Personnel practices of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have come under fire by the U.S. Civil Service Commission, which has cited the agency for its poor performance on minority hiring for professional positions at its headquarters here, the overgrading of positions and violating federal regulations regarding merit promotions.
In a confidential, internal study completed in August and recently obtained by The Washington Post, the CSC said while blacks were well represented among the 450 CFTC employees nationwide, with 16.7 per cent compared to the 12.7 per cent government average, the CFTC employed only 12.7 per cent blacks in its headquarters here compared with a 24 per cent average for other Washington government offices.
The agency was criticized for its poor representation of minorities in key professional positions. The statistics cited by the CSC showed that of 53 GS-905 attorneys, only 2 were black: out of 36 GS-110 economists, only 1 was black, and out of 12 GS-1146 agricultural marketing statistics, none were black.
The Division of Enforcement and its then director, William Schief, were singled out in the report for the worst record on affirmative action. The CSC said the division, with 17 attorneys in Washington, had no women or minority members on staff. Two other division had better records for their headquarters' staffs. The Office of General Counsel had four women on its staff of 15 attorneys, while the Division of Trading and Markets had four women and one minority group member on its staff of nine attorneys.
The report said Schief told a CSC survey team that he "perceived the attorney work of his division as being unattractive or unsuited for most women." The report noted that attorneys in that division were "screened and selected by the director with no documented rating criteria or records of the rankings."
Schief was one of the officials responsible for the affirmative action program for staff attorneys, the reported noted, and was charged with identifying recruiting sources for black and female attorneys. The study said he told a CSC team this summer that he was not aware of that responsiblity and was not carrying out that duty.
Schief, who is now a partner in the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson, was out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
The CSC noted that despite the apparently poor performance an affirmative hiring practices, "there was no evidence of employee dissatisfaction with the EEO (equal employment opportunity) situation at the agency." It said only one discrimination complaint has been filed against the commission since it was founded in April, 1975.
The report pointed out that the number of women at the CFTC at all levels exceeds government averages.
The report cites as the "two most significant problems" at the agency its failure to conform to federal regulations regarding merit promotion procedures and the practice of overgrading positions.
It noted that 15 of 20 competitive promotions at the CFTC in the past year violated federal regulations. The CSC said ratings of candidates did not correspond to the rankings on civil service certificates in some cases, while in others, the violation was "the appearance of preselection; either the name of the eventual selectee was added to (the) certificate after it had been drawn up, or no one but the selected candidate was interviewed."
The study said 8 of the first 15 jobs is examined were overgraded, a practice it cited as an "inefficient use of agency funds."