The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has accused the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission of failing to show a "good faith effort" to live up to the terms of an affirmative action plan to which the commission agreed last December.
The plan requires the commission, which is responsible for parks, recreation and planning in Prince George's and Montgomery counties, to hire and/or promote enough minorities and women to meet EEOC goals by 1984.
In a strongly worded statement sent Tuesday to Commission Executive Director Thomas H. Countee Jr., EEOC officer Donna G. Swanson wrote that a review of the commission's hiring and promotion record for the six months ending June 30, 1981, "reveals that little if any progress has been made in an effort to move forward to achieve these goals in a timely manner."
She also said the EEOC will pursue "other avenues" to ensure that the agreement is enforced if the commission's third quarterly report, due Nov. 1, does not show signs of improvement.
Several commission members and some department heads, who first read the statement during the course of the commission's regular monthly meeting yesterday, immediately attacked the report as an unfair and inaccurate depiction of their efforts to improve minority and female representation among the agency's approximately 1,300 employes.
"I am deeply disturbed by this report," said Norman Christeller, vice chairman of the commission and a representative of Montgomery County.
He blamed the lack of minority representation on what he called a high rate of turnover among the best qualified minorities. "What we have become is a way station for advancing minorities who move on to other jobs with better salaries," he said.
Roy Hedgepeth, the commission's affirmative action officer, pointed out at the meeting that his office's budget had been increased by $35,000 this summer to boost recruitment efforts.
Although the EEOC's goals have been met in some areas under the commission's jurisdiction, the hiring report presented to the EEOC showed that the Montgomery County Parks Department, for example, still has no minority or women "administrators" or "officials," and only half as many minority professionals, technicians, and skilled craft people as the EEOC would like. The Prince George's County Parks Department has one administrator/official who is a black woman, but the department has not met four out of eight categories for minorities and one category for women.