U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
JACQUELINE A. BERRIEN, Chair
CONSTANCE S. BARKER, Commissioner
CHAI R. FELDBLUM, Commissioner
VICTORIA A. LIPNIC, Commissioner
P. DAVID LOPEZ, General Counsel
PEGGY MASTROIANNI, Legal Counsel
BERNADETTE B. WILSON, Acting Executive Officer
This transcript produced from a DVD provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Good morning everyone.
ALL: Good morning.
CHAIR BERRIEN: This meeting of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now called to order. In accordance with the Sunshine Act, part of today's meeting is open to public observation of deliberations and voting. Part of the meeting will be closed. The closed portion of today's meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon.
At this time I'm going to ask Bernadette Wilson, our Acting Executive Officer, to announce any Notation Votes that have taken place since the last Commission meeting, Ms. Wilson?
MS. WILSON: Good morning. And before I begin, is there anyone in need of sign language interpreter services?
(No audible response.)
MS. WILSON: Okay. Good morning again Madam 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 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 case of emergency, there are exit doors to the right and left as you exit this room. Additionally, the restrooms are down the hall to the right and left of the elevators.
During the period July 17th, 2012 through February 19th, 2013, the Commission acted on 21 items by Notation Vote:
Approved Litigation on two (2) cases;
Approved Amicus Participation in six (6) cases;
Approved a Draft Final Rule Changing Merit Systems Protection Board's Address;
Approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to Amend the Commission's FOIA Regulations;
Approved a Model MOU with Indian Tribes;
Approved the Fall 2012 Regulatory Agenda;
Approved the Obligation of Funds for Nationwide Expedited Mail Services; and an Interagency Agreement with Federal Occupational Health (FOH) on a Time‑and‑Material Basis for Headquarters' Health Unit Services;
Approved the Strategic Enforcement Plan for FY 2012‑2016;
Disapproved a Federal Sector Decision;
Approved the EEOC Applicant Data Collection Form;
Approved a Vote to Close a Portion of the February 20th, 2013 Commission Meeting; and,
Approved Resolutions Honoring Jeffrey C. Bannon and Mary McIver on their Retirements; and a Resolution in Memory of Joyce Mills.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you Ms. Wilson.
And before we begin our official meeting this morning I'd like to ask if we could observe a moment of silence. We have learned that our Pittsburgh Area Director, Ronald Dean passed, and we would like to ask for a moment of silence in his memory. And we send sincere condolences to his family and loved ones, and to his colleagues in Pittsburgh.
(A moment of silence was observed.)
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. I'd like to welcome everyone to this meeting. This is our first public meeting of 2013. I'm glad that everyone is here today. And this is an opportunity for us to hear from our Agency leadership about the implementation of our Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012 to 2016, which was adopted by the Commission one year ago this month, almost one year ago to the day.
Before our witnesses begin I would like to once again publicly thank my Colleagues on the Commission, General Counsel Lopez, our Headquarters Office Directors, our District Directors, Regional Attorneys, Officers and Members of the National Council, of EEOC Locals No. 216, and all EEOC Staff for their efforts during the development of the Strategic Plan. And most importantly for efforts after passage to implement the Plan. I would also like to thank those employer and employee stakeholder and advocacy groups and all members of the public who have contributed to the Plan's development.
As I said when the Commission voted to adopt this Plan last February, our Strategic Plan is a step in the direction of advancing the highest aspirations of our nation which gave birth to the EEOC. With the mission of ending and remedying unlawful employment discrimination and the vision of justice and equality in the workplace, our Strategic Plan charts a new and extremely ambitious course for the Agency, especially during this constrained and sometimes uncertain fiscal climate.
In adopting the Plan the Commission sent a clear message that as significant as the work of this Agency has been over the past 47 years, we cannot be satisfied with fighting the same equal employment battles over and over again using the same tools and strategies today that we used yesterday. We must increasingly direct our resources towards making lasting changes to discriminatory workplace policies and practices and we must maximize our efforts to deter and prevent future instances of unlawful discrimination in the workplaces of the United States.
The ultimate measure of our success will be in our progress towards ending, and not merely reducing, unlawful discrimination in the workplace. We are working to reduce and ultimately eliminate discriminatory practices that have persisted for too long, prevent the spread of discriminatory practices that are emerging, and provide employers with the tools needed to prevent discriminatory practices in the future. The complexities of the modern workplace and the limits of our resources demanded that we become more targeted and strategic in our enforcement approach, that we redouble our efforts to promote voluntary compliance, and that we modernize our operations and train our work force to meet the equal employment enforcement needs of the 21st Century.
With the adoption of the Strategic Plan last February these became the new goal posts for our Agency and markers of our success. One year later I can say confidently that the Agency has embraced this new direction and aggressively sought to implement the Plan's requirements.
Under the leadership of Claudia Withers, Chief Operating Officer and Performance Improvement Officer, Deidre Flippen, Director of the Office of Research, Information and Planning and Deputy Performance Improvement Officer, and each of the goal leaders who we will hear from today, the Agency met or exceeded the majority of goals required in Fiscal Year 2012, and we are on track to meet or surpass the goals set for Fiscal Year 2013.
Most importantly as their testimony will illustrate, the Strategic Plan we adopted one year ago is a living document that has already begun to have an impact on the way that we operate as an agency and the values that are reflected and advanced in our day-to-day work.
When we adopted the Plan last February, I said that implementation would determine whether the Plan would be more than words on a page. As we will hear this morning, there are many, many examples from the past year that demonstrate the significant progress we have made in implementing the Plan. At the same time implementation and fulfillment of the goals outlined in the Plan are by design and in fact a work in progress.
So my hope and expectation for today's meeting is that we will have an opportunity to pause to recognize our progress, but at the same time acknowledge and learn from any shortfalls in achieving results we suggested for FY 2012. We meet today to consider what we've learned from our first year of implementation and to continue our efforts to improve and build upon nearly half a century of work to end and remedy unlawful employment discrimination. I appreciate all of the work performed in the past year to bring us closer to the goal and thank all of my colleagues in the Agency who are responsible for that work every day. Thank you.
And I'd now like to invite my fellow Commissioners to make opening statements or comments. The yellow light will appear when you have one minute remaining for your opening remarks. We'll begin with Commissioner Barker.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Thank you Madam Chair. And I'd like to join with the Chair and my fellow Commissioners in expressing my appreciation to all the work that has gone on with the development of the Strategic Plan and the beginnings of implementation of the Plan. I look forward to hearing the reports today knowing that even as we hear about the work that's been done that that is just the beginning of all the work that lies ahead and would like to express my appreciation in advance of that work to the various members of the staff, not just here but throughout the country who are working and will continue to work to implement the Plan.
That said, for reasons that I will mention a little bit later on, there are aspects of the Plan that taken in isolation I agree with, although unfortunately I voted against it. What I did not and do not now agree with in the Plan and in the Strategic Enforcement Plan, first and foremost, is the overall emphasis on enforcement rather than prevention and allocation of the bulk of our resources on discrimination that has already occurred instead of allocating the bulk of our resources on discrimination before it has an opportunity to occur.
With regard to the plans for enforcement, I'm very concerned about the Commission's delegation of most of its litigation authority to the General Counsel. There is a reason why Congress set up the EEOC as a bipartisan commission of five representing different views. There is a balance that comes from a bipartisan commission of five differing views that yields different results than decisions made by one person only.
As Commissioners we have certain fundamental responsibilities, and what responsibility is more fundamental to a bipartisan commission than a decision to file a lawsuit in the Commission's name? Embedded in the Strategic Plan, however, is a reaffirmation of an action taken some years ago when the Commission, for whatever reasons they may have deemed appropriate at that time, ceded to a single person, the General Counsel, authority to, in most situations, determine whether the Commission would file lawsuits to enforce the discrimination laws. This ceding of the Commission's fundamental responsibility to the General Counsel is generally referred to as the Delegation.
Most people I talk to assume that when the Commission files a lawsuit, that lawsuit has first been reviewed, studied, deliberated, discussed, and voted on by the Commissioners. People are shocked when I tell them that in fact most lawsuits are filed without the Commissioners' knowledge. For example, last year, Fiscal Year 2012, by my count 122 lawsuits were filed in the name of the Commission. But under the rules of the Delegation to the General Counsel, only three of the 122 lawsuits were sent up to the Commissioners for their review and vote. All the rest were filed without a vote by the Commission.
While I look forward to hearing all the good things the Commission is accomplishing, unless and until the Delegation to the General Counsel is rescinded and the Commissioners are able once again to carry out their fundamental responsibility of reviewing, deliberating and voting on proposed litigation, I do not believe we are doing the job that Congress and the American people expect us to do or that the President appointed us to perform.
As for the Strategic Plan, I voted against it because in my opinion the EEOC's primary function is stopping discrimination. What more effective way to stop it than to prevent it from happening in the first place? It is my opinion that the Strategic Plan and the Strategic Enforcement Plan flip-flop the priorities that Congress established for this Agency and that together the two documents cement the role of the EEOC as first and foremost a prosecutorial agency. I do not think that was what Congress intended.
It is my opinion that we have our resources backwards and our priorities backwards, that when we put our primary emphasis on and the bulk of our resources into what we do after discrimination occurs instead of concentrating on our efforts on preventing it from happening in the first place, when we look at our nation's changing demographics, it's particularly apparent that our priorities as a commission are upside down.
I believe our first priority and the bulk of our resources should be focused on teaching entire new generations of Americans, employers and employees, many of whom have language and cultural barriers, about the protections our laws give everyone, every employee. By focusing our resources on enforcement actions after laws have been broken, we are significantly limiting the resources that are available for education and prevention. Unfortunately, the end result is that under the Strategic Plan we are putting most of our efforts and resources into locking the proverbial barn door after the horse is out. Thank you, Madam Chair.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you, Commissioner.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Thank you Madam Chair. I am very pleased that we are holding this meeting to review our performance under the first year of our Strategic Plan for 2012 to 2016.
Before I make some brief opening remarks, I request that my written statement be posted on the Web site associated with this meeting.
CHAIR BERRIEN: It will be a part of the record for the meeting. At this point we don't have the capacity. We have not had a practice in the past of posting the statements on the Web site except the statements of the witnesses, but it will be a part of the record for the meeting and available in the ways that the record is accessed.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Okay. Well I will hopefully ensure that my 14‑page written statement which goes through every single performance measure hopefully will be available to folks to review.
When we voted on the Strategic Plan almost exactly one year ago, February 22nd, 2012, I said the following: "This Strategic Plan is a departure from previous Plans. It focuses less on measuring numbers for numbers' sake and more on measuring what we need to do in order to achieve our long-term goals. This Plan recognizes that some of our previous numbers based performance measures may have had unintended adverse consequences. Thus we force ourselves in this Plan to take a step back, establish real and useful baselines in various areas and then think critically about how to move up from those baselines. Doing this type of thoughtful and targeted analysis is key to being proactive, and in this day and age of limited financial resources, we need to be intelligently and strategically proactive."
Well one year later I think we can clearly say that we are still living in an era of limited financial resources which may become even more limited in the future, the near future. In light of that fact, I believe it is critical that we have a strategic plan to help us guide us through that time so that we can be intelligently and strategically proactive in carrying out the obligations placed on us by Congress in the statute which requires things like taking in charges, investigating charges, conciliating if we find reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred, and then litigating if conciliation fails. These are enforcement obligations placed on us by Congress.
There is one significant ramification to stepping back and figuring out our existing baselines and then setting targets to enhance those outcomes. It means that in the first few years of implementing this Strategic Plan we'll be focusing a great deal on various process activities that help us figure out what our specific outcomes should be.
Now the fact that these are "process activities" does not mean that they are not incredibly important activities, in fact to the contrary. How well we carry out these process activities will directly impact how smart and strategic our final outcome measures will be.
We are also attempting in this Strategic Plan to ensure that we have the right technological infrastructure to support our strategic initiatives. In a time of limited financial resources, an investment in technology can often pay for itself many times over in efficiency. Our job is to make sure that we are moving forward in the right direction and at the right pace.
Let me say at the outset of this meeting that the work of many of our staff to implement this ambitious Strategic Plan is nothing short of remarkable. I want to thank those of our Agency staff who have responded above and beyond the call of duty in implementing this Plan, many of whom we are in fact going to hear from.
As I make clear in my written statement and as I hope I will make clear through some of my questions this morning, I believe the Commission also has an obligation to review what we called for in the Strategic Plan and to make any necessary modifications to integrate the additional goals that we set for ourselves in our Strategic Enforcement Plan that we voted on in December 2012.
For example, certain ideas that began in the Strategic Plan have now received more elaborate and focused attention in the Strategic Enforcement Plan. That's good. That's precisely the type of dynamic and iterative process we should be engaging in as an agency through the strategic planning. But we also must ensure that our various measures conform with each other and that we do not place unrealistic expectations on ourselves by failing to set realistic timelines for various goals. My 14‑page written statement reviews each of our performance measures, the evaluation of that performance measure in our 2012 PAR and my observations with regard to both our accomplishments and our proposed future activities.
Let me reiterate my appreciation for the many staffers who have responded with such dedication to implementing this Plan. Deidre Flippen, the Director of our Office of Research and Information Planning, told us many times as we were developing this Strategic Plan that we were aiming high and we were being ambitious. As I review the work that we have done over this past year, I completely agree with her assessment. I look forward to discussing these performance measures and our 2012 Performance and Accountability Report in our meeting this morning. Thank you Madam Chair.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. And just to follow up on my earlier comment, we will work with the Executive Officer to make sure that the statement is available.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Thank you, Madam Chair.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Commissioner Lipnic?
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good morning everyone. Let me say at the outset I look forward to reading Commissioner Feldblum's law review article.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you all for joining us at today's meeting. About one year ago the Commission adopted the Strategic Plan to better serve our stakeholders. Broadly, the Strategic Plan required that the Commission establish priorities, update performance criteria, effectively utilize resources, educate employees and employers alike, and improve charge processing. Some of these goals have been realized while others are currently being developed to meet our other goals in the future.
Overall, but not without reservation, I supported the Strategic Plan. Notably our focus on systemic investigations and litigation I said at the time must not create an environment that fosters or encourages any excessive investigation or litigation and does not leave behind important and impactful individual cases. While every case has its unique facts and presentation which determine its outcome, we should not dismiss recent adverse decisions as one off, and the implications of those adverse decisions should be carefully analyzed by the Commission. The Commission must, in an era of flat or decreasing resources, investigate the charges before us well, choose our litigation wisely, and develop cases that truly warrant the weight of the federal government filing an action.
Today is one step in continuing that process. For the first time since I became a Commissioner we will be hearing from the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Field Programs, the Office of Federal Operations about their activity over the last quarter in a regular session of the full Commission. While the Commission has delegated substantial authority to each of these offices, today we will exercise our oversight responsibilities. It's important that the Commission be well informed of the Commission's activities both before and while they're underway. The Commission's ability to effectively lead will be enhanced by information learned during today's meeting and each quarterly meeting going forward. And I look forward to our dialogue later this afternoon.
In these difficult and uncertain economic times, especially in light of the President's Sequestration Plan, all federal agencies are under pressure to perform with fewer resources. Since coming to the EEOC I've always been impressed with the dedication of our employees and remain so today. The Commission's employees are crucial to meeting all of our statutory obligations, and each employee's dedication will help us achieve equal employment opportunity in our nation's workplaces even in uncertain economic times.
Again I appreciate the opportunity which today's meeting affords the Commission to know our progress in implementing the Strategic Plan, other activities that we are embarking on and where we can improve, where we have been successful, and the chance to fully inform the public in an open session.
I commend you, Madam Chair, for holding this meeting today and for your focus on management improvement at the Agency, and especially for the staff for all the work that you've already put into the Strategic Plan over the past year and will do so going forward. Thank you, Madam Chair.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. Thank you all for your comments and opening statements.
Now we'll turn to our witnesses for the open meeting. We will first hear from Claudia Withers, the Chief Operating Officer and Performance Improvement Officer for the Agency, and Deidre Flippen, Director of the Office of Research, Information and Planning and Deputy Performance Improvement Officer. Following their statements the goal leaders for each of the performance measures in the Strategic Plan will be available and join them for the question and answer period.
Thank you to all witnesses who have joined us today. And we'll begin with Ms. Withers.
MS. WITHERS: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good morning, Chair Berrien, Commissioners and General Counsel. I am really pleased to be here with you this morning to discuss the work that this Agency has been able to accomplish in just under a year to further the EEOC's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012‑2016.
I'm here with my colleague Deidre Flippen, the Director of EEOC's Office of Research, Information and Planning, and with the performance measure goal leaders. Specifically with us today are Carlton Hadden, Director of the Office of Federal Operations and goal leader for Performance Measures 3 and 5; Jim Lee, Deputy General Counsel, who's testifying on behalf of General Counsel David Lopez, the goal leader for Performance Measure 4; Nicholas Inzeo, Director of the Office of Field Programs who is the goal leader for Performance Measures 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 13; Todd Cox, Director of the Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, who's the goal leader for Performance Measure 10; Legal Counsel Peggy Mastroianni, who is the goal leader for Performance Measure 11; Lisa Williams, Director of the Office of Human Resources, who is the goal leader for Performance Measure 12; and Germaine Roseboro, Director of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, who is the goal leader for Performance Measure 14.
In the interest of conserving travel resources, I will handle principally the questions related to Performance Measures 1 addressing the Strategic Enforcement Plan, which was led by Chair Jacqueline Berrien, General Counsel David Lopez and District Director Katherine Kores; and, Performance Measure 2, addressing the Quality Control Plan which is being led by District Directors John Rowe and Janet Elizondo and Commissioner Feldblum.
To the extent that the Chair, the General Counsel and the Commission would like to weigh in, I heartily welcome your assistance.
Following this introduction, Deidre Flippen is going to address the process aspects of the Strategic Plan implementation including how we monitor and follow implementation. I will then provide a very brief overview of the status of each of the performance measures today. I too have a longer statement which will be put into the record, but will try to do a brief summary of each of the performance measures. The goal leaders, as Chair Berrien has indicated, will then join in to answer more specific questions.
As we said earlier last year, the Plan is intended to communicate internally to our staff and externally to our stakeholders and to the general public that the EEOC is committed to mission critical thinking, transparent governance and interagency collaboration, and public participation. When Deidre and I first appeared before you last year at the first meeting of this Plan, my view was that the process that we had engaged in to get to the Plan that you approved embody the above principles. Now as we appear before you just a year later, we believe that our efforts at implementation also embody those principles.
Much of the work of the performance measures has been accomplished through work groups that come from across the Agency, both Headquarters and field. While Deidre and I have delegated implementation of the work of each performance measure to goal leaders, each leader has developed his or her own process to meet those objectives. They have worked with other goal leaders and with officer directors who aren't goal leaders but who provide key support for the work of the Agency. For example, although Kimberly Hancher, the Director of the Office of Information Technology, is not a goal leader herself, the work of OIT is instrumental to the work of the leaders who appear with us today.
I want also to note that the work that we've been doing through work groups and working with staff across the Agency means that this Plan will be enriched by the wisdom and the commitment of all of EEOC's employees, and it will also begin to assure that this Plan becomes a mechanism for cultural change at the Agency. If EEOC employees are not robustly engaged in implementing this Plan, then the work of the Commission is diminished. I now yield to Deidre to tell you more about our implementation process.
MS. FLIPPEN: Good morning Madam Chair, Commissioners, General Counsel and Legal Counsel. My name is Deidre Flippen. I am the Director of the Office of Research, Information and Planning, and the Deputy Performance Improvement Officer for the Agency.
I would like to provide an overview of the Agency's implementation efforts to date under the new Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012 through '16 which was approved by the Commission on February 22nd, 2012. The successful progression toward meeting our mission to stop and remedy unlawful employment discrimination as established under the Plan was also recently reported in the FY 2012 EEOC Performance and Accountability Report, or PAR, issued on November 16th, 2012. Both documents have been made available to the President, Congress, and the general public and are currently posted on our internal and external Web sites.
Please note the following implementation milestones that have occurred since the Strategic Plan was approved by the Commission in February, 2012. April 17, 2012, the Chief Operating Officer and PIO Memorandum was transmitted to goal leaders. Chair Berrien, General Counsel Lopez, Legal Counsel Mastroianni and Program Directors Roseboro, Williams, Cox, Hadden, Inzeo and Kores requested their completion of the FY 2012 through '16 EEOC Strategic Plan Performance Measure Template for each of their goal leader performance measures.
Attached was a sample template completed for the 2004 Strategic Plan requesting written methodologies for performance in each target year including past performance, definitions, necessary data items or variables to quantify results, data sources, measures, points of contact, key supporting offices, and any appropriate comments and additional references.
April 12 through 20, 2012, the Chief Operating Officer and PIO incorporated the new performance measures into the FY 2012 SES performance plans to highlight the importance of the Agency's commitment to continued review and accountability of its senior staff efforts towards our adopted vision, justice and equality in the workplace.
And May 4, 2012, the commencement of SES senior staff progress reviews were regularly conducted by the Office of the Chair to monitor program performance and address critical concerns related to 2012 strategic planning.
June 16th, ORIP, the Office of Research, Information and Planning, provided initial comments on goal leader draft implementation plans to goal leaders and the Chief Operating Officer to ensure consistency and the reliability of the data collected.
July 6th, ORIP transmitted the request for goal leader FY 2014 performance budget, GPRA-MA midyear results, preliminary FY 2012 PAR updates in accordance with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer timeline for the development of the FY 2014 budget.
August 17, 2012, ORIP, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer, prepared the initial draft FY 2014 performance budget containing midyear Strategic Plan performance updates for submission to OMB based on goal leader and program director responses.
September 10, 2012, ORIP, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer prepared the final draft FY 2014 performance budget containing revised midyear Strategic Plan performance updates for submission to OMB for review and approval.
October 16, ORIP requests year‑end GPRA-MA performance results from program offices to finalize the 2012 PAR which details EEOC's annual strategic accomplishments.
October 22, ORIP begins the review and assessment of year‑end GPRA-MA performance results with supporting documentation and program office annual accomplishments provided by all goal leaders with 2012 reporting responsibilities in the 2012 PAR. ORIP conducts data verification and analyses on supporting documentation to ensure consistency and reliability of information collected. ORIP interacts extensively with program office staff to finalize data submissions and validate program office annual accomplishments.
November 16, 2012, ORIP, in cooperation with the Office of Communication and Legislative Affairs, published the FY 2012 EEOC Performance and Accountability Report.
Since the publication of the Agency's 2012 PAR, the following actions have occurred to continue strategic performance evaluation and review beginning in Fiscal Year '13:
December 14, 2012, the Commission approved the Agency's 2012 Strategic Enforcement Plan as directed by the EEOC 2016 Strategic Plan.
January 25, 2013, the Chief Operating Officer transmitted a memorandum titled "Status and Initial Preparation for the 2012‑16 Strategic Plan Anniversary Commission Meeting" to all goal leaders and their performance designees as a reminder to continue their work, meeting the Strategic Plan's performance targets for FY '13.
I thank you for your time and hope that this overview has been helpful. I'm available to answer any questions.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Ms. Withers, I believe you have a continuation?
MS. WITHERS: Yes, thank you Madam Chair. Thank you Deidre.
As we know, the Strategic Plan identifies the mission of the Agency as to stop and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and our vision as justice and equality in the workplace. The Plan contains three strategic objectives: To combat employment discrimination through strategic law enforcement; to prevent employment discrimination through education and outreach; and to deliver excellent service through effective systems, updated technology and a skilled and diverse work force. The Plan goes on to include a number of outcome goals, strategies and performance measures.
Overall we have made incredible progress in implementing the Strategic Plan. As reported in our FY '12 PAR, as Deidre has indicated, of the 14 measures in our Plan we met or exceeded our FY '12 expectations for eight of them and we partially met the targets in two of the measures. The four remaining measures had no specific targets for Fiscal Year 2012. I'll walk through each of the performance measures and provide a brief update.
Performance Measure 1 indicates that by 2016 the EEOC develops, issues, implements, evaluates and revises as necessary a Strategic Enforcement Plan. Work on Performance Measure 1 started within weeks of the Strategic Plan's adoption by this body. A work group comprised of more than a dozen Agency leaders from across program and district offices and co‑chaired by Chair Jacqueline Berrien, General Counsel David Lopez, and Birmingham District Director Katherine Kores spent much of the year developing a draft Strategic Enforcement Plan for the Commission's consideration. The SEP was required to establish nationwide enforcement priorities and integrate all the components of EEOC's private, state and local; aka the public, and the federal sector enforcement.
In June, the work group solicited public input into the Plan's development and in response received more than 100 submissions from individuals, organizations and coalitions, internal and external to the Agency and from across the nation.
In July of 2012, the Commission invited more than 30 of these authors and some others to participate in a public round table on the Plan's development.
And in September the Commission released a draft of the SEP for public comment and again received nearly 100 responses. Due to the size and the quality of those responses, the Commission delayed its vote on the SEP from September to December 2012 when the Plan was ultimately adopted.
Now the Plan established six enforcement priorities including: Eliminating barriers and recruitment in hiring; protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers; addressing emerging and developing issues; enforcing equal pay laws; preserving access to the legal system; and preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach.
The Chair, with the help of Agency leadership, created six teams to correspond to each of the six priorities to develop nationwide strategies for effectively addressing each priority. These teams are comprised of Agency staff who are experts on the priority issue and are primarily responsible for any of the strategies that are discussed. All teams began meeting in February of 2013 and are quickly working to draft recommendations for their review. After those recommendations are completed, our vision is that the teams will continue to serve as an internal brain trust on the priority issues and will help to monitor the success of the strategies and serve as a resource to the Agency staff and Commission.
Now while the SEP team recommendations will focus on national priorities, at the same time the SEP also requires the development of district level and federal sector plans to identify and develop multidisciplinary strategies for addressing local or federal sector specific discrimination issues. All these recommendations, whether at the national level, the local or the federal sector, will hopefully operate in tandem to pursue a more targeted and strategic approach to eliminating unlawful employment discrimination and a more equal workplace.
In addition to the creation of these Plans the SEP also requires several other sets of Plans including sub‑regulatory policy guidance, data and research outreach and education, and national standard operating procedures. Each of these has targets for FY 2013 and therefore work is already or will soon be underway to achieve these targets.
Last, as the Commissioner has already indicated, the SEP requires that the Commission hold quarterly update meetings for the Office of Field Programs, Office of General Counsel and Office of Federal Operations to update the Commission on the SEP priorities. The first of these meetings is being held this afternoon.
Performance Measure 2 requires that by FY 2016 a percentage to be determined of investigations and conciliations meet the criteria established in a new Quality Control Plan. The work on Performance Measure 2 began this year. In December Chair Berrien launched a work group for this measure that is co‑ chaired by Commissioner Feldblum, Chicago District Director Jack Rowe and Dallas District Director Janet Elizondo. This work group was comprised of experienced Headquarters and field staff that will work to evaluate, revise and where necessary, take another look at the current standards for quality, for investigations and conciliations.
This work group will also be working to ensure that the insight of the public will be part of its process and recently requested public input on the quality of investigations and conciliations. Those comments are due next Friday, March 1st and after receiving the comments the work group will take a look at them and will spend the next several weeks drafting recommendations for the Commission to consider and vote on by April 30th, 2013.
Performance Measure 3 asks that by FY 2016 100 percent of federal sector case inventory is categorized according to a new case management system and a percentage to be determined of hearings and appeals meet the criteria that are established in a new Federal Sector Quality Control Plan. We began work on performance Measure 3 in fiscal year 2012. And by the end of Fiscal Year 2013 the Commission will have developed categories for federal sector cases according to a new case management system and developed, piloted and implemented new processes and technology ensuring appropriate guidance, documentation and staff training. While it is not clear that we'll make that deadline, the Commission is on track to reach these goal posts shortly thereafter.
Last year OFO and OFP established a work group consisting of field managers, supervisory administrative judges, Headquarters OFO participants, OFP and OIT staff, and a union representative from the field. A case management subgroup was formed among other groups which began its work by surveying appellate attorneys and administrative judges regarding their case management processes and practices. This group also sought input from administrative judges and reviewed past EEOC work on this issue. The result of their work was an internal proposal which is currently being reviewed by the Directors of OFP and OFO, and work on that proposal is still ongoing.
To ensure acceptance and successful implementation of that process, which has, as Carlton will tell you, been a robust one, the goal leaders for OFO and OFP have recommended, and I agree with them, additional time for vetting and consideration of the feedback they've received. This seems reasonable to us and will allow the Federal Complement Plan currently in progress to be finalized and voted on in May 2013 after which the Case Management Program pilots would begin. Originally that Plan would have come after the pilots began. Additionally, to ensure meaningful evaluation of the pilots once they begin, the goal leaders recommend that the pilots run six months, the more accurate cycle of a hearings case.
Accounting for all the factors that the goal leaders have learned need to be involved will put us beyond the end of Fiscal Year '13, but this additional time will ultimately benefit the Federal Program and serve the Commission's goals in establishing performance Measure 3. As the OFP and OFO goal leaders move forward in this process, Deidre and I will work with them to develop a more updated timeline and will present that to you as soon as possible.
Performance Measure 4 indicates that by the end of Fiscal Year 2016 a percentage to be determined of the cases in the Agency's litigation docket are systemic cases. In FY '12 the Office of General Counsel established a baseline of 18 to 21 percent of systemic cases as part of the litigation docket. The current percentage of systemic cases is 19.7 percent, well within the range that was established as the baseline. OGC further notes that it is possible that the percentage of systemic cases may decrease if resources to support such cases are not available.
Performance Measure 5 requires that by Fiscal Year 2016 the EEOC uses an integrated data system to identify potentially discriminatory policies or practices in federal agencies and has issued and evaluated a number to be determined of compliance plans to address areas of concern. Work on this measure was not yet scheduled to start until this very fiscal year during which time the Agency is to create and implement a data system for complaint, hearing and statistical employee data in order to establish priorities in the federal sector.
The OFO/OFP work group has already begun working with OIT to develop the requisite data systems including the selection of options for developing an online database. In the third quarter of FY '12 this group began development of the federal sector EEO portal, FEDSEP, to replace the former platform for collecting MD‑715 data. OFO estimates that FEDSEP will be fully operational in March of this year and it will be the vehicle used by agencies to upload 715 data and Form 462 data.
It's likely again that the completion of this segment of the measure will move to the end of the first quarter of 2014, but given that all this work group and OIT are doing with both Performance Measures 3 and 5, I'm pleased with the progress that they've made. As necessary, Deidre and I will work with the goal leaders to develop a new timeline for implementing this particular measure.
Need to take a breath here.
MS. WITHERS: Performance Measure 6 by Fiscal Year 2016, a percentage to be determined, the EEOC's administrative and legal resolutions will contain targeted equitable relief. Performance Measure 7 indicates that by Fiscal Year 2016 a percentage to be determined of resolutions by FEPAs will contain targeted equitable relief. FY 2013 performance Measure 6 requires that the Agency is to collect data on the percentage of administrative and legal resolutions containing targeted equitable relief, essentially relief that is not just monetary, but relief that is designed to move a system forward to change an employer's attitudes and work force. In order to do that we needed to establish a baseline of existing targeted equitable relief and resolutions and then be able to project future targets for different types of targeted equitable relief.
OFP expects to be on target for both these performance measures. They have already worked with OIT to develop an IMS screen to be able to categorize targeted equitable relief and have been training EEOC staff in Headquarters and the field, as well as staff in the Fair Employment Practice Agencies and the same local governments, the FEPAs, on what targeted equitable relief is. OIT is also working with those FEPAs that don't have computer systems that are congruent with our IMS program to make sure that everything is consistent in order to move forward on those particular performance measures.
Performance Measure 8 indicates that by Fiscal Year 2016 the EEOC is maintaining a percentage to be determined or a number to be determined of significant partnerships with organizations that represent vulnerable workers or underserved communities. Similarly, Performance Measure 9 indicates that by Fiscal Year 2016 the EEOC is maintaining a number to be determined of significant partnerships with organizations that represent small or new businesses or with the businesses directly. Similarly, OFP expects to be on target with these measures in Fiscal Year 2013.
In Fiscal Year 2012 OFP developed a definition of significant partnership and worked with program analysts across the field and their directors to develop a national baseline. Thus far in 2013 OFP leadership is working through conference calls and meetings with the district directors, deputy directors and program analysts to ensure that everybody has a clear sense of what partnerships need to be developed or maintained to meet the planned increase for this fiscal year. The baseline that was established in FY '12 was a national baseline of 10 percent of increase.
For performance Measure 10 by FY '13 the EEOC implements a Social Media Plan. As the goal leader for this performance measure, OCLA also has established a working group which has determined the requirements necessary to develop a Social Media Plan, and the group has developed a very preliminary initial draft for internal review. This draft Plan lays out the policies and guidance that form the framework for successfully engaging in social media on official EEOC sites and accounts and includes the legal, ethical and strategic communication best practices that the Agency needs to consider in engaging in social media. OCLA already has begun a pilot Twitter account and is beginning to resurrect the Agency's You Tube channel.
OCLA, which recently added a new Communications Director, plans to meet the target for implementation of social media in the following ways in this fiscal year: They will be integrating the social media planning into the Comprehensive Communications and Outreach Plan required under the Strategic Enforcement Plan; they'll be convening a Communications Content Committee which will help to develop content for a Web site that can be used for any social media platforms the Agency develops; they'll be establishing a schedule for developing additional agency wide social media platforms and will be developing formal methods for evaluating the impact of the Agency's social media engagement, an actual outcome to this measure.
Madam Chair, I'd like permission to continue my testimony. I see that my time has officially run out, but I have much more to share with the Commission.
CHAIR BERRIEN: If you can abbreviate it as much as you could.
MS. WITHERS: I will do my best, ma'am.
CHAIR BERRIEN: That would be helpful.
MS. WITHERS: Yes.
CHAIR BERRIEN: But we want you to be able to breathe, too, so
MS. WITHERS: Okay. Into the home stretch. Performance Measure 11, the EEOC reviews, updates and/or augments with plain language materials of sub‑regulatory guidance if necessary. In FY '12 OLC was to submit four plain language revisions. OLC exceeded this target and submitted 10 documents for review. Three were issued. And in FY '13 OLC will continue to work toward the issuance of these documents and will meet its goal in FY '13 of submitting at least two updated guidances to OCH in the fiscal year.
Performance Measure 12, the EEOC strengthens its skills and improves the diversity of its work force. Our 2012 PAR notes that we were unable to fully meet this performance measure because we had a hiring freeze. But to the extent that we were able to make some hiring, we met the goals that OHR set for itself in terms of timing of that hiring and we continue to work on strategies under our Executive Order on diversity and inclusion and the Executive Order on hiring individuals with disabilities.
Performance Measure 13 indicates that the EEOC improves the private sector charge process to streamline services and increase responsiveness to customers throughout the process. As you may recall, the Strategic Plan indicated that the Agency would be ultimately developing an online system that will allow charging parties to submit pre‑charge inquiries for review, to provide online scheduling, to provide parties online access to check the status of their charge, to streamline the intake process and to establish a secure portal for electronic transmittal and receipt of charge‑related documents.
In FY '13 and in FY '12 OFP focused the work around two projects: The Milestone Project, which will allow parties to check the status of a charge; and the Online Intake Project will address the other requirements, including an online submission of a pre‑charge inquiry, online scheduling and streamlining the intake project. Both of these projects are in process and there's been a bit of a delay because we've had to take some time to bring on contractors to work on the projects.
Until we get a little bit more clarity about our FY '13 budget, we're taking a break and bringing on extra contractors at this time. However, we believe that we're on par to make a substantial amount of progress in all the five areas that we've talked about, both with the technology that we've got in place and with the contractors that we've got coming in to help us enhance the technology that we have.
Performance measure 14 indicates that the EEOC's budgetary resources for FY 2014 and 2017 align with the Strategic Plan. It is already the Chair's responsibility as you know to align budgetary resources. Although this measure did not require this action, we began the process in OCH of aligning resources in FY '12. In FY '12, in accordance with the performance measure, we directed funds available at the end of the year to OIT to begin its investment in Strategic Plan priorities.
We continue this approach with the FY '13 Operating Plan. And although as you know we're on a continuing resolution and need to plan for possible sequestration, for FY 2014 we began the process of developing the budget by beginning our interactions indicating that office directors should look to the Strategic Plan to develop their budget submissions. And similarly our interactions with OMB have consistently stressed the importance of the Strategic Plan priorities. This will continue once we receive the President's budget and the Chair develops an Operating Plan for 2014. We expect to continue this approach as we begin to develop the budget for 2015.
In conclusion we continue to believe that we've done what the Chair has asked us to do in 2011, which was to develop a Plan that can move us forward as an agency. I believe that our process has set a tone for working together that will ensure our ongoing exchange about our goals and ultimate success and implementation of the Plan. Thank you for your patience in listening to this fulsome report, and we look forward to answering any of your questions.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you very much Ms. Withers and Ms. Flippen. I'll ask Ms. Mastroianni to please join Ms. Withers and Ms. Flippen at the witness table. In the event that there are questions, you're a goal leader and we want to be sure that you're able to respond to those questions. And Thomas Schlageter from the Office of Legal Counsel will handle the usual official duties of time keeping that you take on.
MRS MASTROIANNI. Okay.
CHAIR BERRIEN: But we don't want you to have to divide your time or attention too much.
The question and answer period will be divided into two rounds with seven minutes per Commissioner in the first round and five minutes per Commissioner in the second. I will reserve my questions until the end of each round, but otherwise we'll go in order of seniority. And as always, please note that the yellow light will appear when there is one minute remaining in the round. The red light will appear at the end of the allotted time for the round. If a witness is speaking at the end of the period, please move to conclude your statement as quickly as possible. We'll begin the questions with Commissioner Barker.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Thank you. And I'd like to thank everybody for their contributions. Peggy, I'm sorry we didn't get to hear from you, but I'm glad you've joined the others. And Claudia, thank you for your very detailed and very accurate report, and I applaud you on being able to read that long, I don't think I could. It's obvious from reports that have been made that a tremendous amount of time and effort has gone into this process, an awful lot of hours involved, an awful lot of people, and again I thank all of you for your contribution. And I don't have any questions. Thank you.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you Commissioner. Commissioner Feldblum?
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Thank you so much. I'm going to go generally in the order of the performance measures, but I'm actually going to start though with Performance Measure 13 before I go up, because that is about technology and technology is I think such an important piece of the infrastructure and it's also one of the pieces that I think we might need to modify, as you already alluded to, Ms. Withers, with some of the other measures. So may I ask you if you can just I will try to keep my questions short if you can try to keep your answers short in terms of the timing.
So my question, it is to OFP and to our COO. Can the paperless file system that has been internally developed by OIT for our systemic watch list be applied to all of our charges in IMS? If yes, how long would it take to make that happen? And if no, what would be required in terms of timing and resources?
MS. WITHERS: I'll start. The short answer is yes. We have recently spoken with OIT about this specific point and she indicates that with some tweaking that this is a possibility. We can't give you a specific timeline at this point Commissioner because we want to spend some more time speaking with Kimberly about how to make that work, but can in short order get to you. I will confess that one of the things that we're learning is that those of us who aren't IT specialists need to know how to ask the right questions of our IT specialists. And so we're learning about that process.
So the short answer is yes and we'll get a timeline to you as quickly as possible and to the Commission as quickly as possible for that whole performance measure and what we need to get forward on.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Great. And as I said, part of and what I have in my written statement is I'm pleased that obviously we're moving forward on the other first four requirements that were set forth. And let me just ask a quick clarification, you note that the second one of those requirements is that parties can check the status of their charges. And by "parties" do we mean both the charging party and the respondent?
MS. WITHERS: Yes ma'am.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Okay. So as I did note though that I would find it contrary to the intent of the Commission in passing Performance Measure 13 if the Agency were to implement, go forward with the first four initiatives described in our Strategic Plan, without first also determining the requirements for the paperless file system, although it sounds like those have already been done. And that once that's done the Agency should, as you note, develop pilot, implement new processes and technology in a phase and iterative manner, ensuring appropriate guidance, documentation and staff training; and my guess is staff training is going to be one of the most important pieces there, with regard to all five elements of the Plan of that performance measure at the same time?
MS. WITHERS: We are working on all of the elements at the same time. As to how they stack up, we won't be introducing them all in the same moment of the same day, but yes, we are looking at working on all of them at the same time. Yes ma'am.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Right. As I note there, unless there's a particular technical reason
MS. WITHERS: Yes.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: to implement the online scheduling and information gathering and the online checking status, unless there is a particular technical reason to implement those two before one also has the paperless file system, then absolutely I would hope that you would let the Commission know of that fact. If there isn't a technical reason, then let me just reiterate that my understanding, at least of Performance Measure 13, is that the paperless file system is actually a key component.
MS. WITHERS: Understood. Yes ma'am.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Okay. So now moving forward more in order, obviously measures 1 and 2 are the main process activities. Got out the Strategic Enforcement Plan, it's hard to have a strategy that says we will rigorously implement priority charge handling procedures if the Commission hasn't established priorities. So the first performance measure was on us. And I'm glad we performed, you know, within three months. So target, you know, partially met, but that's fine. As long as we're on the right road at the right pace, if we're three months behind, we're golden from my perspective.
Second, the Quality Control Plan, that as Ms. Withers noted, we are currently working on. It's one of the reasons the paperless file system is so important from my perspective to have in place by the end of 2013, because as you know in 2014 we're going to figure out our baseline of how our investigations and conciliations match up in terms of quality. We've given ourselves all of 2014 to figure out our baseline and establish our targets, which we will then try to meet in 2015 and 2016. So the paperless file system is just a really important piece of that.
So with regard to Performance Measure 3, again we had as a strategy rigorously implement a case management system in the federal sector, but of course it was hard to do that when we didn't even have even any categorization process. At least with priority charge handling procedures we had a process we had voted on in 1995. Here we didn't have anything.
So my questions to both Nick and Carlton, can you describe a little bit about the process that you've undertaken to develop this categorization, this robust conversation? You don't have to tell us all the details since we don't have the time for it, but I would be curious about, one, any particular hurdles that you found in dealing with it; and two, how the priority areas from the SEP that was voted on in December have been incorporated? Since at the moment the administrative judges, the hearing folks are under OFP and that's often the first step for at least some cases, Nick might want to start, although some cases just come directly to OFO, so it could be Carlton that could start. So I leave it to the two of you.
MR. INZEO: Commissioner let me say that what we did, both Carlton and I, drew together a meeting of OFO and OFP managers and staff experts to put together a working group. And in forming that working group we actually formed three groups, one dealing with case management, one dealing with priorities, one dealing with technology.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Wait. I'm sorry. So you had a case management working group that was separate from a priorities working group?
MR. INZEO: It was all part of one group.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Yes.
MR. INZEO: But three subgroups within
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Three subgroups? Okay. Good. Because one of my questions is going to be how those priorities have fit into the case management. So, okay.
MR. INZEO: What the subgroups did was, with the support of both groups, survey both all of the AJs in the field, as well as the appellate attorneys in OFO, to gather ideas and input from those people doing the jobs in terms of both case management and priorities. Let me stop there and turn it over to Carlton.
MR. HADDEN: Yes, I'm not sure what I can add other than the process I think has been one of the most challenging things for us in terms of because the AJs are in the field and we're in Headquarters. And getting everybody on the same page and to deal with different realities; because every district may have a different reality, and ours is a little bit different. I think the hurdle was getting everybody to communicate and to understand what do we mean when we talk about categorization? And so I think that's been a major accomplishment.
To go to your last question about how we integrate the SEP, I mean I think that's also going to be a function of the Federal Sector Complement Plan, and we have asked for public input from that. Every public meeting we go to we ask for people to give us suggestions and ideas. So how that will all work, it will hopefully not hopefully, it will work as part of the categorization process and part of the Case Management Plan.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Thank you so much. I see my time is up. Maybe based on our time maybe we can have some extra rounds based on time remaining. So thank you.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. Commissioner Lipnic?
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you Madam Chair. Let me ask Ms. Withers a sort of broad based question first since you you know, as someone who you've worked at other agencies and many other organizations. So now in the implementation phase on the Strategic Plan are there particular challenges that you think are unique to the EEOC as an organization?
MS. WITHERS: Well, I think that every agency or institution that attempts to implement a strategic plan will have challenges based on their own unique culture. I think the fact that the EEOC is spread across 53 offices and does the bulk of its work in the field is a necessary and an understandable challenge where we're trying to communicate a set of principles that can be consistent across the Agency while still measuring and valuing the realities that may be different in each district office and across the field. I think that's probably something that's unique to the EEOC. I think what the EEOC brings to bear on this though is the commitment of all the employees to the mission. And so folks are -- that's definitely a baseline we work with.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Right.
MS. WITHERS: So I think the challenge is just the natural geographic distribution of our offices and getting to talk to each other in a consistent and regular way. And knowing that for example people in Memphis, which is where Kathy Kores actually is, instead of Birmingham
MS. WITHERS: excuse me, may have a different view than people in Detroit, or may have the same view. But getting to communicate that, is the challenge, I think.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And then let me sort of direct this to the entire panel since there's so many years of experience with the EEOC. Do you think in implementing this Strategic Plan, as you've seen compared to say in the past, what are sort of the differences about this and any particular challenges related to it? Deidre, we'll start with you.
MS. FLIPPEN: One of the great things about this process and I have been involved with strategic planning in the Agency in the past. And one of the great things about this process is the real participation across the Agency and the attempts to really bring people in from the field, whether it's, you know, on the TV or whether it's on the phone, and to get their thoughts, to get their written input. I think that's been great. I think that's really enriched the process. It's not been the way we've done things in the past. It's often been, well, the people you see sitting right here, you know
MS. FLIPPEN: writing the Plan and implementing the Plan and there being no ownership within the Agency, people not even knowing what the measures are. I would dare say that everybody might not know what they all are, but I think people are familiar with what we're doing because we've engaged so many people in the field and in the process, here at Headquarters, too.
Challenges; I think Claudia alluded to that, is that, you know, when we created the measures we didn't know all of the ins and outs of technology. And believe me, we're being educated by Kimberly and her staff as to what really goes into trying to develop these systems.
So on one level it's really great and it will be great when we implement it, but the other is what it and it's not just the money. It's not just the money. It's really thinking through how to make it work. Because one thing that we don't want to do is to have the experience of some other agencies from implementing citizen‑centered, you know, programs and then they don't work. So it's really important that we step back and figure out exactly what we want to do and how the technology can help us.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Any other thoughts, Carlton, especially related to the federal sector?
MR. HADDEN: Yes, I agree with everything Deidre said. I think that's the one difference that I've observed and I think that's one benefit, is people are owning the process, and before it was kind of isolated. And for the federal sector it was the federal sector and there's the rest of EEOC. This time it's one EEOC, and I think that's been a tremendous gain for us as an agency.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And do you feel like that is embraced by, you know, sort of all aspects of people who work within OFO and
MR. HADDEN: Oh, I think so, and I think it's embraced by all of OFO. And I think it's also reflected in this process that we've engaged with our counterparts in the field, which I think is an ongoing process. And I think in this era of limited resources, this is the only way we can work, and I think everybody realizes that.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Okay. Anyone else want to add any thoughts on this? If not, I have another question. This is actually Peggy, I wanted to ask you. In terms of the I'm trying to find the performance measure Performance Measure 11 about documents issued in plain language, which seems to me an incredible indictment of the legal profession.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: So I'm wondering if you can just sort of explain generally the idea behind the quote "plain language" effort?
MS. MASTROIANNI: I think when we issue sub‑regulatory policy, or even when we issue regulations, you have different audiences for different kinds of documents. There's nothing wrong with having documents that have a lot of legal language in them and extensive citation to support what the Commission's views are, but those are documents for attorneys, obviously. And you need other kinds of documents to reach everybody else, and I don't think it's even just one other kind of document.
We have discovered, I think from the time that we issued the GINA regulation a few years ago, that it was important to have one document that was just a Q&A that you didn't have to be a lawyer to understand. I think that ended up being used a lot by reporters, frankly. And then we also felt it important to have a document, a separate Q&A for small business. We have done similar things since then. I don't think we would ever just issue a legal sub‑regulatory document without also these surrounding documents.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: So which then sort of raises another question related to the performance measure about the Communications Plan and social media. So I'm wondering, and I don't know who is the best person to comment on this; maybe Todd might want to comment on this, about sort of what differences you see in, you know, how or whatever our social media is going to do in communicating to people in a more plain language manner or however many characters you're allowed to tweet. I forget. You would know that Commissioner Feldblum.
CHAIR BERRIEN: I'll just say this is the last question on that round.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Oh, sorry.
CHAIR BERRIEN: And there will be opportunity in the next round if you need to follow up.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you.
MR. COX: Thank you Commissioner. I think that, you know, beyond social media I think we're challenged in general. And speaking of plain language, even more plain than even our Q&A.
MR. COX: I think one of OCLA's missions and goals has been always to take what we get from our Agency experts and then translate it even further with their vetting into something that's even more understandable by reporters and by the general public. And we're working very hard with the Web team to make sure our Web site, for example, is organized in a way that's user friendly, working very closely with OLC and how they talk to us and communicate externally in terms of how we talk about our documents.
We're now, under leadership of our new communications director, training one of our new staff members in plain language discussions and presentations of our Agency work. So I think it's a challenge beyond just social media. I think social media will take us in a different direction or perhaps amplify that, but I think the first thing is think about this as a communications challenge. And I think starting from there, you know, social media just adds another layer of opportunity for communicating.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: I have some further questions, but I'll hold them until the next round.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Okay. Thank you. And I have some questions for this round. Actually following up quickly on the issue of plain language and our outreach broadly, I don't envy anyone who has to take on the challenge of distilling complicated body of law, complicated decisions into terms that are readily understandable. It's not an easy challenge.
But I think the one other dimension of this occurs all the time in the field through our program analyst, and I wondered if in addition to the response we just got from OCLA if there could be a word about what our program analysts do in terms of presentations, as well as the work that your office does, the Office of Legal Counsel does in terms of presenting material verbally and if one of the things we might be able to do going forward is also tap into some of the material that we are presenting live to audiences, including lay audiences all around the country, as we look at how we make people more widely aware of what our laws require. And I'll start with Nick.
MR. INZEO: Yes, one advantage I think that program analysts in the field have, whenever a policy document is written, even when decisions are issued for which the Office of Legal Counsel provides advice to everyone, they also provide talking points, and those talking points can then be used not only by those of us here in Headquarters, but they're also then used by program analysts to develop presentations to other groups. They have the advantage of being prepared by our experts in the Office of Legal Counsel, and as talking points they generally are more plain language and more susceptible to then being used in presentations on those topics to people around the country.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Okay. Anyone else want to add anything to this point?
MS. MASTROIANNI: Just one thing. I hope this is responsive Madam Chair. On Commissioner Barker's Small Business Task Force we had a number of speakers, and I think one of the things we learned was that there's a continuum here, that you start with the Web site and with the policy documents, the mother documents, so to speak, and with surrounding Q&As that are more accessible. And then ultimately you want to move from the Web site, nobody will start with the Web site, or very few people will start with the Web site. What they'll start with is Twitter or Facebook and then the goal is to move them ultimately to the Web site; not everybody will want to go all the way there, and have documents and speakers all along that route with different kinds of language, some very basic and then less so.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you all and thank you for the work that you're doing, too, everyday with the leadership of OCLA to make sure that people are widely aware of what we do and of the requirements of the laws that we enforce, as Commissioner Barker has pointed out, preventing discrimination in the first place, which of course is one of the three goals in the Strategic Plan is of paramount importance to the Commission especially at a time of limited resources.
And that brings me to a question for Ms. Withers. You noted in your testimony that budget constraints could impact the timing of completion of certain IT projects and that the Office of the General Counsel has indicated that the number of new systemic filings could also be impacted. I'd like to ask you, and perhaps Ms. Roseboro as well, if you foresee at this time any other Strategic Plan goals that could be impacted, recognizing that we are still operating under a continuing resolution as we speak and without a final budget for the fiscal year as we speak, so recognizing that any response could be modified or need to be modified based on wherever our budget ultimately lands in this fiscal year.
MS. WITHERS: Well, I'll pick up my answer Madam Chair where your question ended, which is that we will necessarily have to take a look at what happens vis‑à‑vis continuing resolution in the potential sequestration for all the work of the Strategic Plan. Within the contours of what clear budget we have we will seek to meet priorities as we can. However, in addition to technology and litigation, clearly the basic premise of the work we do with the Agency, the backbone of the Agency staffing will be affected as if our budget continues to be tight.
I've indicated that we've been acting with a hiring freeze and have been able to make relatively few hires over the last couple of years. If that continues, then that will be a challenge for us. As committed and as hardworking as the staff that we have are, there is a limit. So that will be an overarching challenge Madam Chair. As you know and as the Commission knows, over three quarters of our budget is compensation and benefits. So that's a natural and first concern that we would have with any budget implications. And so that's where I would start.
Any of the other things that we do will necessarily have to be looked at. I don't want to use the word "curtailed," but looked at more carefully if we have a tightened budget.
I don't know if Germaine wants to add anymore.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. And Ms. Withers the second question to you, in the second part of your presentation you reviewed the Agency's progress in meeting the Fiscal Year '12 performance measures. I just wanted to confirm that broadly the substance of that report that you gave here today, is that also in our Performance and Accountability Report?
MS. WITHERS: Yes ma'am. Yes ma'am. I did an update in my testimony, but the substance of our FY '12 activities can be found in the FY '12 Performance and Accountability Report.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. And now we'll go to a second round of questions, this time five minutes per round, same triggers of the warning lights. And we'll begin this round with Commissioner Barker.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Thank you Madam Chair. And just to follow up on some of what's been said about the Communications piece, I want to express my appreciation especially to Peggy and Todd and Nick, and also from Chris Lage in the General Counsel's office for working with me on the Small Business Task Force and particularly on the focus on communication. As Peggy noted, one of the things we're running into is learning how a small business, especially the small brand new entrepreneurs, operate in real time and not on paper documents or, you know, signing up to go to a seminar. And so this has been educational for all of us.
And this is one part of the Strategic Plan that I like very much, and I particularly like the fact that what we're doing in Small Business carefully dovetails into what OCLA is doing. And one of the things we'll be looking at is not just real time, you know, how do you get information to, you know, the young 20‑year‑old starting a business who at some point we hope will have 15 employees and come under our jurisdiction, but also the whole plain language piece.
And one of the things that I think is going to be essential and I apologize because my voice is almost gone, but one of the things that I think will be essential in the plain language aspects of this is that we learn to put things in plain language in different languages. And one of the things we're looking at is the minority‑owned small business person, and particularly where there are language barriers.
And one thing that I think we need to be very aware of is that and I applaud Todd for hiring a new communications director who is bilingual, because one of my concerns is that as an Agency our own demographics as far as the number of persons in key positions who need to be bilingual or not is a concern. And I hope that moving forward that we really focus on the program analysts, and when we look to them and to making the contacts with and developing the significant partnerships, that as we have opportunities to hire program analysts who are bilingual that we make that a priority, and also investigators, and also to a lesser extent attorneys.
But I'm very concerned that if we know that as an agency, if we're going to get ahead of the game as far as being prepared to deal with the demographic issues that are ahead of us, that we need to really focus on seeing if we can't recruit people who are bilingual so we can effectively communicate with the people who are going to be those people we need to reach out to in the next 10, 20, 30 years. So thank you.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Did anyone want to respond to Commissioner Barker's statement or the issue that she's raised about language access in languages other than English?
MR. COX: Thank you Commissioner Barker. I would just add that we were looking to working with you on your task force as really a model of how we can integrate what you just said in terms of how we communicate our work both using social media, how we really integrate that into a larger communication strategy.
And, you know, OCLA, as you noted, we have now a bilingual staff person. We're hoping to expand our Twitter presence into a Spanish language Twitter feed and really expand our outreach in that regard. But we're really looking to I think the task force as an important model for us and in our collaboration with our colleagues is an important way that we can really expand our communications outreach and create a sort of infrastructure that we really don't have now.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: Thank you Todd.
MR. INZEO: And Commissioner let me acknowledge the work that the Office of Legal Counsel has done. We've worked with them in terms of language assistance and making sure that EEOC is accessible in a number of different languages through our bilingual staff, both those on bilingual PDs and those who volunteer, to do work in languages where they are fluent. We have quite a network.
We also have at our disposal contractor services that can provide translations where needed. But it is an important area for us in terms of our staffing, but also to make sure that we are accessible.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. Commissioner Feldblum?
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Thanks so much. So I want to underscore what Commissioner Barker and Peggy just said, and I'm glad that the Small Business Task Force through its speakers got the information that actually people will not just go to the Web site directly. They will be driven to it, led to it through Facebook and through Twitter. And that is why in my written statement I noted that I felt like the performance measure for the Social Media Plan, Performance Measure 10, is basically what they call in the military OBE, overtaken by events, right? Because in the SEP, in the Strategic Enforcement Plan, we have called for a multi‑year Communications Outreach Education Plan. And as you note in your testimony, Claudia, that is going to be wrapped into that and I think that makes sense.
And to answer my colleague's question on Twitter, yes, only 140 characters, but the fact is that the point is, what can you say that makes someone want to click on the link? So a tweet from yesterday in which I said "In prep for meeting. Reviewing year one of EEOC's Strategic Plan. This piece by Steve Goodrich at" and his Twitter thing, "Center for Organizational Excellence" hits the mark. And then the link. And Deidre let me tell you'll love this article. Okay? I mean it's about making data‑driven decisions, but how do you do that intelligently?
And then Commissioner Lipnic I'm sure you'll appreciate to know that the tweet right before that was re‑tweeting SHRM's tweet, "Learn about EEOC SEP from Commissioners @chaifeldblum and Victoria Lipnic" who doesn't have an @Twitter handle yet @shrmledge. So again it's simply a way of the outreach, and this was one of the ones that I referenced in terms of we expanded in the Strategic Enforcement Plan of thinking on this.
The other thing I want to underscore from the comments that we heard in the previous questions; and Madam Chair this is really from my perspective something I want to commend you about, that we heard from Claudia and Deidre and Carlton about how this strategic planning process is really feeling different to people because of people being engaged and getting their ideas in, and that is precisely what you told me when we sat the first time and you said I'm putting together this Performance Measurement Work Group and I'm going out across the Agency.
And what you and Claudia and Joi, you know, putting together the people for the Strategic Planning Work Group and Performance Measurement Work Group, and you've done it now again on the Quality Control, is I think huge in terms of at least getting some information in.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: So my question is going to be on Performance Measures 8 and 9 where I feel we actually learned from the folks there. In my written statement I literally go through two pages it will never make it into a law review, I can assure you.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: But it's literally an EEOC law review article. I go through the all quantitative measures we thought about for outreach and education. I mean unlike the previous Strategic Plan, which didn't even have a measure for education, we did believe that we needed to highlight preventing discrimination before it occurred into its own strategic objective and have its own measure.
So we went through all these quantitative measures that I describe; all of which we had problems with, and we finally came to the idea of having a qualitative measure instead of a quantitative, you know, having what we call these ongoing interactive sustained relationships with community groups and with business groups. The idea being is once you've got those more sustained relationships, maybe you could actually use that as a venue for collecting data on how effective we were in actually educating. So my questions for Nick are.
And what the performance measure stated, that the first thing to do was to give a more detailed definition of what a significant partnership meant, provide instructions for how to identify such organizations and how do you build that relationship, present best practices, and then establish a baseline of existing significant partnerships and set national targets.
So Nick my three questions are: One, would you please describe the effort to develop that more detailed explanation of a significant partnership and tell us what that more detailed definition is? Would you please tell us what the best practices were that were provided to the program analysts? And third, the PAR simply states that the Agency will increase its partnerships by 10 percent. In light of the fact that you have identified 90 significant partnerships with community groups and 71 significant partnerships with business groups, I'd be interested in knowing why it is that you feel we need to increase that number by 10 percent?
MR. INZEO: Okay Commissioner let me take the last one first. When we started the process we worked, as Deidre indicated, with the template that she had provided, and before doing the baseline we needed to look at what the goals would be. We had some discussion with Claudia and with Deidre as the performance officers. We actually had other options to look at also. But in light of their comments and what they felt were best practices, I'll say, we arrived at using the 10 percent increase that we would apply against the baseline that was to be developed.
And the goal is a national goal, so what we can do both in the area of significant partnerships with vulnerable worker groups and with small and new businesses is look to see where and to use the best practices that we see from offices who have developed partnerships to apply those to other offices. That of course is going to be a longer‑term project than say, okay, do it now. So what we've done is we've taken a two‑year look at it to say, okay, for FY '13 what relationships are there that can be developed into significant partnerships? And for FY '14 where do we need to start to develop relationships which in FY '14 can become significant partnerships?
We've worked with both the directors and the program analysts and really drew upon the expertise of the program analysts to come up with the best practices in terms of what offices can look to to start establishing relationships that then can become significant partnerships?
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: My time is up. Thank you.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. Commissioner Lipnic?
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you Madam Chair. My first question is related to Performance Measure 6, so I'm not sure who the best person is to answer this question. Maybe Nick. So Performance Measure Nick or Performance Measure 6
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: says; this was in Claudia's testimony, "FY 2013 target measure for Performance Measure 6 requires the Agency to collect data on the percentage of administrative and legal resolutions currently containing targeted equitable relief. In order to do so we needed to establish a baseline of existing targetable equitable relief in resolutions and project future targets for different types of targeted equitable relief." And then it goes on to talk about the training that's been accomplished so far.
So my question is what has been the input and I think reaction from the field staff to this performance measure, and specifically is there any well, what's the reaction generally to the idea that there might be some different type of targeted equitable relief?
MR. INZEO: From my perspective it seems like it's been somewhat seamless. In the Office of Field Programs we initially worked with the Office of the General Counsel to talk about what is targeted equitable relief? What types of relief do we obtain either in resolution of charges at the administrative level or in litigation that would constitute targeted equitable relief using the experience of the Strategic Plan?
Then we reached out to the field saying, you know, these are the types of things that are targeted equitable relief. How do we collect them? How do we make sure we know what's going on? We did that and then worked with OIT to be able to put that into the IMS system that people know. And it allows us to look at targeted equitable relief as relief in any charge or in any litigation that's filed, but it also allows us to look at the type of relief in any number of cases.
We'll be able to identify any trends we want to look at in terms of relief and types of cases because it's all collected in the IMS system. So if we want to know about training, targeted training and different types of cases, we'll be able to know that. And the work in making the changes to IMS was completed around the end of the calendar year. We did the training. The training really went well. We had over 900 field people, a couple hundred FEPA attendees. And the FEPA partners can also attend the training through a hook up with the audio that was recorded, and they have the screen. So they can be doing training at their locations even after our training was finished. You know, we started as of January 7th and we're collecting the data.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: And let me ask Jim, did you have any further thoughts on that in terms of the reception about targeted equitable relief or any differences?
MR. LEE: Well certainly on, you know, the litigation side we have long pursued in our Consent Decrees and Resolutions, compliance by the employer and various reform of their practices in training and the like. So this is a common part of our resolutions, so we were happy to work with OFP to, you know, further that down through the administrative process. But I would echo my colleague. It's been fairly seamless for us as well.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Then related to this is actually another question for you related to Performance Measure 4, which is related to the number of systemic cases and I think that the percentage that was quoted was 19.7 percent of the
MR. LEE: That's correct.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: systemic cases. So do you know just in real numbers how many that is?
MR. LEE: I think it's approximately 50.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Approximately 50? Is that right? Okay. And I thought that I had heard earlier that there may be some need to reevaluate that number as we go. Did I hear that correctly? Was that what you had said Claudia? So and I was just sort of wondering, you know, Jim, your thoughts on that in terms of it's how much of the docket it occupies and resources, and then
MR. LEE: Right.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: maybe make a few
MR. LEE: Of course, you know, my thoughts on February 20th may be different than my thoughts on March 20th.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Okay.
MR. LEE: So we all live with that sort of over our heads. But, you know, it basically boils down to resources both, you know, the fact that we've been under a hiring freeze for the last number of years and have not been able to replace attorney losses and also the size of the budget that can be brought to bear on this. And I guess the other factor is that litigation by its very nature is dynamic. Cases are filed. Cases are resolved over, you know, different time frames and we'll be, you know, hopefully at the correct percentage at the end of the fiscal year. We feel that we're on track where we are now and we have every reason to believe that we'll be there on September 30th. But there's a ways to go between now and then.
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Okay, and then I had am sorry. Oops, my time is expired.
CHAIR BERRIEN: It has. There will be a little bit of time though at the end for closing comments or statements, so if there's a way to make
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Okay.
CHAIR BERRIEN: the point, we'll put it on the table, and that way, please consider that.
I would like to follow up on something that I believe both Claudia Withers and Deidre Flippen raised. There are many moving parts and some overlapping deadlines under the Strategic Plan, now the Strategic Enforcement Plan, and soon the Quality Control Plan. Could you say a word about how these are all being coordinated, how you are keeping these many balls in the air, how you're working with the goal leaders to make that all work? And could you also share with us if you've encountered any particular challenges to bringing the pieces together?
MS. WITHERS: Well Deidre and I are in regular contact with the goal leaders, even more so than the list of sort of high points that she hit that are official interactions that we need to have around the Strategic Plan just to see how things are going. What we are doing and what I'm learning is that it's real important to not only check in with the goal leaders individually to see where they are, but also to periodically with Deidre bring together subsets of the goal leaders to talk about the interaction.
So now that the SEP is up and running, we are seeing the need for ongoing conversations across the goals to ensure that we don't drop any balls, if you will, while we're trying to move forward on the Strategic Plan's intersects with the Strategic Enforcement Plan. The things that we're telling you today are, in terms of the need to integrate the SP and the SEP, are what we had learned over the last couple of months now that the Strategic Enforcement Plan has been approved by the Agency.
So I think that's going to be a challenge, and as Commissioner Feldblum has indicated, making sure that we look at the performance measures and at the subset of things required under the SEP to make sure these things work and to be able to look at them, step back, Deidre and I, and tell you if we need to take a breath, if we need to take another look at things, if we need to tweak as an agency where we're going in order to respect the human element in moving forward. So I think that's the biggest challenge at this point.
We've just started with the Strategic Enforcement Plan. What I've said to my colleagues, now that we've had our first quarterly meeting, is to step back after that, see where we are in everything and then be prepared to recommend not only adjusted timelines on performance measures, but also our thoughts about how we can effectively implement the Strategic Enforcement Plan in a way that not only meaningfully engages the Commission, but meaningfully continues to appreciate the work of the staff that has to get this work done. So that's the biggest sort of ongoing challenge all under the rubric of what is now an uncertain budget climate for us. So I think that's how I would articulate it. Deidre has anything to add.
MS. FLIPPEN: One of my thoughts is one of the things I think that Claudia and I need to do is to look at all the measures and to look at the sub‑outcomes, like the SEP and the various requirements, the time frames, the interrelationships such as the communication strategy that's being developed in social media and how that fits in with Measures 8 and 9 on vulnerable communities, how that fits in with plain language. We need to develop some kind of broad template that we all can look at and see what these interrelationships I don't know what that's going to look like, but I think we need to do that. And that's one of the things that's on my plate, because we have a lot of things going now and under this SEP there are a number of other recommendations that will be implemented.
So I do have a concern that we're not stepping on each others' toes and that we're also allowing the program directors - and I'm not saying that the strategic planning work isn't the work of the Agency; it is, but there are the bread and butter things that are going on too. So we've got to make sure that all that's happening. I just think we need to put that out on paper so that we can look at it. I think that would also help us in working with OIT and better meshing the technology requirements, helping them to understand what the program requirements are on a larger scale.
I just haven't quite figured out what that will look like, but I do think that's something that we need to do, and maybe not just necessarily with the strategic planning pieces, but other important initiatives that are going on in the Agency too that might be outside that that we're not talking about here, you know, today. But we're doing other things too, so we need to look at everything.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. I want to give the members of the panel beginning with Claudia Withers and Deidre Flippen an opportunity to make any closing remarks, but please keep in mind that there is a limited window for doing that and we will continue to use the timing lights. The yellow light will appear when there is one minute left for that set of remarks.
MS. WITHERS: Well going forward I believe that Madam Chair our challenge is not only to engage the Commission in meaningful ways, which is quite important, but also to continue to build on engaging the entire Agency and its staff on the strategies and a meaningful and sustained conversation on the strategies and actions we use to advance our mission. Only if we do it that way can we come close to the culture change that I think all of us see.
We build here on a foundation of commitment and hard work at the EEOC. While we can continue to engage in a robust debate, and we should, about some of the specifics, we do so with a healthy respect for the work of all who work at the Agency on a day‑to‑day basis, as Deidre has mentioned. We want to thank you for this opportunity Commissioners and General Counsel to demonstrate the progress certainly, but also to demonstrate that our respect and our ongoing work and really struggle in a very good and positive way with moving the Agency forward.
MS. FLIPPEN: I'll just ditto what Claudia said.
MS. FLIPPEN: In the interest of time.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. Anyone else of the panel witnesses and goal leaders having anything to add in closing?
(No audible response.)
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you all. And now we'll turn to closing remarks by members of the Commission. We'll start with Commissioner Barker.
COMMISSIONER BARKER: My remarks are going to be very brief. I try not to open my mouth unless I think I have something to say. But let me just say that following up on what Claudia said, thank you again. I express my appreciation for another time for all the work that's gone into this. And I will say that, you know, we are a bipartisan Commission. We are Commissioners who all have differing views which I think really add strength to this organization. But the bottom line is that we are Commissioners, we're not career employees and all of us at this table are here for a temporary time. Then we'll be replaced by other people with other views, which is how it should be.
That said, now that the Strategic Plan is in place I think it's important that we as Commissioners, while we appreciate the reports, step back and let all of you do your jobs. Because this is not for us, it's for the Commission. So thank you very much.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you Commissioner Barker.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Thank you so much. Let me reiterate my appreciation for the many staff in this Agency who have responded above and beyond the call of duty in both helping to develop the Plan and in now implementing the Plan. As our Chief Operating Officer Claudia Withers has reminded us this morning, she and Deidre are working on an ongoing basis with the goal leaders to help implement the Plan. And as Chief Operating Officer Withers noted in her written statement to us, "The process leading up to the Plan and now its implementation was designed to strengthen the Plan with the wisdom and commitment of EEOC employees and to ensure that the Plan becomes a mechanism for cultural change at the Agency."I wholeheartedly agree with that, endorse that. And I think we've heard from some of these question and answer pieces how much of a challenge that can be, but how much the people in this Agency really want to get the work done, want to have a structure that enables them to get the work done. The Commissioners are political appointees. We will, you know, come and go, as Commissioner Barker said, but the mandate from Congress stays the same, I mean until Congress changes it. And that's a very clear mandate about stopping and remedying unlawful employment discrimination through the mechanism Congress has told us to operate in both the private, state and local government sectors and in the federal sector.
So in light of that, I would say that based on this meeting; and I think I'm very happy that the Strategic Enforcement Plan calls for an annual meeting on the PAR, I would say that there are three things that I think we've heard: One is we do need to and this is picking up on what Deidre said at the end, we do need to review the performance measures in the Strategic Plan to figure out which of those are OBE, overtaken by events; that is, we've done a more expansive measure in the Strategic Enforcement Plan. For example, the performance measure of you set up you, I'm saying the Office of the Legal Counsel, how many plain language documents you were going to do. But in the Strategic Enforcement Plan we actually then called for that multi‑year plan. I'm gratified it has been circulated to the Commission. I've sent in my comments. No surprise, right? So I think we want to go through all of those to see, you know, where do we in fact mesh these measures so we're not overburdening ourselves with unrealistic expectations.
No. 2. I think the second thing we've learned is in terms of financial resources we also and again, these were policy decisions made by the Commission in the Strategic Plan about setting a path forward. We might have thought having Performance Measure 3, 5 and 13 were just all brilliant a year ago in February 2012, all of which required technology. So we might need to make a choice now, you know, about well maybe in fact Performance Measure 13 is the one that we're furthest along about the private sector charge system. Let's make sure that's done well. Performance Measures 3 and 5 deal with the federal sector where we'll be voting on a Federal Sector Organizational Plan in September.
In your written testimony Claudia you noted that you're recommending that the pilots wait until after the Federal Sector Complement Plan comes in. I think that makes sense. But I think it might make sense to even wait until after the Organizational Plan is done. Again I don't know, but I think these are policy questions for the Commission to grapple with.
Third; and this was something that Deidre mentioned, we also have to make sure that the measures in the Strategic Plan are being coordinated with other activity that's going on in the Agency. So for example, I didn't have the chance this morning to talk about Performance Measure 12, so Lisa Williams didn't get the joy of having a question directly from me. I know it's you know, you're just so sad.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: But don't worry, you can read my written statement.
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: … and I have much to say about Performance Measure 12, but the fact is, you can't have a system where we're trying to develop new performance measurements for investigators through our HR system without that being coordinated through what we're trying to do with the Quality Control Plan.
Now there the integration is happening because staff from the Office of the Chair is on that group. And we heard from Lisa Williams, you know, initially, but there's more work of that kind that needs to be done. And so I want to I know I've given thanks to general staff, but I want to give specific thanks to Claudia and Deidre and the folks who work with you on this, because you really are the ones that have to be here at the top figuring out how all those things are meshing.
So I look forward to working with the Chair, with my fellow Commissioners and with our staff as we continue this important work.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. Commissioner Lipnic?
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Thank you Madam Chair. Again I just want to thank all the staff for all the work that's gone into the Strategic Plan thus far and on a going forward basis. And, you know, at the beginning of a year, you know, when you read all of the set your goals and, you know, they always say, you know, what gets written down is what gets done. So, you know, I think we're off to a good start and I just would sort of emphasize also what both Commissioner Barker and Commissioner Feldblum were saying that certainly, you know, the opportunity for the Commission to be informed and where things need to be adjusted along the way, because even though I believe in what gets written down is what gets done, I also believe that events happen and things, you know, have to be adjusted as needed. So where we can be informed along those lines, I think that's important, too. So thank you for your work.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Thank you. When we set out on the path to develop this Strategic Plan, there were two things that I prioritized. One is broad participation. And by my rough estimate I believe that since we've embarked on this road between the Strategic Plan Work Group, the Strategic Enforcement Plan Work Group and the Quality Control Plan Work Group and now the Strategic Enforcement Plan Teams, I believe, I'm sure that more than 100 staff across the Agency, and probably closer to 200 staff across the Agency have participated in some way, which is we're approaching about 10 percent of our staff participating in some way. That has been so significant I think to the way that these Plans have developed and frankly to addressing a point that I was very conscious of as we began this process and picks up on the point that my colleague Commissioner Barker has made, which is that in my view the value of the Strategic Plan must be greater than any individual who may be serving a temporary term, including me, beginning with me.
In my view our ultimate success is measured; and I've shared this many times as we've been working on developing our Strategic Plan our ultimate success is not measured in the span of four years or five years. Our ultimate success is measured in the ways that the workplace changes and the ways that opportunities are open to people over generations. That has certainly been my experience personally in terms of the work of this Agency and the many other parts of federal and other governments that enforce and protect civil and human rights. And that is really the cornerstone of my approach to leadership of this Agency.
So I'm grateful to all of the individuals who have sacrificed time and have participated in those processes. I'm grateful to the leadership of the Agency that has worked closely to free up the time and space and opportunity for people to participate in that way. We have learned throughout this process that that kind of broad engagement is a challenge. That is something that Deidre Flippen cautioned me about at the beginning. It is a challenge, but I think it is a challenge that is well worth undertaking. And I just want to express publicly how grateful I am to all of those individuals who have been involved in any way in the development and the implementation of this Plan.
We heard this morning about a lot of progress, and I think that progress in the past year has been remarkable, and especially so given our challenging and at time uncertain fiscal environment, even as we sit here today and meet today. I want to congratulate all of you though who have made it possible for our one‑year report to be one that reflects such significant progress towards meeting the goals that are outlined in our Strategic Plan.
I'd like to thank the many staff people who assisted with preparations for this meeting and I especially want to note an appreciating knowledge of the work of Claudia Withers, Deidre Flippen, Joi Chaney and Cathy Ventrell‑Monsees who have been immersed in the details of Strategic Plan development and implementation from day one. I cannot thank you all enough for the work that you've done to make this possible. The challenge I set out when we started this process was that our Strategic Plan needs to be a living document, not just words on a page. And we have heard today and gotten some insight today on how challenging that can be, how difficult that can be at times. But I think how very important it is to charting a course, not just for the short term but for the long‑term benefit of the Agency and ultimately the public, the people of the United States who we serve. So I thank you all.
And with that, I'd like to simply remind everyone that the meeting record for this meeting will be held open for 15 days. Any member of the audience and any member of the public is invited to submit written comments on any issue or matter discussed at this meeting, and those comments may be mailed to Commission Meeting EEOC Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C., 20507, or email to commissionmeetingcomments; and that's all one word, @eeoc.gov.
The comments you provide will be made available to members of the Commission and to Commission staff working on the matters discussed at this meeting. In addition, your comments may be disclosed to the public and by providing comments in response to the solicitation, you are consenting to their use and consideration by the Commission and to their public dissemination. Accordingly, please do not include any information in submitted comments that you would not want made public such as address, telephone number, other identifying information. Also note that when comments are submitted by email, the sender's email address automatically appears on the message.
I want to thank everyone who's joined us today live streaming and those who may take advantage of our Web site to learn more about the meeting in the future or who may obtain the record from the meeting through our Executive Officer.
If there's no further business, is there a motion?
COMMISSIONER FELDBLUM: Madam Chair I move to adjourn.
CHAIR BERRIEN: Is there a second?
COMMISSIONER LIPNIC: Second.
CHAIR BERRIEN: All in favor?
(Chorus of ayes.)
CHAIR BERRIEN: Opposed?
(No audible response.)
CHAIR BERRIEN: Motion carries. The open portion of today's meeting is adjourned.
(Whereupon, the above-entitled matter was adjourned at 11:43 a.m.)
MS. WILSON: This concludes the Open portion of today's meeting of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Closed portion of today's meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. Only persons involved in the Closed proceedings should remain in the room… Thank you.