The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Commission Meeting of Monday August 8, 2005




NAOMI C. EARP Vice Chair (by Teleconference)





THOMAS J. SCHLAGETER, Associate Legal Counsel/Parliamentarian


  1. Opening
  2. Announcement of Notation Votes
  3. Motion to Close a Portion of the Next Commission Meeting
  4. Discussion on Purchase of Videoconferencing Equipment for Field Office
    Mr. Barnes
    Mr. Chow
  5. Vote on Purchase of Videoconferencing Equipment for Field Offices
  6. Discussion on Upgraded Hardware and Software for the FEPA IMS Integration, Mr. Loving
  7. Vote on Upgraded Hardware and Software for the FEPA IMS Integration
  8. Motion to Adjourn


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Okay. The meeting will come to order. Good afternoon and welcome to the EEOC.

We're meeting today to discuss and vote on two procurement matters, the Purchase of Videoconferencing Equipment for our field offices and Upgraded Hardware and Software for FEPA IMS Integration.

In accordance with the Sunshine Act, today's meeting is open to public observation of the Commission's deliberations and voting. Let me also note for the record that Vice Chair Earp is not present in the Commission Meeting Room but is participating by telephone as provided by Section 1612.2 of our regulations. Can you hear us Madam Vice Chair?

VICE CHAIR EARP: Yes, I can. Good afternoon.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Good afternoon. I know how exhausting it is to travel internationally and very much appreciate your making yourself available so that we can have a quorum and proceed with the funding of these two important contracts. So welcome back.


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: At this time, let me 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'm Bernadette Wilson from the Executive Secretariat.

We'd 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 conversation 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.

During the period July 15th, 2005 through August 5th, 2005, the Commission acted on seven items by notation vote: Approved litigation on six cases, and approved revisions to the Compliance Manual section on Threshold Issues.

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 agenda items.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Thank you, Ms. Wilson. Do I hear a motion?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Is there a second?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Any discussion?

(No response.)

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

(Chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: The ayes have it. And the motion is carried.

Let me correct my comment. We do have a quorum present here. The Vice Chair is participating. She would make the fourth, but we are delighted to have her as well.

We have two procurement or contract matters on today's agenda, the purchase of videoconferencing equipment for our field offices and upgraded hardware and software for FEPA IMS Integration.

Under internal procedures, the Commission must approve the obligation of funds for any contract that exceeds 100,000 dollars. And these matters exceed that threshold. In order to protect the procurement process, however, Commissioners are reminded that we cannot disclose any government cost estimates during this public meeting other than to acknowledge that they exceed the 100,000 dollar threshold. The specific amounts were, of course, provided to the Commissioners in the written materials that were circulated for notation vote.

Both of these items were submitted to the Commissioners for notation vote and each had received three votes to approve. One vote from Commissioner Ishimaru was to place the matter on the agenda, necessitating today's Commission meeting.

Both of these items are from the Office of Information Technology and the first issue for discussion is the Purchase of Videoconferencing Equipment for our field offices, which will be presented by Everett Barnes, Director of the Telecommunications and Network Division. He will be accompanied by Frank Chow, the Chief of the Network Infrastructure and Telecommunications Branch.

The second item is the upgraded hardware and software for the FEPA IMS Integration and that is going to be presented by Calvin Loving, the Director of the Systems Development and Operations Division.

At this point, let me ask Mr. Barnes to please come on up and make your presentation.

MR. BARNES: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Madam Vice Chair, Commissioners. I'm Everett Barnes, the Director of the Telecommunications and Network Division in the Office of Information Technology, and accompanying me is Frank Chow, Chief of the Network Infrastructure and Telecommunication Branch.

I come before you today to discuss the purchase of videoconferencing equipment that was submitted to the Commission for approval.

Currently the Agency has five separate units piloted, deployed, and located in the Baltimore, Denver, Philadelphia, and the Phoenix District Offices and Headquarters. We would like to deploy this technology in the remaining District Office, or district and field offices as identified under the field repositioning plan.

Videoconferencing is the modern, cost and time-effective substitute for meetings that in the past required the actual physical presence of remote participants. This technology provides for interaction and collaboration without the need for travel, thus resulting in savings of funds and time. It will enhance communication and collaboration among field offices, between field and Headquarter offices, and in the future to communicate with other federal, state, and local government agencies and private companies. In addition, the videoconferencing equipment that we plan to purchase can also be used for live video-streaming activities.

EEOC has begun to pilot the videoconferencing and video-streaming technology this fiscal year with great success. For example, OIT has conducted numerous videoconferencing sessions to provide sign language services from Headquarters to several field offices. A number of field offices have conducted remote interviews with job applicants using videoconferencing.

Other applications of this technology include remote mediation sessions and respondent interviews with involved parties located in different cities or states. In the area of training, we have utilized video-streaming to provide live training classes to over 30 field offices simultaneously such as the quarterly training of Administrative Judges conducted by the Office of Federal Operations, the paralegals training conducted by the Office of General Counsel, and last week OIT video-streamed a pre-retirement planning seminar from Headquarters to four field offices which allowed field employees as well as Headquarters employees to benefit from the training.

Because of these applications and associated benefits to the Agency's work and business process, we are requesting your approval to purchase 21 additional sets of equipment in order to expand the capability.

Thank you. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Thank you very much.

We'll now have an opportunity for opening statements or questions from the Commissioners.

Thank you, Mr. Barnes.

Madam Vice Chair?

VICE CHAIR EARP: Thank you, Madam Chair, Commissioners. I have a couple of very brief remarks and one question.

I would just open by saying I believe that there is inherent value in supporting the Commission's infrastructure. These procurement requests to me are no less important than keeping the lights on or keeping the internet up and running.

During these very transformative times that EEOC is in, technology has to be our backbone. To me, a vote for these and similar procurement is a vote for our employees and our partners. These advances allow our employees to be agile in their decision-making and to improve communication.

We are, I think everyone would agree, in a very challenging transformative time. We need to give the employees -- as Commissioners, we don't have a lot that we can give our staff, so we need to give our employees all the support that we can because a lack of basic infrastructure, to me, is tantamount to saying we want our employees or our partners to fail. And I don't think any of us want that.

My general support for contracts such as this is a vote of confidence in Ms. Hsieh and in Mr. Barnes and Mr. Chow.

Specifically, I have one question regarding the videoconferencing equipment, and it is: The package included a discussion of how training would be done, and the package includes some funds for onsite installation services. And my question just goes to how will the installation take place? How will it be handled in the field?

MR. BARNES: Well, I'm going to basically refer that question to Frank Chow because he handles that portion of it.

MR. CHOW: Yes, as our opening statement basically has said that we have deployed that into four of our field offices already.

And in the previous procurement, basically that we carried out the same way, is the vendor who sells us the equipment will -- after the delivery of the equipment to the site, they will send technician on site, unpack the boxes - because these are big monitor and heavy equipment. They will unpack it and set it up in the conference room or locations where we ask them to set it up.

And so the fee included delivery, installation, as well as a little bit of a hands-on training. I think there is designated just a couple of hours. This is not an in-depth training but it is more or less just an introductory training.

And from that point on, we at Headquarters carry over the training process.

VICE CHAIR EARP: So is our past experience essentially that on a procurement like this, the vendor dispenses staff from Washington to our field offices to do the installation? Or they hire subcontractors?

MR. CHOW: They basically have subcontractors nationwide.


MR. CHOW: When they bid the contract, we have all the field office addresses listed so the equipment will be drop shipped directly to the office and local to each city that they will, you know, pick an installation team to go on site to do this installation and training.

VICE CHAIR EARP: Okay. Thank you.

I have nothing else, Madam Chair.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Thank you, Madam Vice Chair.

Let me now turn it to Commissioner Silverman whose presence I appreciate here today. Commissioner Silverman?

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: I don't think I have any questions. But perhaps after Commissioner Ishimaru, I might have one. I'm not sure. I don't think so.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: All right. Thank you. Commissioner Ishimaru?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you for calling the hearing today.

As I've said before at other meetings we've had concerning procurement issues, money in this Agency is neither fungible nor infinite. When we choose to spend money on one thing, we are, by definition, selecting that activity, equipment, or service over others. In other words, where we spend our money sets our policy and shows our priorities.

I just got back from an ABA meeting in Chicago and served on a panel with our Regional Attorney from Detroit talking about corporate compliance. And there was a lot of talk there about the new requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that requires corporate directors to have more responsibility over the workings of a corporation. It is analogous, I believe, to the role of the Commissioners, not as corporate directors, but as members of this body. But having a responsibility to know what's going on within the organization itself. And I would have hoped that more information would have been forthcoming.

But let me turn to the videoconferencing. Last week I actually was provided a demonstration along with staff from various members' offices, which was very interesting. Mr. Chow gave a very good presentation from a remote location. We sat in this room and watched Mr. Chow, who was five floors below us, interact on a real time basis using the videoconferencing.
And I was impressed by the quality of the picture and the sound. And it seems like it has come a long way since the last time I used videoconferencing equipment. It really did feel like you were in the same room. And I could see from that demonstration that, you know, it appears it will be very useful for a number of functions.

And when we talked about the repositioning, you talked about using technology. And I certainly agree with those statements and the statements of the Vice Chair, that we should be using the technology to get the full potential both out of our office and with our employees.

So it was really an excellent system from what I saw. I would also guess that it will yield us cost savings because I note there are many occasions where, for lack of a better system, we have to travel or bring people to various places to have face-to-face meetings sometimes for relatively short periods of time.

And I know how busy people are throughout our offices around the country. I was just with Jack Rowe this morning in Chicago and Jack drove me to the airport and he was driving up to our Milwaukee office, which is now under his jurisdiction. And he was telling me his schedule for the week. And I got very tired just listening to Jack.

But it showed, you know, there are obviously going to be times when district directors and other senior personnel have to be on the road, have to visit the offices. I think that's fine.

But there also should be situations, I believe, where we should use this videoconferencing equipment to the fullest to make sure that we get the most value out of it. And I would hope, assuming that this is approved, Madam Chair, that you could direct your staff to provide all of us with periodic updates on the actual use of this equipment so, you know, it isn't a fancy toy.

I know in past times when I have had videoconferencing equipment in my office, quite often it sat unused. And I think part of that is a function of technology and it was sort of hard to use. And this appears to be much easier to use. And it was not as smooth. So hopefully we've gotten over some of those barriers with the advances in technology. But whatever information, assuming this does get procured, you could share with us, I think would be helpful to all of us understanding the uses of technology here at the Agency.

I would also hope that -- there was some talk of using videoconferencing to conduct federal sector hearings. And certainly I think that videoconferencing is preferable to conducting hearings by telephone as has been happening most frequently in our San Antonio office.

I don't believe that videoconferencing should replace in-person hearings. There is a clear value to having parties in the adjudicatory process present together in the same room as they sort out discrimination allegations. The possibility for settlement is greater if the parties are physically present together, and the process may have greater validity for the parties if the hearing is conducted in person.

Similar concerns I would have over the use of this in the mediation session as well. And I know Commissioner Silverman is our expert in mediation. But, you know, this is a wonderful technology but we should also be careful with how we use it.

So our vote today does not address the policy question of whether videoconference hearings should be conducted. And, if so, in what circumstances it would be appropriate. This question deserves a much more thorough discussion because it touches on basic questions of fairness in the hearing process. I would recommend that written guidelines be developed on the appropriate use of videoconferencing equipment.

And I come to this today having abstained on voting on procurement issues, not having budgetary information, but I come here today thinking that we should actually be spending more money on this. This is an area that very well, given that we voted on a repositioning plan that will extend senior management to do more work, this may be more valuable to us at this time of transition to have videoconferencing equipment in all of our offices, not just the 20-some-odd offices that are part of this plan.

When I asked earlier about this, I was told that there were no plans in the near future to ask for more videoconferencing equipment, certainly not in the next fiscal year. And I think that given the new makeup of the Commission structure under the repositioning plan, we should consider whether we should add this equipment to all of our offices, again so Jack Rowe in Chicago, take for example, can have meetings with his larger jurisdiction without having to travel there and spend days travel -- you know a day to travel to a location for meetings and then having to come back again.

Again, this is something that I am unable to address in the broader picture, not having budgetary information. But I would put that out there as a suggestion. I don't know if we can do anything on it at today's meeting. But I think a potential for this is enormous.

I do have a couple of questions for either one of you. It is my understanding that the pilot really has just started with the existing units, that we just got this equipment and there has been some usage and it has been successful. But it has not been a long-term pilot as I understand it. Am I correct?

MR. CHOW: That is correct. What we have done is as we have listed, we had two different types of videoconference equipment. And basically before we were able to start procuring the office-grade equipment, we wanted our in-the-field technical people know how to use videoconference equipment as well as come up with creative idea of how to use the equipment.

So we went ahead and procured the consumer-based videoconference equipment. And those are -- without going into cost issues, you know, those are the ones that you and I can use at home, okay?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: And could actually afford.

MR. CHOW: And can actually afford, that's correct. But using those equipment, we were able to conduct one-to-one videoconference, one site to another site, whereas the equipment that we are procuring right now allows us to do multi point videoconference, meaning that you could have multiple sites join in on the same session and the screen will divide up into little squares.

So that started off the pilot. And basically it gave people a chance to think of what they could use the equipment for and to actually start testing it and be familiar with the technology.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Do you have other ideas? Or just from your talks with people in the field who have this in our pilot, are there other possible uses we could use this equipment for?

MR CHOW: Well, basically the two main areas, one is videoconference. The other one is video streaming, you know videoconference being a conversation two ways or multi ways. And video streaming just streams one direction with an audience out there. And they are really for different purposes. One is more for training. The other one is for interactive conversation. Like I was trying to say is basically our end user are actually a lot more creative at coming up with ideas.

And, in fact, you mentioned about mediation and that was one of the first request from our end user is to conduct mediation using videoconference. And the reason is that I think they are currently using audio conference and not being able to see the facial expression, they feel there is a lacking of real time interactive and actually seeing the reaction from the other side.

But up to this point, you know we don't have the equipment to be able to do that. But they are just starting to do that a little bit. And, in fact, they are very happy. But you are absolutely right. Technology is what we are here for. And the policy is, you know, we're going to have to have some kinds of guidelines for that.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Now this proposal that we're considering today is for 20 -- can I mention the number of units Tom? -- all right -- for 23 units. Under the repositioning plan that was passed last month, there are now 15 district offices. What happens to the other -- where do the others go from the 15 to the 23?

MR. CHOW: Well, right now listed under the procurement listing is the current existing district offices.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: The current existing district offices.

MR. CHOW: And so a lot of them -- a few of them have been converted to field office right now. So the cameras still go into the field offices.


MR. CHOW: Now, of course, it is not set in stone. These cameras are relocatable. So, you know, if the usage is not there or if the requirement is not there, you know, like you say, it would be great if every office had them. But if there is a priority of an office, we can always shift them.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Right. And on a technical matter, can you use the videoconferencing equipment that sets on top of the monitor with any TV monitor? You don't have to ship the monitor do you?

MR. CHOW: No, you don't.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: You just have to ship the box on top?

MR. CHOW: That's correct.


MR. CHOW: The video box.


And that's all I have, Madam Chair. Thank you very much.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Great. Thank you.

Commissioner Silverman do you have any --

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: I had a question about offices but I did the math myself and then he asked the question.



CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Okay, great. Well, if there are no further comments or questions, a motion to approve the Purchase of Videoconferencing Equipment for the EEOC Field Offices is in order. And I would so move. Is there a second?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Is there any discussion?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: I would have a question, Madam Chair. I raised the possibility of considering whether we could do this to all of our offices. Is that -- can we talk about that now? Is that a discussion item that is best left for another day? Or maybe you and I could talk generally?

I don't know what the budget looks like. And I know as we come to the end of our fiscal year, sometimes money frees up. But the potentials with this technology are truly exciting.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: I couldn't agree more with you. As you said earlier on, it is a matter of priorities. And I think clearly our top priority was to equip -- working with the Office of Field Programs and the Office of General Counsel, equip the offices that we felt could use this equipment most immediately. And then try to juggle the various priorities.

But in terms of the concept of equipping all offices, regardless of their level, even local offices, I think it would be a very valuable opportunity. It is a matter of cost. And I'll certainly continue to work with our CFO, and look to see if we have further opportunities in the budget.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Either for this year or next year --

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Or next year.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: -- because it was my understanding that the plan was not to even talk about adding more units until fiscal '07, which is two years off.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Well, Commissioner, the other thing we want to make sure is that we allow ourselves a certain amount of time, you know, to really evaluate how well it is being used. And as we have talked about, to develop guidelines as to what's the right way of using this equipment.

I know that Sallie Hsieh equipped a lot of folks with laptops and it has been used primarily for e-mailing. And so we really do need to make sure that we get the return on the investment. It is a significant commitment. And while it is wonderful, we just have to make sure that we bring the training and everyone along so that we can get full return on our investment.

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: I suspect that in the next few years, the cost of this might come down as well, this technology.


COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: … So why don't we wait and see. And we might have other technological priorities that might want to come ahead of that.


COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: So why don't we just hold off and then consider it in light of other things.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Okay. Any further discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: If not, why don't we -- if we prefer -- I think this is the preferred approach to cast a vote via roll call starting with the Vice Chair. Madam Vice Chair?

VICE CHAIR EARP: I vote yes.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Commissioner Silverman?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Commissioner Ishimaru?


VICE CHAIR EARP: Did I hear that correctly?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Well, Madam Vice Chair --

VICE CHAIR EARP: Did my colleague vote yea?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: -- I was so impressed with this that even absent budgetary information, I think it's a good investment. And I support it, and frankly think there should be more, but given the earlier discussion, I'm willing to wait also to see how we go with this.

VICE CHAIR EARP: I have to visit the Holy Land more often.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: I do want to hear all about your trip.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Commissioner, you've made my day this afternoon.

And so we actually have unanimous approval. The motion is approved. Four votes in favor and none against. And the motion passes.

The next item on the agenda is the Upgraded Hardware and Software for FEPA IMS Integration.

Oh, thank you both very much.


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: And will be presented by Calvin Loving. And Mr. Loving, please begin your presentation.

MR. LOVING: Good afternoon. Madam Chair, Madam Vice Chair, Commissioners. I'm Calvin Loving, Director, Systems and Development Operations Division for the Office of Information Technology.

I come before you today to discuss the acquisition of hardware and software for FEPA Integration into the Integrated Mission System that was submitted to the Commission for approval.

Because of the critical need to integrate the Fair Employment Practices agencies into the Integrated Mission System, one of the essential tasks to complete this project is to acquire the new database servers to replace the old IMS production, development, and testing servers to accommodate the needs for both EEOC and FEPA user community.

To bring the FEPAs onboard, we will need more powerful servers and their accompanying software to ensure system performance. In other words, the larger capacity and processing speed of the new servers will allow us to support current IMS operations as well as the additional load for FEPA usage without suffering performance degradation.

This will have a positive impact for EEOC and FEPA users as they should experience faster data input, queries, and reporting output than they would experience on the Agency's current older servers.

The newest technology in high performance server architecture is the Itanium 2 chipset. Made in a joint partnership between Intel and Hewlett-Packard, the chipset has faster processing speed and increased storage capacity over the technology we are currently using.

This chipset is expected by HP and industry experts to last longer than the industry's normal three-year server replacement life cycle.

For the above-mentioned requirements and benefits, I'm asking for your approval of this acquisition. Your approval will allow us sufficient time for the acquisition process as well as the installation, configuration, and testing that must be successfully conducted before FEPA IMS can be deployed to our FEPA partners.

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Thank you very much, Mr. Loving.

Let me open the floor for statements or questions from my fellow Commissioners beginning with Madam Vice Chair.

VICE CHAIR EARP: Thank you, Madam Chair. Just one quick question. The package indicates that deployment needs to begin the first quarter of fiscal year 2006. So we're looking at between October and December, which includes not just the big winter holidays but a number of other federal holidays.

And in that time, the package indicates that there will be a request for quotation where we seek out a vendor, that we will then decide on a vendor, award the contract, and then also have the installation, configuration, and testing of the system.

And I just want to ask is this really a feasible timeline? Or are you in the process now of working up what-if scenarios if these things don't happen in this short window that we're given?

MR. LOVING: Yes, ma'am. We are working up our scenarios to look at really both sides of what could happen. We do feel like this is tight. It is unfortunate the time of year brings so many holidays. That does shorten our ability to turn.

But we feel like that typically on a deployment of a set of offices, we look for one week of training and one week of deployment hands on with a follow on pilot period or basically a settling in period.

We have done upgrades like this in the past, providing that the vendor can provide us the hardware in an expeditious fashion, we can turn that around fairly quickly.

We would be basically transitioning our current database to the server so it's not so much that we have not worked with this technology or worked with this scenario before. But I believe that you are correct, our best approach would be to have a primary and a back-up plan to be able to do this.

But we do feel like that it is reachable.

VICE CHAIR EARP: So the quote seeking period, are we talking days or weeks?

MR. LOVING: I'm sorry, ma'am. I could not hear you.

VICE CHAIR EARP: The period for seeking a quotation from vendors, a quote, are we talking days or are we talking weeks?

MR. LOVING: One of the processes that we've tried to use in SDOD and OIT as far as looking for the technology that we need is we've tried to seek out the vendors that give us the best price, that give us the best quality in the product. And one of the persons that does most of this research is very diligent about making sure that we can get a delivery of what we're talking about.

I would not foresee that that process would take that long. So I would say it is more like in days, not weeks.

VICE CHAIR EARP: Okay, all right. You guys are the stewards and I'm trusting that you've got a workable timeline.

Nothing else, Madam Chair.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Thank you, Madam Vice Chair.

Commissioner Silverman?

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: I have no questions.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Commissioner Ishimaru?

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Loving, could you -- where does this fall in the overall FEPA IMS project? Is this the first stage, the middle stage, last stage? What have we done already, because I've been briefed that there has been some work done on integrating FEPAs into IMS? So where does this fall and what also has to happen?

MR. LOVING: I'll try to address the points. If I miss any, please remind me.


MR. LOVING: We have done quite a bit of testing both on our level -- in other words unit testing and system testing with our staff and contractor staff we have on board. We've also brought in some FEPA users. We brought in six to eight offices back in the spring. And they actually worked out of here, did some user hand on. And we've also been in the process of having the -- we have about eight offices, I could provide you those offices, that are actually logging on through the internet and connecting into our test arena and doing some testing for us.

So we're basically in the latter stages of our testing to evaluate performance, to evaluate user ability functionality that we don't lose as a transition from the private sector into the FEPA functionality.

I would say that this stage is near the end but the final stage is really being able to roll out the offices successfully, being able to integrate into 97 different environments that the FEPAs offer us, unlike what we've had to do in our own internet or over our own WAN.

But it is a very critical stage in the sense that we're adding a larger community into our user community so it increases the workload.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: It was my understanding that in a previous fiscal year, that we were able to obtain actual hardware for a number of our FEPAs if not all. I don't recall the details. So this is a follow on to that where we are actually -- we provided them with hardware earlier that had some interoperability with our systems.

We're doing this contract now. In layman's terms, am I there? We do this contract and then would there be a contract or an action that has to follow?

MR. LOVING: The hardware that we provided, if I'm not mistaken, is the desktop per office that we provided so they would have a guaranteed -- basically a unit that would operate in comparison to ours with our requirements so they would not lose production.


MR. LOVING: Or we wouldn't have to be relying on them being in an older system.


MR. LOVING: There would not have to be a follow-on acquisition for us to be able to maintain. This is really probably the last cog in the wheel --

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Good, this is the last cog. Okay.

MR. LOVING: -- for us to establish a good system that provides us long-term usability.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Two other quick questions for you. I know with repositioning there has been talk of needing to make some changes to the IMS system to deal with it. Are those -- will those requirements come in the way of this project? Will there be any conflict? Does one take a priority over the other? Are you in a position to answer that sort of question? Or maybe Sallie might be? Or is this something that we just juggle and get both done?

MR. LOVING: It's less so of an issue of maybe priority as it is resources. We, at this time, could go forward and do our launch with the FEPAs if it were not for repositioning. Repositioning does require us to take our staff and redirect them towards making the changes to both the database and the application to support the repositioning.

It is a -- probably a more time-consuming effort than it is a laborious effort as far as the changes. So it really does -- the need to get this right and with approaching the fiscal year changeover -- makes it a much larger priority than us postponing for a few months the deployment for the FEPAs although they are very anxious.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Okay. Great. That covered my second question as well. Thank you very much.

MR. LOVING: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Thank you, Madam Chair.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Thank you, Commissioner. Any further questions?

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: No, no further questions.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: And just an observation. I mean one of the first things that I heard from my very first meeting with my FEPA partners was the critical need they had to make their systems compatible with ours and how inefficient their processes were because of that.

So I'm just really thrilled that we have gotten to this point. We've been working -- and you particularly - Sallie's shop and all of you have been working very diligently with the work group between the FEPAs and EEOC. And I just want to commend you.

I know that everything we do has a technical -- technological requirement to it now more than ever. But you have consistently responded and really delivered the results that we were hoping -- we were intending we were hoping we would get.

So thank you for your hard work on that. And again, it is a matter of juggling but I know that our partners are very pleased that for the first time they can actually look into their system and have the information, and vice versa. We are unable to monitor the performance, the contract performance, to see what is the status of a lot of the charges and so on. So I think this is going to help us be better partners and certainly help identify areas and opportunities for improvement. So thank you for that.

And let me ask Commissioner Silverman for her comments.

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: Will this provide -- this system -- FEPAs with access to our IMS system so they can see other charges in the system? Or only so we can see what they are doing? I ask this because in my discussion with FEPAs last week, they were saying that one thing that would be very helpful to them was to find out if they transferred charges to us what happened to them or things like that, and I was just curious whether or not it was one way or two way just for my own knowledge.

MR. LOVING: There is the capability for the person with the right profile to be able to see whatever charge they need to see within the database. Right now, the one control we do have over the FEPAs is there is a very strict guideline that FEPAs can only view FEPA charges.


MR. LOVING: That they only view what they own.


MR. LOVING: So once the charge has been transferred to another office, they can only see the history up until that point. And if it comes back to them, then they are refreshed to show what happened after that. So it really depends on where the charge is accountable.


MR. LOVING: And the difference that we have been doing for the FEPAs is be much more constrictive of that than we have been for EEOC charges where there is a district and a global concept.


COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: I would assume that as a policy choice, we could come back and consider later if we wanted to make it a two-way mirror instead of a one-way.

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: Or for limited charges.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: Or for limited charges.

COMMISSIONER SILVERMAN: Yes. I just wanted to know what the capability was at this point.

COMMISSIONER ISHIMARU: But it is capable. You can do it. It is a question of making a choice as to what to do?

MR. LOVING: Yes, sir. Viewing is a controlled thing, yes.

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: All right. A motion to approve the Upgraded Hardware and Software for the FEPA IMS Integration would now be in order. And I would so move. Is there a second?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Any further discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Hearing none, let me again ask that you cast your vote via roll call.
Madam Vice Chair?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Commissioner Silverman?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Commissioner Ishimaru?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: All right. Oh no. All right. The vote then is three in favor and one abstention. And so the motion carries.

Thank you very much, Mr. Loving. Appreciate your presentation.

One out of two isn't bad.


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: I want to thank everyone involved in this hearing today, in this meeting. We appreciate your being here.

And there being no further business, do I now hear a motion to adjourn the meeting?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: Is there a second?


CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

CHAIR DOMINGUEZ: The ayes have it. The motion is carried. Meeting is adjourned. Thank you.

(Whereupon, the above-entitled meeting was concluded.)

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