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Monday, April 04, 2011

DeLoitte Report Critique of EPA Civil Rights

The DeLoitte Consulting LLP final report, "Evaluation of the EPA Office of Civil Rights," [EPA Report # EP10HOO2058, March 21, 2011] includes the following findings:
  1. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has not adequately adjudicated Title VI complaints - those addressing allegations of discrimination against communities of citizens affected by environmental rules promulgated by the EPA.  Only 6% of the 247 Title VI complaints have been accepted or dismissed within the Agency 20-day time limit. OCR's backlog of Title VI cases stretches back to 2001. At the time of the report's publication, there were numerous cases that have been awaiting action for up to four years. Two cases have been in the queue for more than eight years.
  2. OCR has struggled to track, investigate, and resolve Title VII cases - those addressing Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) violations inside the Agency - in a timely or effective manner.  OCR's Title VII function is know for poor inestigative quality and a lack of responsiveness.  It has not been able to perform its most fundamental Title VI administrative tasks related to filing mandatory reports and process complaints and writing final agency decisions. 
  3. OCR has not completed compliance checks of EPA grantees, in a timely or effective manner, to ensure that grantees are not engaging in discrimination in their work. 
  4. OCR has not consistently filed its statutory affirmative employment reports over the past five years, although the 2010 MD-715 was submitted on time.  In the area of Affirmative Employment and Diversity, OCR did not even complete its annual Management Directive 715 (MD-715) EEO report (a basic administrative task required of all Federal agencies) for 2006, 2007, and 2008. 
According to the report: "This situaton has exposed EPA's Civil Rights programs to significant consequences [that] have damaged its reputation internally and externally.  Much of this owes to OCR's challenges at the leadership levels over a period of years."

Report recommendations include:
  1. Complete efforts to fill OCR's leadership positions expeditiously with qualified, experienced, and motivated civil rights professionals. A competent leadership team will enable OCR to implement all of the other needed changes, while building credibility. 
  2. Reevaluate all staff job roles and formally document required skills, competencies and experiences for each role.  With well-defined job roles, OCR can evaluate its current workforce against the requirement and identify gaps. 
  3. Develop and execute a workforce plan that includes creation of well-defined career paths, employee performance management processes, new training programs and employee recruiting and selection processes.
The report concludes: "Building a more capable workforce from top to bottom will enable EPA and OCR to address its significant day-to-day opeating issues and implement the other more strategic changes that are required."

The DeLoitte Report was commissioned by EPA.

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