The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Meeting of July 28, 2008 - Obligation of Funds and Modifications to the FY 2007-2012 Strategic Plan





RONALD COOPER General Counsel
REED RUSSELL Legal Counsel

This transcript was produced from a video tape provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.



  1. Announcement of Notation Votes
  2. Motion to Close a Portion of the
    Next Commission Meeting
  3. Obligation of Funds for a
    Competitive Time-and-Materials
    Contract for Hardware Maintenance
    Technical Support
  4. Modifications to the FY 2007-2012
    Strategic Plan


(1:09 p.m.)

CHAIR EARP: Good afternoon, everyone. The meeting will now come to order. Thank you all for being here. In accordance with the Sunshine Act, a part of today's meeting is open to public observation of the Commission's deliberations and voting.

At this time I am going to ask Bernadette Wilson to announce any notation votes that have taken place since the last Commission meeting.

Ms. Wilson?

MS. WILSON: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Madam Vice Chair, Commissioners. I am Bernadette Wilson from the Executive Secretariat.

We would like to remind our audience that questions and comments from the audience are not permitted during the meeting. And we ask that you carry on any conversations outside the meeting room, departing and reentering as quietly as possible. Also, please take this opportunity to turn your cell phones off or to vibrate mode.

I would also like to remind the audience that, in addition to the elevators, in case of emergency, there are stairways down the halls to the right and left as you exit this room. Additionally, the restrooms are down the hall to the right.

During the period July 19th, 2008 through July 25th, 2008, the Commission acted on three items by notation vote:

Approved litigation on two cases; and,

Approved a request to close a portion of the July 28th Commission meeting.

Madam Chair, it is appropriate at this time to have a motion to close a portion of the next Commission meeting in case there are any closed meeting agenda items.

CHAIR EARP: Thank you, Ms. Wilson.

Do I hear a motion?


CHAIR EARP: Is there a second?


CHAIR EARP: Any discussion?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Madam Chair, I have a question. In one of the notices for today's meeting, I noticed there was a litigation recommendation that was noticed for this meeting that I have been told has been postponed.

I just wanted to make sure that we would consider that at the next meeting. I was told that we likely would. And I just wanted to get assurances that we would since under the language that I see in the voting sheet, that if there was a hold put on an amicus recommendation that it shall be taken up at the next meeting, which is today.

I have no problems holding it off until the next meeting if it doesn't interfere with the litigation, but I just wanted to make clear or to find out what we plan to do with it.

CHAIR EARP: Well, as you know, litigation is solely within the purview of the General Counsel. We did notice litigation for today's meeting. And when the General Counsel is ready to move forward, he will let us know.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Well, but no, that’s actually contrary to the language on the sheet that is circulated. The sheet says if someone puts it on hold, which members of the Commission did, or at least one member did, it shall be taken up at the next Commission meeting, and which I read "shall" to mean “shall,” and that we will take it up at the next Commission meeting. In this case, I understand that certain deadlines have been pushed back, so there’s more time we have, in fact, to consider whether to do this or not. I just want to make sure that we can deal with this at the next meeting. I was told it was supposed to come up at the next meeting.

CHAIR EARP: If there is active litigation, that will happen. I don't know at this point that there will be, but assuming that there is, the plan is to review that amicus brief at the August 6th meeting.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: So you're saying as long as there is active litigation in that case we will take it up at the next meeting?

CHAIR EARP: If we’re not pursuing it, Commissioner, I don't see the point in discussing it.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Well, no, it’s an amicus recommendation.


COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: It’s within our purview whether to file it or not. So I guess I don't understand, the General Counsel could obviously withdraw his proposal. And that’s certainly within his prerogative, but if it’s still pending, I’m assuming that we would take it up under the terms of the form that has circulated to members of the Commission.

CHAIR EARP: If it’s still pending, we will take it up at the August 6 meeting.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Very good. Thank you, Madam Chair.

CHAIR EARP: Now, where was I? Discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIR EARP: Hearing none, all those in favor, signify by saying aye.

ALL: Aye.

CHAIR EARP: Opposed?

(No response.)

CHAIR EARP: The "ayes" have it, and the motion is carried. Thank you, Ms. Wilson.

The first item on today's agenda is the Obligation of Funds for a Competitive Time-and-materials Contract for Hardware Maintenance Technical Support. Kimberly Hancher, our Chief Information Officer, is here to make the presentation.

Ms. Hancher? Welcome, Kim. I guess we don't consider you a new employee any longer.

MS. HANCHER: That's right. I think the honeymoon is over.

CHAIR EARP: I think you're right.

MS. HANCHER: So I have really enjoyed the invitation to prepare for the meeting today. Thank you, Madam Chair and Vice Chair, General Counsel, Commissioners. Thanks very much for the opportunity to brief you about this hardware maintenance contract.

We have quite a bit of aging information technology hardware, both in Headquarters and in the field. Those include printers and servers, projectors, fax machines, scanners, and a number of other equipment.

And the agency has always relied on a nationwide contract to provide the services to support repairs and preventative maintenance of its equipment.

We’re approaching the end of a five.year contract. And Commission approval is required to obligate funds in awarding a new multi.year contract. OIT is asking for Commission approval to obligate these funds.

This is a comprehensive parts, repair, and replacement when equipment breaks. And, as I mentioned earlier, the equipment includes but is not limited to printers, servers, projectors, fax machines. It's the kind of equipment that each of us has in our offices.

There’s flexibility in the contract to add equipment types and models as we need support. So when we talk about support, it's repair, remedial, corrective.type maintenance, preventative maintenance, and the technical assistance that's needed sometimes to troubleshoot exactly where the problem is with hardware.

The equipment that's covered is aging, and a lot of it has passed its useful life, so the repairs are very important to keep it in operation until it can be replaced.

We’ve had good experience in terms of having responsive parts and service when needed. With aging IT equipment, it’s important to have it repaired when it makes sense and then replace it when it makes sense.

With this particular program, it’s a time.and.materials, that means you pay as you go. You pay for the labor hours and for the parts that you actually use.

In the field, we have field IT specialists who are the primary point of contact when a piece of equipment is malfunctioning or in need of repair. And for equipment that’s covered by this contract, we typically need either parts or service to put it back in service. And in some cases, we have replacement devices that are brought in.

The, I guess time.sensitive nature is that we’re approaching the end of a contract life, and we have an active solicitation for a new contract.

The field staff, especially front.line staff, depend on this hardware to do their jobs every day. And so it’s an important support contract from that standpoint.

Thank you.

CHAIR EARP: Okay. Thank you, Kimberly.

We will now have comments, questions from my fellow Commissioners. Madam Vice Chair?

VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: I have no questions at this time except to say welcome. I'm sorry.

MS. HANCHER: Oh, thank you.

VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: Welcome to the Commission officially.

MS. HANCHER: Thanks.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Welcome as well. I’ve had a number of meetings with you. It’s good to have you on board.

One of my issues that I’ve raised in past meetings on IT procurement is a whole issue of context, of how do these various expenditures that we see towards the end of the Fiscal Year usually and usually in substantial amounts, how does this fit into the larger context in which we’re looking at?

And I would like to know what the plans are over the next few years for Fiscal '09 and Fiscal '10 for IT expenditures. And I realize that budgets change and budgets are subject to other controls, but what I’d like to know is, what do we have planned for the big picture over the next two upcoming Fiscal Years, and how does this fit into that picture?

MS. HANCHER: Well the agency is looking in the next three months, July, August, and September, in preparing for the Headquarters move, so that’s one of our big IT items. In the first quarter of next Fiscal Year, we’re going to actually be moving, so that's October, November, and December.

I think that it’ll take a little time to settle into the new location. And one of the things that we’ll be working on next Fiscal Year is the desktop equipment that we have right now, that’s under lease. So leased laptops for the most part in the field and at the present time the agency has desktop PCs in Headquarters. And those will also be ready for replacement. So in FY 2009, we’ll be replacing laptops and desktop computers for the agency.

And the desktop support, whether it be the hardware, the software licenses, the maintenance of all of that hardware, you know, it represents probably about a quarter of our overall IT spending, a little under, between 20 and 25 percent of the overall IT spending.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: What about for the following year? What’s planned for IT expenditures for fiscal 2010?

MS. HANCHER: In 2010, the agency is likely to be working on; I would say probably its electronic communications. We have an e.mail system that is also aging. And we will in 2010 be evaluating the different offerings in the market and most likely working on e.mail system enhancement.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: And do you have any estimation of how much something like this, both for acquiring both Headquarters and field computers for personnel as well as e.mail systems for the future, how much all of that will cost?

MS. HANCHER: We have some preliminary estimates. The market is really changing for electronic mail systems, and traditionally agencies have spent a good portion of their IT budget on sort of an enterprise.level messaging system.

So we do have some preliminary estimates that were put together before I came to the agency. And I would be looking at the current market offerings, like I said, probably next Fiscal Year to update those costs.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: But how much would it cost us for Fiscal '09 when we have to replace, either by purchase or by lease, the computers for people at Headquarters and in the field? How much is that likely going to cost given the knowledge that you have today?

MS. HANCHER: Well, the cost to purchase, to actually own equipment, is much higher as a one.time expenditure. Cost to lease, you know, obviously you spread over multiple years. And that’s one of the things that we’ll be doing in Fiscal Year 2009 is analyzing what the costs are for lease versus ownership of that desktop equipment.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: But that’s unresponsive to my question. My question is, how much would it likely cost to do that given what we know today? Not to hold you to those costs but what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to get the context for this expenditure here, where we’re spending half a million dollars over five years for this hardware support.

And I’m trying to get in the scheme of things how this plays in and, frankly, what other sorts of expenditures are going to be coming in front of the Commission both in the next few weeks and over the course of the next few years.

MS. HANCHER: The desktops, hardware, software, maintenance, and that sort of thing, are typically about 20 percent of the overall IT spending.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Which is how much in dollar terms?

MS. HANCHER: In FY '08? Can I share that? I think it's roughly four percent of the agency's appropriated budget.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Which is how much money?

MS. HANCHER: I think for 2008, our appropriation is about 330 million. And so 4 percent is a little under 12 million.

CHAIR EARP: Rather than guess, would you allow Ms. Hancher to provide that information for you?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Well, Madam Chair, frankly, I had a meeting with Ms. Hancher this morning, and I informed her that I’d be asking these specific questions during the meeting, and I asked that she be prepared to answer these questions during the course of the meeting.

So, frankly, it’s disappointing to hear during the meeting that the answers, which should be readily available, are not being provided.

But my time is up. And I will yield to my colleagues as we go around during the course of the questions.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Griffin?

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: This actually probably doesn't go to Kimberly so much as to sort of the overall issue that Stuart’s raised and is about, you know, what is the game plan and is there priority because we are looking at all of these contracts piecemeal. And it adds up to a lot of money, and you have different briefings, and you go out and visit field offices, and you hear about all of these other things. So it would be helpful to know, is there a game plan a couple of years out? Because we’re doing a lot of things, and we’re spending a lot of money.

I know that we were having a briefing on federal sector issues with regard to the annual report of the federal workforce. And it became clear there that we have a huge problem in that we have one person entering all of the data and we can't do any of this electronically. And it's a huge problem, and it's going to take a chunk of money to fix.

And so that's just one example of many where we need to be dedicating resources to a big IT fix that, frankly, I think puts us at a huge disadvantage in this day and age.

And while I know that there are competing interests, it would be nice to have a sense of where all this fits in. And so we know for the next meeting, we’re going to be possibly entertaining a vote on or prior to that a vote on several IT contract issues, and it would be good to see what the big plan is.

I don't know if Kimberly knows it and can’t tell us, but somebody I think, you know, has an idea where we’re going a couple of years out, or should have. And I’d be interested in that.

MS. HANCHER: Well, I think that one of the things that the Chief Operating Officer has asked is that I prepare an IT briefing for agency management and to give that kind of long.term view: where we are today, where do we need to go in the future, and how do we get there. And I will work on putting that together for the management of the agency.

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: Well, I would just hope that we’re clear. A lot of times I think some of these briefings are given to department heads, and they’re asked to weigh in on what they think is a priority when, in fact, we’re the ones actually voting for this stuff. I would appreciate us being able to weigh in on that as well.

CHAIR EARP: Anything else, Commissioner?

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: No, that's all I have, but I would like, you know, to see that.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Barker?


CHAIR EARP: Kim, how long have you been an EEOC employee?

MS. HANCHER: Let's see, mid March, so I think it’s going on four months.

CHAIR EARP: Okay, did you inherit short.range and long.range priorities, recommendations, proposals on IT?

MS. HANCHER: Yes. There were a number of them.

CHAIR EARP: Have you had sufficient time at this point to discern what the priorities should be or brief all the interested parties or develop what your own recommendations to the Commission would be?

MS. HANCHER: I have not quite had enough time. I'm working on it, but I'm not quite at that point yet.

CHAIR EARP: Okay, thank you.

Second round of questions. Vice Chair?

VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: I have no questions.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Ishimaru?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Let me turn back to this contract we have in front of us. This is a time.and.materials contract, which, as you explained, is when you pay for what you use. Could you lay out for me how it’s worked under the existing contract over the last few years, how much we were spending each year, and how the terms of the contract differed from what’s in front of us, what the proposal is now?

MS. HANCHER: The agency is in its fifth year of a contract, so over the past five years it has used this time.and.materials basis. Prior to that it…

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: So for the last year we were also paying as we used it?

MS. HANCHER: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: So it was not a fixed.priced, blanket contract?

MS. HANCHER: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: It was as we used it? Okay.

MS. HANCHER: And prior to that contract, the agency had a number of maintenance contracts where you cover every piece of equipment. It’s kind of like if you go to Best Buy and you buy a television, they offer you extended warranties. And some of us choose to pay for those extended warranties, some don't. And then, so essentially whenever you buy new equipment, you're actually purchasing it for ownership, you have a warranty period, sometimes it's one year, sometimes two, three. And so the agency paid to cover all of its equipment. But as equipment ages, it’s no longer cost.effective to cover all of it. So we were able to reduce the cost quite a bit in going to a time.and.materials. So that’s kind of the historical view before this contract. And then during this contract, we’ve paid significantly less per year than the prior contract.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: How much has it been per year for the last five years? Maybe Valerie can help you because at the briefing we had on this, we were actually provided with numbers.

MS. HANCHER: Yes, if that’s okay to share, then I would be happy to do that. The 2005.2006 costs were about 80,000. The 2006.2007 costs were about 70,000. And to date, we’re at about 50,000.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: So it’s been well under the 100,000 threshold?

MS. HANCHER: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: And you believe that this will continue for the future somewhere in that range?

MS. HANCHER: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Is it your feeling that there’s enough servicing going on that under the existing contract using a time.and.materials contract, that, there is sufficient repair work going on in a timely fashion?

MS. HANCHER: Well, I think that it depends on the people in some cases because the repaired equipment has to be reported, so to speak, by someone. And the field IT specialists are the primary point of contact for those repairs.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Those people are not under your control it’s my understanding?

MS. HANCHER: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: They’re under the Office of Field Programs?

MS. HANCHER: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: So your relationship, the Office of Information Technology relationship with those persons, could you talk about that?

MS. HANCHER: Sure. We provide technical direction to those people, do it in a number of formats, electronic mail, quarterly meetings, audio/video.type conferences, and memorandum. And then we also have the OIT help desk, which is the type of communication.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: One final question, Madam Chair, last week there was a problem with the server in the Memphis District Office, and it took more than, it appeared, 48 hours to resolve that problem. Is that the typical level of response you would expect under the contract that’s in front of us? It would seem to me that having a server down for, really, the course of three working days is really an unacceptable situation to be in. And the fact that Memphis had no capacity to deal with a network communication system was troubling.

Is that the standard we’re looking at under this new contract?

MS. HANCHER: I think that we’re going to do a postmortem to find out what can be done better on the people side, on the EEOC side, as well as on the contractual side. But the kind of every time you have an outage, you learn something new, and it gives you a new scenario to learn from. I would say that the goal would be to get the field site up and operational as quickly as possible.

In this particular case there were a couple of hardware failures that happened in tandem with the facility, air conditioning going down, being summer. And so both drives in this particular case happened to have failed. And that is the fail.soft on servers, is the primary drive and the backup drive. So in this case, the triage, the troubleshooting to find out where the source of the problem is required two steps, instead of one. So it ended up being a replacement server after two replacement drives were sent the first day of the outage. So it was a pretty complex problem in this particular case.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: But is the time period appropriate? Under this contract, should this be the standard that we should be looking at or should it be a faster resolution to the problem?

MS. HANCHER: I think that’s a good question for us to ask ourselves as we look at the overall network architecture for our communication systems.

You know, right now we have a very decentralized hardware base. There are 53 different servers in 53 different offices. And while that might have been at the time that it was implemented, there may be some other architectures that would be more appropriate.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Well, thank you for your presentation.

Madam Chair, I must say that if the servers went down at the Headquarters for hours, over 3 working days, that I think both you and I would find not acceptable. And I’m not quite sure how this contract will actually resolve questions like that. But I thank you for the time.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Griffin?

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: I just want to ask, would it be possible to have this briefing that you’re contemplating for us before .. I think I misspoke and said that at the next meeting we were going to be taking up .. there's a possibility that maybe not next meeting but the meeting after that. We may be looking at some things before us with regard to IT contracts. Would it be possible to get that briefing before then so we can put all of this in context before we vote? Is that a possibility?

MS. HANCHER: We'll work towards that.

CHAIR EARP: Yes, absolutely. And I think when you brief the Commissioners, you can lay out your vision, even though you’ve only been with us a short time; you canvas the staff; talk to the stakeholders, including the Commissioners' offices; formulate your vision for where we should go with short.term and long.term objectives, not just of expenditures but what the priorities are, data collection is one; Office of General Counsel has a number of things that they need to do; technological support of systemic is a top priority; being able to have a paperless administrative complaint process is a priority. There are just a number of things that need to be thought out and prioritized in terms of cost and the value that we get. They will understand and appreciate that you are getting this directive here today, and you will not have enough time to fully flesh out a strategic IT plan, but give it your best shot.


COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: So I guess, even though Kimberly inherited some short and long.term goals, the reality is, currently there is no sort of game plan. We are doing this piecemeal?

CHAIR EARP: No, there is a plan, but I would describe it as an evolving one. Given the level of customer service that the Commission has had over a long period of time in IT, I think much of the current plan, proposal, consultants' reports really need to be assessed in light of where we are today.

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: All right. Thank you.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Barker?

COMMISSIONER BARKER: No further questions.

CHAIR EARP: Nothing? Commissioner Griffin, anything else?


CHAIR EARP: Then in light of our discussion coming to a close, is there a motion to approve the Obligation of Funds for a Competitive Time.and.materials Contract for the Hardware Maintenance Technical Support?


CHAIR EARP: Is there a second?


CHAIR EARP: Any discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIR EARP: Hearing none, all those in favor, please say aye.


CHAIR EARP: Opposed?


CHAIR EARP: The item is approved.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Madam Chair, I would ask for a roll call vote, please.

CHAIR EARP: Okay. Starting with the Vice Chair?


CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Griffin?


CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Ishimaru?


CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Barker?


CHAIR EARP: And I vote aye. The item is approved, three votes in favor, two votes against. Thank you.

The next item on today's agenda, on the open part of the agenda is Modifications to the 2007-2012 Strategic Plan. At the June 18th meeting, the Commissioners sent a very strong message that they want to be involved and they want to be informed. The vote on the Strategic Plan failed at that meeting, with a majority voting no. In the interim, Ms. Flippen and her staff have worked diligently to try to be responsive to what the Commissioners would like to see.

I’d like to thank the Vice Chair for stepping up and working very, very hard to try to formulate a compromise, to put together goals that we can all live with. And I will ask Ms. Flippen to come forward to present the modifications.

MS. FLIPPEN: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Madam Vice Chair, and Commissioners, my name is Deidre Flippen. I am the Director of the Office of Research, Information, and Planning, and beside me is Jay Friedman, who is the Director of the Strategic Planning and Management Controls Division within my office.

I am here to present the EEOC's Modified Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2007 through 2012 for your consideration and approval. As you know, we presented a previous version of the Strategic Plan for your approval at the Commission meeting on June 18, 2008. Since it was not approved at that time, we have been engaged in conversations with each of you to discuss proposals for further modifications that would be acceptable.

Before I review the key revisions that were made to the previous version of the Plan, I want to highlight two important points that could inform your deliberations today. As I noted at the June meeting and reviewed subsequently in our individual discussions, the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, known as GPRA, requires federal agencies to implement an over.arching Strategic Plan to guide the organization as it engages in activities to achieve its mission. The Plan has to cover at least a six.year period, but it has to be reviewed and updated at least every three years.

Our current Plan was issued on October 1, 2006 and covered the six.year period from Fiscal Year 2007 through Fiscal Year 2012. Since GPRA requires us to review and issue a new Plan within three years, the agency will have to begin its review within the next few months in order to meet the three.year GPRA time frame and issue a new Plan no later than October 1, 2009 or Fiscal Year 2010. The six.year period of coverage for the new Plan will include Fiscal Years 2010 through 2015.

Also, during some of the discussions, there was a concern that the Plan was abbreviated and did not raise or expand upon many of the important agency issues and initiatives. GPRA requires a Strategic Plan to contain specific broad elements; for example, a mission statement, measures of performance, identified external factors affecting an agency's ability to achieve results; and a program evaluation schedule. GPRA also requires agencies to provide the public and stakeholder groups with an opportunity to comment upon the proposed Strategic Plan, consult with Congress, and receive prior approval from OMB before issuing the Plan. EEOC met all of these requirements for all of its Plans, including the one issued on October 1, 2006.

GPRA's guidance specifically does not require any particular form or approach agencies have to use for their Plans. GPRA does not restrict an agency from expanding upon the themes and issues in its Strategic Plan. Federal agencies have issued a variety of Plans with a wide variation in their scope and substance since GPRA was passed.

Over the years, the EEOC has honed the information it has chosen to include in its present Plan. Aside from the modifications we have made since we first issued the current Plan, the text and the issues covered in the Plan have basically remained the same. However, nothing prevents the agency from designing a very different Plan for its next iteration.

I now want to briefly describe the key modifications made in the version of the Plan before you today compared to the earlier version presented to you in June.

Four key modifications were made to the Plan: three with our performance measures and one with our program evaluation schedule.

For our performance measures, we propose revising the methodology used to measure the baseline value, annual targets, and final goal for Long.term Measure 2, revising the annual targets and final goal currently established for Annual Measure 2.1, and removing Annual Measure 2.7. Let me take a moment to briefly explain these revisions.

Long.term Measure 2 gauges the public's confidence in EEOC's ability to enforce the federal equal employment laws for which it is responsible. To obtain a Fiscal Year 2007 baseline value for this measure, and identify annual targets and a final goal through Fiscal Year 2012, the agency engaged an outside contractor to conduct a nationwide telephone survey to measure the public's level of confidence in the EEOC. Respondents to the survey were asked a specific question about their confidence in EEOC's enforcement of the federal laws by selecting a score on a ten.point scale.

Initially the agency reported the aggregate responses with scores in the eight to ten range to represent confidence in the EEOC. After our discussions within the Commission, we are proposing a revision in the range used to measure the public's confidence in the EEOC from the eight to ten scores to an aggregation of the seven to ten scores. After careful consideration, this modification is warranted because we believe that the scores in the seven to ten range more appropriately measure the public's confidence in the EEOC's enforcement of its laws. The revision raises the baseline value for Fiscal Year 2007 from 47.8 percent to 61 percent. Based on this higher baseline, we also revise our future target and goal, expecting 65 percent of the public surveyed to have confidence in the EEOC's ability to enforce the federal equal employment laws by Fiscal Year 2012.

Annual Measure 2.1 addresses the percentage of private sector charges that are resolved in 180 days or fewer. The agency has had this measure for many years in different Strategic Plans. It has been important to focus on providing time.sensitive resolutions to significant portions of our workload while ensuring that the quality of investigations is maintained. The agency believes that delays in the process of charges can have a detrimental effect on relief for the charging party and on the timely elimination of identified employment discrimination in the workplace.

However, given the trend towards higher workloads and decreasing resources for the agency, the current targets and final goal for this measure are set at a troubling level. Currently, the established targets and final goal are from 72 percent of the resolved charges completed within 180 days in Fiscal Year 2008 to 75 percent resolved within 180 days by Fiscal Year 2012. The primary reasons for requesting adjustments to these targets and final goal are the realities of charge processing facing the Commission today and into the foreseeable future.

Using recent data compiled by the Office of Field Programs, it is clear that the EEOC is experiencing dramatic increases in the number of charges being filed. At the same time, it has experienced significant reductions in the resources required to process these charges.

For example, between Fiscal Year 2005 and 2007, the number of charge receipts increased by approximately ten percent. This pattern seems to be exploding and it is possible by the end of this Fiscal Year that receipts would be 30 percent higher compared to the level in Fiscal Year 2005. In addition, we face the real possibility that the number of charges will continue to increase because the agency's responsibilities have increased with the recent passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. They may be further expanded if Congress passes the ADA Restoration Act.

At the same time that our receipts have increased with additional increases likely because of the new statutory responsibilities, our investigative staff has dramatically decreased. From Fiscal Year 2000 to Fiscal Year 2007, the number of available investigators has decreased from about 857 to only 565. This represents almost a 52 percent decrease in 7 short years at the same time that receipts have increased at least 10 percent and potentially 30 percent in just 3 years.

Unfortunately, with receipts up and staff down, the pending inventory, that is, the total case load residing at the agency, has also dramatically increased in this period. From Fiscal Year 2005 to Fiscal Year 2007, the inventory grew almost 64 percent. Preliminary estimates indicate that by the end of this Fiscal Year, the pending inventory may be as high as 115 percent above what it was in Fiscal Year 2005.

With more receipts and a higher inventory, each investigator is required to face an increasing number of charging parties and respondents, both to help file charges and to investigate more charges and a larger inventory. It is no wonder that this has led to higher processing times for our charges, especially since it is vital to maintain the quality of our work. Consequently, we have been unable to meet the established targets for Annual Measure 2.1 in the past few years. From Fiscal Year 2003 to Fiscal Year 2007, the average processing time for charges went from 160 days to 199. This is more than a 24 percent increase in just 5 years. And this trend is continuing. After just two Fiscal Years, in 2008, the average processing time for charges has risen to 206 days, or almost a 29 percent increase from FY 2003.

Given the high annual targets currently established for this measure, the agency focused on just moving newer charges through the process and let older charges continue to grow older. It is vital for the agency to balance the differently aging charges in its inventory. Letting charges age unduly affects the agency's ability to investigate them. As charges age, work can increase because of stale evidence. More time is needed to track down witnesses, a critical component of the evidentiary record, if they have left the employer and moved out of the area. Also, as charges age, the investigator receives more inquiries about the time that it is taking to process the individual's charge, ironically reducing valuable time to process that person's charge and other charges in the inventory.

Finally, with the higher proportion of older cases in the inventory, that is, already in process over 180 days, it is that much more difficult or impossible to meet the high GPRA targets. For example, the agency met its GPRA targets from Fiscal Year 2001 to Fiscal Year 2004, when they were lower. Since Fiscal Year 2005 to the present, we have not been able to meet these targets for all of the reasons I have mentioned. And the gap between the target and the agency's results is widening substantially as the targets keep rising towards 75 percent by FY 2012.

Consequently, given the agency's current and future circumstances, we have proposed more realistic targets and a final goal for Fiscal Year 2012 for Annual Measure 2.1.

Annual Measure 2.7 attempts to identify the number of individuals who demonstrate an awareness of their equal employment opportunity rights and responsibilities. The agency previously reported a baseline and targets for this measure. The target was based upon responses to a specific question in the same nationwide survey used to obtain data for Long Term Measure 2 on confidence. We have since considered some alternative methodologies that could be used to measure the results of this performance measure using data based upon responses to other questions from the same survey. Since the agency is still considering the approach that should be used to measure results in this area, we felt that it was appropriate to remove the measure from the agency's performance structure at this time until we have had a full opportunity to carefully consider the best approach.

In addition to these modifications to our performance structure, we are also proposing a modification to the program evaluation schedule in the Strategic Plan. Currently the modified program evaluation schedule indicates that the agency will initiate an evaluation of its recently adopted Systemic Enforcement Initiative during FY 2009. We now believe that it would be more advantageous to evaluate this Initiative after the agency has had more time to implement it, so that it can measure its results over a more appropriate time frame. We propose moving the program evaluation of the Systemic Enforcement Initiative to begin in 2012.

This explains the four major areas revised. Some other minor text changes in the Plan were made to adjust for these changes. We have provided you with a copy of the modified Strategic Plan for your approval and a separate document showing all of our performance measures, annual targets, and final goals as modified.

I hope that this information is helpful. We look forward to your approval of the modified Strategic Plan for 2007 through 2012. Thank you.

CHAIR EARP: Thank you, Deidre.

We will now have questions and comments from the Commissioners, starting with the Vice Chair.

VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: Deidre, I want to thank you for working with me and for the changes that have been made to the Strategic Plan based on the four concerns that I raised at the prior meeting about the Strategic Plan.

I apologize for stepping out. I had something I had to take care of.

My only question is, so now this is in front of us to vote on? Is that correct?


VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: And what happens after that?

MS. FLIPPEN: Once the Commission votes on the Plan, if they vote to approve the Plan, we will send the Plan to OMB to get their approval of the Plan.

VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: And OMB has said that they would approve it?

MS. FLIPPEN: OMB has not indicated whether or not they will approve the Plan or not. They have simply said they were waiting for the Commission to vote today.

VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: I see. Okay, I have no further questions right now. Thank you.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Before I do my statement, I want to follow up on the Vice Chair's last question. At the previous meeting, it was my understanding that OMB had approved our Strategic Plan and had indicated that if we voted to approve it that would be fine with them. Is that correct?

MS. FLIPPEN: They had okayed the Plan that was presented to you on the 18th of June, yes.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Right. And in this case now, they have not approved the Plan and will approve it after we vote on it? Assuming that it goes over to them, then they will approve it possibly?

MS. FLIPPEN: I hope that they will approve it. I don't know what they will do.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: And if they don't, will it come back here for another version if they reject it?

MS. FLIPPEN: If they don't approve it, then I will be coming back and discussing it with the Office of the Chair, with you, and the Chief Operating Officer. We have to see where we go from there.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: And why was it treated differently this time from last time?

MS. FLIPPEN: Well, actually, it wasn't treated differently. We ..

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Well, you got approval from them the last time, and this time there was no approval.

MS. FLIPPEN: We shared the revisions, the full revisions that are before you.


MS. FLIPPEN: This time with the Office of Management and Budget. And we had also scheduled a meeting to meet with them. They canceled the meeting and indicated that they wanted the Commission to vote. And that's just ..

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: So they gave no other indication of why it was being treated differently this time?

MS. FLIPPEN: No, except that they wanted the Commission to vote. I mean they were aware of the fact that the Plan had come before the Commission and was not approved, disapproved .. "not approved" I guess is the proper term .. and that we were going back to you with some changes and that they wanted to know how you were going to vote.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: I appreciate the answers to those questions. I have a brief statement that I’ll try to give in my time. And if not, I will let it carry over to the next round.

Thank you for your presentation, though. It is very helpful. I want to thank you for your work, you and Jay, having worked on this for a long time.

I wanted to note for the record that I, too, was visited by you a week ago Friday. We had one meeting. And you did solicit from me ways that I thought we could try to fix the Plan. And I gave you some very frank discussion, but, frankly, that was the only time we had any discussion on this since the meeting. There was no long, drawn.out process. It was one meeting.

And, as I indicated to you then, I still believe that this Strategic Plan, even with modifications suggested by the Vice Chair, is still fundamentally flawed.

And I would note that, really, the only thing that has changed since our last meeting, where the Commission rejected the Plan, was the addition of a new colleague. And obviously we all welcome Commissioner Barker. But it really is a question of whether this Plan will pass muster, whether this Plan indicates the will of the Commission and showing what the future should look like for the next six years at the Commission.

And I ask myself when I look at that question, is this a helpful document? Does it further the stated interests of the Commission or is it a bureaucratic exercise that we have to do in order to satisfy OMB? And it sounds like we don't know whether this Plan will satisfy OMB.

This Strategic Plan goes to the age.old conundrum that we have here at the EEOC of balancing the charge receipts that we get with the quality. And how do we do this with a limited budget? How do we maintain, how do we address the question of maintaining the workforce at a reasonable level?

At full strength, as you noted, it has gone down substantially over the past seven years. How should we best use our resources to do the things that we all say on a bipartisan basis we should be doing. And how do we create a model workplace for our employees and as a model to others in the federal government?

The one thing that is my primary driver in looking at the Strategic Plan is how does it deal with the various Commission initiatives that we have talked about here as a Commission and that we have agreed with quite often on a bipartisan basis, Systemic, E.RACE, the Chair's Youth at Work Initiative, that she started as a Vice Chair that I think has been a success. But, again, that was something that was started that was not voted on by the Commission, but I think it’s yielded many benefits, way beyond what you originally thought it would yield, and I think that’s been good. And we have embraced that within the purview of the Commission.

Commissioner Griffin's Lead Initiative, another thing that again was not voted on by the Commission. But, again, we have embraced, and we all say that the Commission should be leading the effort to employ more people with disabilities in the federal workforce.

How do we deal with the New Freedom Initiative, one of those initiatives that was started under our former Chair to increase the work we do for people with disabilities?

None of that is incorporated in this Strategic Plan, none of it. And that is troubling to me that these are our highest priorities that we’ve talked about. And, yet, it’s not addressed.

My light is up, Madam Chair. I will pass until the next round and continue.



CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Griffin?

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: I, like everybody else, had a great visit with Deidre. And, actually, it was really good, where we talked about, you know, a lot of these issues about, you know, the opportunity to really have a Strategic Plan that reflects the strategy of the agency on a variety of issues, most of which Commissioner Ishimaru just talked about, rather than on sort of what looks like some .. and one of my questions was, is this prescribed by them, by OMB that we have to follow this weird format and actually only really talked about things like this, in which Deidre said, "No," but, you know, these were the things that once they were before them, they weighed in on, you know, especially around the measurement of the goals and the aggressiveness of the goals.

I was really, really glad to hear, you know, I think a really good, articulate description of why these goals can't be what OMB originally had approved before the last meeting and that we're willing to go back to them. But I think what I thought was going to happen when we spoke was that there was going to be an effort made to actually get them to agree to this. And we would know that coming into this meeting.

While I don't condone them actually sort of pre.approving, as they did in the last instance before we got to even know what the goals were, it’s interesting to note this late in the game that they haven't approved. So I don't know where we are with this.

I also that day with Deidre expressed concerns about some of the other measures, specifically the ones around the federal sector, and have had subsequent conversations about that. And I think for a lot of the reasons you articulated, we changed the private sector goals, I'm troubled that we didn't take that up as well.

We’ve seen a significant decrease in the number of available AJs over the last year. Social Security Administration with the huge backlog and increased funding from Congress to deal with it has seen fit to, I think, lure away at this count .. I don't know; help me out here, someone .. eight, nine AJs we’ve lost. And according to Social Security's Chief Human Capital Officer, who I happen to know quite well, they’re going on another round of hiring pretty soon, coming up in the fall. And, you know, I think in his own words they love our AJs.

So I think given that it’s a more prestigious position title.wise and pay.wise, we can probably be sure that we’re going to be losing a few more.

And so I think our ability to meet those goals are absolutely not achievable. You know, we won't be able to meet those goals.

I’m also troubled that we actually changed some of the AJs' goals for this Fiscal Year, just very recently, in the fourth quarter. And so I think if we look at what’s going to happen with that, we can get probably a clear understanding of what the issues will be if we actually establish these as goals for the next Fiscal Year.

And, again, for all the reasons that you cited, the majority of the reasons that you cited, on the private side, those stand on the federal side of why we won't be able to meet these goals.

And I don't know if anyone has anything to say about that or would like to discuss, but I think we need to take a look at that.

CHAIR EARP: Anything else, Commissioner Griffin?

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: Nope. That’s it for me.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Barker?

COMMISSIONER BARKER: Well, I want to say, first of all, that this is a new issue to me coming new to the Commission. I did have a briefing from Deidre and Jay that I really appreciated and had read the Strategic Plan before I met with them, and after I met with them, I went back. And because I realized this was an important issue for the Commission, I went back and read the transcript of the last meeting.


COMMISSIONER BARKER: I read a draft, ..


COMMISSIONER BARKER: .. which was enough for me.


COMMISSIONER BARKER: But I also, Stuart, just to make sure that I was getting the full story, I also watched the video of the entire meeting, ..


COMMISSIONER BARKER: .. which was very enlightening.

So I don't come to this vote today haphazardly. I do know that I’ve had an opportunity to work on Strategic Plans in the public sector and also in the state realm, and they are absolute bears to work on. And my personal experience is that nobody is ever 100 percent happy with the Strategic Plan or with the process. So I know this is a difficult issue for the Commission. And I certainly understand the reservations expressed by Commissioners Ishimaru and Griffin. I have some of the same reservations. I do not fully understand the process that led to the Strategic Plan or the interaction with OMB. And I know that’s kind of a cart and horse situation.

But I guess my general sense is that Deidre and Jay and other people have spent a lot of time working on this. And I certainly respect, as I'm sure everyone does, the integrity of the people who’ve worked so hard to put this Plan together.

And Deidre is recommending today that we approve this. And I know that she has had interaction with OMB. And I don't think she would make that recommendation to us if she felt like there would be severe problems with this, even though she has no assurances.

So I, frankly, think that we have an obligation to move forward to approve a Strategic Plan. This is probably the best we can come up with at this time. Maybe next year we will recommend some different processes, Stuart, before it comes before the Commission. But for my part, I’m going to vote to approve the Plan.

CHAIR EARP: Thank you, Commissioner.

Another round of questioning? Vice Chair?

VICE CHAIR SILVERMAN: I mean, I think we’ve all learned something from the process this year. And that’s that we all have a voice, and we all would like to be involved in the process of figuring out the Plan's priorities.

It’s always challenging with the Commission, and with OMB, I can appreciate that and that when we represent ourselves in front of OMB, that we represent ourselves as true as we can with the challenges that we face.

I think that the Plan before us, the issues that caught my attention or that I heard about I tried to address and you have addressed. I’m hoping that we can approve this Plan and that OMB will follow the wishes of the agency because, again, I think everybody here is trying to do the best that they can with what we have.

I want to thank you for your work on this. And I, too, am going to vote to approve the Plan. Thank you.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair.

I want to ask my friend Commissioner Barker. This is a modification


COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: .. to the existing Plan. And, really, nothing has to be done. You understand that, but you ..

COMMISSIONER BARKER: I do understand that.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: You want to move forward. And I just wanted to point that out to you just to make sure.

COMMISSIONER BARKER: I do. Thank you very much, though.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Okay. That's excellent.

You know, I guess when I look at this Plan and I look at the disincentives to what we say are what we want to do, it gives me great pause. And when I look at this Plan and I try to discern what vision is in the Plan, the vision that I pull out of the Plan is that our primary role as an agency is to be a charge.processing factory, a factory of widgets, if you will, that we should move them along, that it is valued that we resolve these cases one way or the other within 180 days. And that’s the prime value that is in this Plan.

And I think from the conversations that we have had as a body over the term of my tenure here that that isn't what we want to do, that we’ve talked about on many occasions of quality versus quantity, the Vice Chair's Systemic Plan, the recommendations, we’re going to that very heart of the matter, and the Chair's E.RACE Initiative, we talked about a number of types of avenues we should be exploring that would go to those questions of quality. What sorts of cases should we be bringing?

Yet, this Plan has, in fact, disincentives to that. And that’s what worries me, that by implementing this Plan, we are telling our colleagues in the agency that here are our goals that we most highly value, and we will try to meet those. And if it has the unintended consequence of bringing us to a place we don't want to be, that’s an unfortunate result of it.

If you look at Long.term Measure 1, where you are trying to provide a change to a company's policies and measuring how many people are affected by that, that again is a numbers game. If a company sends out a notice about equal employment opportunity pursuant to a resolution that we have with them, that will be counted as far as it goes, and it may be covering thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. And that will go into our number.

It doesn't address the question, should there be injunctive relief? Should there be something more focused that will be more effective? That’s something that gets lost in the counting.

And again, in order to meet the number, if I was a person out there and I knew my primary goal was to meet the number, I would try to meet the number.

And if we premise reward on that, if people's bonuses are tied to whether they meet their objective for the year and if the objective is to meet the number; it has the unintended consequence of making people work to that number to get that as high as possible at the expense of whatever quality factor may be out there.

I am not sure how this will further the goals that we have stated time and time again. If you look at one of the other measurements, where it ties it to the number of FTE, looking at whatever the measure is tied to the number of FTE, and if you have a better number there tied to fewer FTE, it shows a sense of efficiency. But it may also drive the FTE number artificially lower, so you get a bigger number, a better number that’s being looked at. And I think that, too, is unfortunate because the question really isn't how efficient are our people at providing what they do. It really should be whether there is quality, in fact, going forward from our people. Is there quality being done day in and day out by the work of our agency throughout the country?

If you look at the litigation resolution number, at the 90 percent figure, which is very high and reflects what’s been our traditional success rate, you have to ask yourself, does this provide again a disincentive to bring new cases, difficult cases, cases that take a risk if it imperils the 90 percent success rate?

All of those things, I don't know whether they were talked about. They very well may have been. There’s no discussion within the document itself, nor from my discussions that I‘ve had with a variety of people over the time leading up to this meeting and the time leading up to that meeting. That is troubling to me.

You know, I think most people at this agency that I’ve met are motivated by our mission, and they're less motivated by the numbers. But in fact, the numbers will drive the process. And we have seen that in so many parts of the agency that when a numerical goal is set forth, people will try to reach it. People are very good at trying to reach the goals that are put in front of them.

And these numbers, again, I believe will work to lead to unintended consequences or perhaps intended consequences but certainly from my view unintended consequences.

And I’ll pass until my next round,

Madam Chair, in the interest of time.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Griffin?

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: You know, I, too, am troubled with the way that we’ve developed and are prepared to submit a Strategic Plan to OMB. And I asked several people the question, if we don't approve this, what happens? And I think the answer is, nothing, really. Is that correct?

I think the answer was we will be operating under the previous Strategic Plan, and we can debate about which one that is.


COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: But that's what would happen, correct?

MS. FLIPPEN: If the Plan is not approved, we would fall back to the October 1 document, Strategic Plan, that this is the modification to. And, as you know, that particular Plan has a number of "to be determineds" in it, et cetera, et cetera, ..


MS. FLIPPEN: .. et cetera, which over time we have attempted to address with this Plan by filling in those blanks that were in that document. That would be ..

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: But it would also give us an opportunity to fill in the blanks, probably more appropriately address the federal sector concerns as well as the private sector, and then maybe even actually include some strategy around our initiatives and what we think of the priorities of the agency, right?

MS. FLIPPEN: Yes, we could do that. I mean, again, as I mentioned before, since we are at the three.year level of review, what certainly is clear to me from talking with the Commissioners, with all of you, is that we want to take a more comprehensive look at the process, look at the measures, look at what’s important, look at whether or not there are any unintended consequences from the way the measures are fashioned, from what we’re looking at in terms of how they trickle down to employees, to their performance Plans.


MS. FLIPPEN: That wasn't intentional. And, again, as I hear Commissioner Ishimaru, you, and other Commissioners talk about the numbers and the 180 days, again, those, the annual measures that are beneath that Long.term Measure 2, which is confidence, again, the structure was that Long.term Measure has to do with confidence.

The structure of the concept, the concept here, was that those individual annual measures would contribute to confidence. That is timeliness; that is looking at the cases in terms of the quality of the cases; looking at our ADR; having successful litigation, that was the concept.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Was that ever tested, though, in ..

MS. FLIPPEN: It's first, I mean, we had the survey, we got a baseline, and we’re going to move forward. So we’re learning.

I think over the years, the agency has struggled with measures, the balance between quality, between timeliness, also trying to address the requirements from GPRA, which has to do with measures should be results.oriented, what does that mean, what is manageable for us ..

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: I think Deidre, my question goes to, so why should we submit something we all agree isn't great, we're not proud of it, we don't even know, frankly, what they’re going to do with it because they haven't indicated, as they have in the past, what they’re going to do when they see these numbers.

My question is, why would we do it? Why not just, you know, stay where we are? Yes, I know. I don't know what they say. We're not fully compliant or whatever the language is that they say about us. You know, I don't understand why we’re willing to submit this because I, like Commissioner Ishimaru, really am concerned about what we’re saying to our own folks when we’re not replacing resources, when we’re not able to give them everything that they need to do this job. I think we’re just demoralizing our work staff.

You know, what we just did in the fourth quarter on the AJs I don't fully understand. I don't know if this is GPRA.driven but, in the fourth quarter, we just said to them that we’re changing your performance measures and you have to now resolve cases under the processing time by 49 percent to meet, fully meets, and 51 percent to meet outstanding.

And what are we saying to them? What are we saying to charging parties, federal employees who are filing complaints who may have been beyond? You know, their cases are older. You know, now you're going to wait even longer to have this resolved. You know, the message we’re sending to everybody with that is just wrong, and if that is I assume driven by something related to GPRA and strategic planning, although I don't fully understand why we did it in the fourth quarter, how can we actually then say, "Oh, and we're going to now submit this for the next Fiscal Year? You have to meet this goal that’s unrealistic," especially as you’re saying goodbye to your fellow AJs who are leaving to take other jobs?

I think this is a huge problem. And we aren't proud of this Strategic Plan. I know you’ve worked very hard on it, but it isn't the Plan we all hoped we could submit. And I say let's develop the Plan we're proud of and get that over there.

CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Barker?

COMMISSIONER BARKER: The only thing I would say is I do think that it .. I understand the concerns expressed by Commissioner Griffin and Commissioner Ishimaru, and I share some of those concerns.

But I do think that the Commission also has to be concerned if it sticks with the current Strategic Plan that has so many "to be determineds" in it and what message that might send to the public if we leave it open, so many categories open, for yet another year.

It’s my understanding that basically as soon as we approve this Plan, it’s time to start working on another one. And maybe that’s the thing to do. We don't have a perfect solution here, but maybe the thing to do is go ahead and approve this and let's get started on another one that we can feel more comfortable with and can satisfy some concerns.

MS. FLIPPEN: I mean, I would hope that we can do that and that we can begin to have some conversations with the Commissioners about what kind of process you want. I mean, exactly what process do we want, how much involvement, not so much how much involvement that you want? I know your level of involvement and what you're interested in. But what level of involvement do we want from employees throughout the organization? What level of involvement do we want from stakeholders?

So I think we need to talk about that. We need to talk about what kind of Plan we want to have. This is very much a bare bones kind of Plan. It doesn't have a lot of detail in it. We’ve had Plans that have had more detail.

During the process, there was less of an interest in having detail here. And I think we just need to work together. And I’m open to that. And I would hope that we can do that.

So that I’m certainly not happy about putting a Strategic Plan before you that’s supposed to help to guide the agency that you’re not happy with. And I would like to establish a process where we can do that.

So I’m hoping if we could move forward on this, if you see fit to approve it, that we can begin those conversations about what that is because a lot of the issues that you raise about quality, I think, aren't things that we could have addressed in a month, that it is just going to take some time and a lot of conversation with you in terms of what we do want to have.

CHAIR EARP: Deidre, let me ask you. Given OMB's interest and involvement, would you describe the current modified Strategic Plan and the process that you’ve gone through as more budget.driven or operations.driven?

MS. FLIPPEN: I think it’s probably more operations.driven than it is budget.driven, but, again, the process here is an integration of our budget and our measures.

So, as we’ve tried to identify what the annual targets are, we have taken into consideration staffing and other types of issues at the same time that we are attempting to address the concerns OMB has about measures that stretch the agency, - forget about ambition but just kind of stretch the agency.

They’re not supposed to be insurmountable. They are supposed to be a stretch.

CHAIR EARP: Are you suggesting that given the kind of detail in our Systemic Plans, most of which is confidential, and the kind of strategies that General Counsel might employ regarding litigation success or injunctive relief that these are items appropriate for a Strategic Plan?

MS. FLIPPEN: You can have a Plan at the strategic level, which could be up here. It can be high. It can be broad. It doesn't preclude the agency from having other lower.level Plans in place.

So everything doesn't have to be in this particular Strategic Plan. You could have other secondary measures and Plans that you have in place to measure other aspects of your operations.

We don't have anything like that formally in place other than perhaps program offices may have those types of goals and measures that they might have in place, specifically with their office.

But there is nothing to preclude having higher.level strategic planning goals and then some lower.level targets and measures that are kind of below the OMB radar. There’s nothing that precludes that.

And I think over some other reiterations, we’ve toyed with having something like that in the form of an appendix to our Strategic Plan, but then we have broad goals. So there’s nothing that precludes that.

CHAIR EARP: Okay. Additional questions? Madam Vice Chair?


CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Ishimaru?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair.

I must say that I find it profoundly disappointing that when we talk about what we’re about to do, we say we’re embarrassed by it, we’re disappointed by it, yet we’re going to go forward with it.

I think some of the projects and programs that we’ve talked about and quite often reached on a unanimous bipartisan basis, it strikes me that sometimes that’s all it will turn out to be, it’s just talk.

I hope this is not the case, but I hope, especially for the systemic program, the Vice Chair's legacy that she’s going to be leaving us, that this won't be the case that the Strategic Plan will not work as a disincentive to impede the success we’ve had so far with implementation of the systemic program, but I’m afraid that the way this has been constructed, it very well may go there in pushing numbers to the point where people are rewarded for things that I thought we have agreed that shouldn't be counted. But indeed, it looks like that may be the way we’re going.

I was told at an earlier briefing that OMB was locked into some of these numbers, and one of those numbers was Annual Measure 2.1, and they were at 75 percent, and now we're down to 54 percent. That seems to me a significant drop.

Do you think that will be approved by the Office of Management and Budget?

MS. FLIPPEN: I don't really know. We have provided them very similar to the discussion in my statement about what the realities are. We did share with them in preparation for the meeting that was canceled what the reality is and why we’re recommending that those goals be reduced. And when we send the Plan over to them again, we would stick to that in terms of these being realistic.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: The final question that I have, a number of these gathering methods are done by surveys. How much do these surveys cost us on an annual basis? Do you know?

MS. FLIPPEN: We’ve only done the one, this one survey, and ..

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: That would set the baseline for ..

MS. FLIPPEN: That would set the baseline.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: .. a number of these measures.

MS. FLIPPEN: And that survey was $157,000 for that survey. And we’re proposing that we would do it every two or three years ..


MS. FLIPPEN: .. after we had implemented some initiatives that might change or improve something, so it wouldn't be an annual thing.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: No. But it could be as early as every two years, say, depending on ..


COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: .. what the methodology is.


COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: And it would be in the same rough ballpark that we would be spending $150,000 each time we would run one of these surveys?

MS. FLIPPEN: I would expect so, ..

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: .. something in that neighborhood.

MS. FLIPPEN: .. given inflationary costs, ..


MS. FLIPPEN: .. that it would be similar costs.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Somewhere in the neighborhood like that?


COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Again, that goes for us as a body. These surveys, do they provide the value to the Commission of providing us with useful data? And some argue back that this is what is required by OMB. That is certainly a factor, but there may be ways that don't cost us $150,000 every 2 years to run a survey that some would say is of dubious value to the workings of this body.

But, with that, I thank the panel and I thank you, Madam Chair.

CHAIR EARP: Any further discussion?

COMMISSIONER GRIFFIN: Just that, you know, again, I think that it’s perfectly plausible to the public and to OMB and I think especially to our own employees that we can live under whatever Strategic Plan already exists while at the same time actually developing the one that we all agree we should be proud of. I think that sending the message to either the public that we’re going to meet goals that we can't meet or to our employees is not the best thing to do.

And, again, I think, to echo Stuart, we’re sending the message that this is numbers driven, and on the federal sector side, you know, arguably our summary judgment percentages is on the high side right now. I don't in any way want to encourage anyone to do anything that lets them meet goals that we’ve placed upon them in a way that isn't good for federal employees.

So I think we can actually work on that Plan. We don't have to improve this one, that we can actually work on the Plan that we all agree we should have and we’ll ultimately agree on and really send something over that I think represents what we think should be the measures of achieving success at this agency.

Thank you.

CHAIR EARP: Any further discussion?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Can I take one more minute, Madam Chair? I know that the Appropriations Committees have expressed some concern with our projections for the future. And it's also my concern that when you come forward with a Strategic Plan of this nature, looking forward for the next six years, you have similar problems of projecting what the future will look like, projecting what we will try to do. And I would hope as we start the new process, as Commissioner Barker has stated, we should, that we look to make sure that as we point to the future, that we have as strong indicators as possible to look at it with as much information so we're not shooting in the dark, that we come up with real measures of what the progress is here and not measures that may, in fact, work against the very products that we’re trying to produce.

So, with that, I thank you again, Madam Chair, for your courtesies.

CHAIR EARP: Thank you. Thank you, Deidre. Thank you, Jay. You get A for effort. It’s the first time out. I think you’ve done a yeoman's job, despite the lack of perfection.

With that, I’d like to draw the discussion to an end and ask for a motion to approve. Is there a motion to approve the modifications to the Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2007.2012?


CHAIR EARP: Is there a second?


CHAIR EARP: Is there any discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIR EARP: Hearing none, I will ask for a roll call, starting with the Vice Chair. If you are in favor, please signify by saying aye.


CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Ishimaru?


CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Griffin?


CHAIR EARP: Commissioner Barker?


CHAIR EARP: And I will vote aye. The item is approved, three votes in favor, two votes against.

I want to thank everyone for joining us today. We appreciate your being here. And I'm going to ask Ms. Wilson to close this part of the meeting.

MS. WILSON: This concludes the open session of this meeting of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Madam Chair, just an inquiry about the rest of the schedule for the month of August before Bernadette closes us down. It’s my understanding that we have a meeting planned for August 6th? ..


COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: .. and that we will be taking up a number of .. well, I don't know what the schedule’s going to be. There will be a meeting on August 6th. And there’s also a meeting planned for August 22nd?

CHAIR EARP: Correct.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Is that correct? And I know that a number of Members cannot be here on the 6th and have consented to joining us by phone. I was planning to be out of town on the 22nd, and I haven't consented to being here by phone, but I understand that the meeting is going forward.

CHAIR EARP: If we have a quorum, we will.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Right. And I would like to place on the record that I think it is dangerous precedent to move forward if people don't consent to be here by phone.

I think the consensus model that we’ve worked on in the past has served us well. And I would hate to see that model be thrown by the wayside.

CHAIR EARP: So noted.

Ms. Wilson, would you continue, please?

MS. WILSON: This concludes the open session of this meeting of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We now ask that the room be cleared for the closed portion of today's meeting.

CHAIR EARP: Thank you.

(Whereupon, the foregoing matter went off the record at 2:47 p.m., to reconvene in closed session.)

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