fundamentally change the way the agency serves the public," the GAO report stated. "Given its role as the preeminent anti-discrimination enforcement agency, making such important changes in how the agency is structured and operates calls for carefully considering all available options."

EEOC officials defended their efforts, providing a chart illustrating the agency's response to all 64 NAPA recommendations. GAO said, however, that the list was supplied only after the report had been completed. "EEOC officials told us on several occasions that such documentation did not exist," the report stated.

Robbins said the agency appreciates GAO's report, but noted that the auditors' assessment offers "no criticism of EEOC's current field restructuring proposal. Indeed, GAO's report focuses on the process, not the product."

Union officials, who have long been critical of the agency's handling of the reorganization, said the GAO report supported many of their complaints. The report confirmed that the restructuring effort has been "kind of all over the place," said Gabrielle Martin, president of American Federation of Government Employees National Council of EEOC Locals No. 216.

The report also showed that the EEOC "really isn't going to save any money any time soon," through the restructuring, Martin said. The field office streamlining component is projected to save $8.26 million through fiscal 2013, GAO said. But the agency won't begin to reap these benefits until fiscal 2010, "because of the immediate costs of opening two new local offices and the time needed for employees to leave their eliminated positions," the report stated.

In a statement Friday, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, said if the EEOC fails to take a more "considerate approach" to its reorganization, it risks missing "an opportunity to fully benefit from NAPA's work, become more efficient and effective, and further improve its ability to enforce the nation's civil rights laws."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.