EEOC To Open New Field Offices; Reduce Management Layers

The EEOC announced plans to reorganize the agency by opening two new offices, decreasing management layers and strengthening the field offices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced its plans Tuesday to reorganize the agency – plans that call for the opening of two new offices, decreases some management layers and strengthens the field offices.

EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez said the reorganization would strengthen the Commission’s field structure; improve the efficiency of its operations; and reduce or eliminate costs. Dominguez has called a May 16 Commission Meeting to deliberate and vote on the measure.

“Given the shifting demographics, changing business environment, explosive technological advancements, and budgetary considerations of our times, this plan will recast the Commission in a stronger and more viable position to carry out its mission,” Dominguez said.

The Commission has been engaged in a comprehensive review of its organizational structure and operations for the past three years. The proposal announced Tuesday is the second of three repositioning efforts. The first involved establishing a National Contact Center, on a pilot basis, as the agency strives to better serve members of the public. The third phase will involve a more streamlined Washington headquarters, featuring defined lines of responsibilities and clarification of roles.

The proposal announced Tuesday is designed to:

* Enhance EEOC’s enforcement presence: All current EEOC offices will remain open and, recognizing demographic and workload shifts, additional offices will be opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Mobile, Alabama.

* Protect EEOC jobs: The proposal is designed to ensure that no EEOC employee will lose a job and there will be no reduction in force.

* Effect long-term cost reductions to position EEOC to invest in programs: Once the repositioning is fully implemented, it is anticipated that there will be several million dollars in cost savings.

* Redeploy resources to line positions for better customer service: By reducing layers of management and other staff redundancies, overhead expenses will be lowered and EEOC’s management structure will be flattened, especially in cities where the workload does not justify a larger field office any longer, so that there will be an agency-wide ratio of one first-line supervisor for every 10 employees.

* Reduce the span of control that headquarters office directors have in relationship to the field thus ensuring more effective communication: The proposal reduces by more than a third (from 25 to 16) the number of field office directors reporting to the headquarters office; a similar reduction to 15 field reporting units will be realized for the general counsel.

* Expand jurisdictional responsibilities for district directors and regional attorneys: District directors and regional attorneys will be responsible for larger geographic areas, larger workloads, and will exercise greater leadership that is commensurate with their executive rank.

* Enhance consistency and uniformity among district offices: The reduced span of control by headquarters and the increased span of control by field directors will ensure more consistency in EEOC’s operations.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47