By Stephen Barr
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday that she plans to overhaul the agency's field structure and will cut the number of district directors by a third.
But no employees will lose their jobs and no offices will be closed, the agency said.
Inside the EEOC, there have been discussions of reorganization plans for three years, but the agency's field officers got the official word yesterday at a meeting called by Cari M. Dominguez , the EEOC chairman.
Dominguez, in her announcement, said she has called a commission meeting for Monday to debate and vote on the reorganization plan. The commission has four members -- three Republicans and one Democrat -- and one vacancy.
The EEOC estimated that the reorganization will save several million dollars over time. Nick Inzeo , the agency's director of field programs, said the agency will reap some of the savings by abolishing some positions and filling others deemed critical to the agency's primary work.
He noted that the agency, going into the reorganization, has eight vacant Senior Executive Service positions and an empty position at the top General Schedule pay grade.
The proposal calls for redeploying staff, including some managers, to enforcement, litigation, mediation and customer service positions. The EEOC's announcement noted that the workload has been declining in some cities and that it no longer justifies large offices in those locations.
The plan will reduce from 25 to 16 the number of district directors reporting to headquarters and will put the remaining directors and regional attorneys in charge of larger geographic zones and workloads.
Nine district offices will be recast as field offices, Inzeo said. Under the proposal, the EEOC will operate with a four-tiered structure: district offices, field offices, area offices and local offices. The reorganization will permit the EEOC to open two new area offices, in Las Vegas and Mobile, Ala.
The plan also reduces the number of regional attorneys from 21 to 15. Some will continue as agency lawyers, and some may become field office directors, Inzeo said.
If the reorganization is adopted, EEOC will have one frontline supervisor for every 10 employees, the agency said. Currently, the agency has about one supervisor for every seven or eight employees. The EEOC has about 2,400 employees.
Dominguez cited changes in demographics, business practices and technology, along with budgetary considerations, as reasons for the reorganization.
Inzeo said "the biggest advantage is that we will be able to devote more of our resources to frontline positions -- investigators, attorneys and mediators. . . . That will help us to do our primary mission."
The EEOC's field structure has been in place since 1979, an agency spokesman said.
The first phase of the reorganization took place in March, when the EEOC launched its National Contact Center, a pilot project, to serve as a central point for callers with questions about discrimination and how to file complaints. The center, in Lawrence, Kan., is operated by a contractor.
After the field reorganization, the EEOC hopes to streamline its Washington headquarters, according to yesterday's announcement.Park Jobs Under Review
The National Park Service has selected three parks for a preliminary review to determine if any jobs should be put up for competition with the private sector.
The three parks are the Boston National Historical Park, the San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. During fiscal 2005, a total of 312 positions will be reviewed, according to a memo that Park Service Director Fran P. Mainella sent to employees.
The memo noted that no Park Service employee has been laid off because of job reviews, in part because early retirement and cash buyouts have been offered when staffing has been reduced.Diary Live Today
Please join me for an online discussion of federal employee and retiree issues at noon today on Federal Diary Live at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ .