I am pleased to present the U.S. Office of Personnel Management´s (OPM) Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 ("No FEAR Act") annual report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007. This report summarizes our most significant FY 2007 accomplishments for our programs and workforce that relate to the No FEAR Act, and demonstrates OPM´s continuing commitment to merit system principles, providing protection from prohibited personnel practices, and accountability.
The No FEAR Act, signed by President George W. Bush on May 15, 2002, is intended to reduce the incidence of workplace discrimination within the Federal Government by making agencies and departments more accountable. Section 203 of the No FEAR Act specifically requires, not later than 180 days after the end of each fiscal year, each Federal agency to submit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives, each committee of Congress with jurisdiction relating to the agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Attorney General an annual report with specific information relating to each agency's EEO complaints activity. 5 CFR Part 724 provides further guidance on each agency´s reporting obligations, and also requires the submission of the annual report to the Director of OPM for the implementation of a best practices study and the issuance of advisory guidelines.
During FY 2007, OPM built on a strong foundation of equal employment opportunity (EEO) and workforce inclusiveness, and achieved excellent results in promoting and protecting merit system principles. I am proud to report OPM continued to achieve an effective EEO complaints processing program, leading the Federal Government in several performance metrics during FY 2006 and subsequently maintaining or improving performance in those areas during FY 2007. Specifically, during FY 2006, OPM completed the highest percentage of timely FY 2006 EEO investigations in the Federal Government (among agencies qualifying for ranking by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) by timely completing 100% of EEO investigations (compared to the Federal Governmentwide average of 69.4%), and OPM completed its FY 2006 EEO investigations with the fastest average processing time in the Federal Government at an average of 104.8 days (well within the regulatory requirement of 180 days and under the Federal Governmentwide average of 186 days). During FY 2007, OPM again timely completed 100% of EEO investigations and further improved by lowering the average processing time of investigations to 100.3 days. Additionally, OPM was a Federal leader in percentage of timely FY 2006 EEO counselings, with a success rate of 100%, and again accomplished the same result in FY 2007. While demonstrating efficiency in processing complaints, OPM also sustained a primary emphasis on quality of EEO services and work product – utilizing controls and staff training to ensure accuracy and legal sufficiency in all complaint processing actions.
In addition to providing an effective complaints process to ensure accountability, OPM continued to emphasize its commitment to EEO and merit systems compliance in numerous other ways, including: OPM´s outreach and training on the Schedule A regulation, providing Federal agencies with information to exercise flexibilities for hiring persons with severe physical disabilities; re-issuance of OPM´s EEO Policy Statement and Prohibited Personnel Practices Policy Statement; publishing of regulations on the No FEAR Act Annual Report, best practices study, and advisory guidelines; development of OPM´s No FEAR Act annual training to all employees; standard use of interpretype machines at agency events to enhance communication and accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments; use of Relay Conference Captioning to make events accessible to employees with hearing difficulties; the continual delivery of EEO training to the OPM workforce.
Furthermore, OPM strongly supported workforce inclusiveness and appreciation for cultural and individual differences. OPM continued to conduct regular Special Observance programs designed to provide information to employees on the various cultures and groups of people in our diverse Nation. OPM also participated in outreach events to provide potential civil service recruits with information on locating and applying for Federal jobs.
At OPM, we are committed to merit principles and committed to accomplishing our mission – to ensure the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce.
|Linda M. Springer