President Carter will ask Congress today to approve reorganization of what a House subcommittee called the government's "weak, uncoordinated and largely ineffective" enforcement of laws banning discrimination in employment.
He is expected to ask the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission be expanded to take over enforcement powers now spread around a number of federal agencies, including the Civil Service Commission.
He is also expected to transfer some of those powers, by presidential executive order, to the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance.
The Carter program follows months of often difficult negotiations among competing federal bureaucracies anxious not to lose any of their authority, as well as civil rights and other groups outside the government. It follows the broad outlines of what administration officials were predicting as early as last spring.
It indicates Carter's confidence in an EEOC dramatically reorganized by Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is its chairman.
The plan, parts of which were made public through news leaks in October, appears to have the support of black leaders who met with Carter Dec. 14.
At that time, according to one source, the plan called for the OFCC itself to be abolished, after two years. Its current task of policing more than 325.000 government contractors employing more than 30 million people would be transferred to the EEOC.
Yesterday, however, other sources indicated that Carter might not say anything about the future of OFCC, partly in response to pressure from labor.
The plan Carter will announce today would transfer to the EEOC, among other things, the Labor Department's power to enforce laws requiring equal pay for men and women for equal work and banning age, discrimination in employment, and the Civil Service Commission's power to enforce equal employment opportunity for federal workers.
The Justice Department would keep its authority to file employment discrimination suits against state and local governments, and public education institutions.
Responsibility for keeping employment discrimination out of the programs funded with federal grants would stay with the agencies making the grants.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinating Council, often criticized as ineffective, would be abolished. It is made up of the heads of the Labor and Justice Departments, the EEOC, the Civil Service Commission, and the U.S. commission on Civil Rights.
OFCC would keep its power to emforce anti-discrimination in employment statutes for federal rehabilition programs, and for Vietnam-era veterans who went through Carter's amnesty program.
Some infighting among those with a major stake in the outcome continue almost to the last minute.
yesterday, after Sens. Abraham Ribicoff (D-Conn.), Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.), and Charles Percy (R-Ill.) sent Carter a letter raising some concerns about the transfer of Civil Service Commission powers, the head of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP, Clarence Mitchell, sent Carter a telegram.
The telegram noted "an unholy effort on the part of forces within the United States Civil Service Commission and some staff members of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs" to "undermine" that part of the plan.
It said the Civil Service Commission "is so encrusted with discriminatory practices and so filled with career people who advocate discrimination that it simply cannot be trusted to police or enforce non-discrimination policies in the federal service."