During Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, the EEO complaints activity at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) remained consistent with complaint activity in previous years, and in fact demonstrated the effectiveness of OPM’s EEO program. Although the aggregate number of 54 complaints received in FY 2005 was higher than in FYs 1999 through 2003, this number does not accurately reflect the state of OPM’s EEO program without additional context.
Specifically, OPM received seven FY 2005 formal complaints related to the same matter which created an unusual FY 2004 spike in complaints – the misdirected filing of 45 separate complaints (rather than a single class action complaint) by a group of retirees from the Panama Canal Commission. These individuals availed themselves of OPM’s EEO complaints process as a vehicle to challenge a personnel action by the Panama Canal Commission which occurred years ago – during their employment with that agency. The challenged personnel action affected the salaries of the employees at the time of their employment and subsequently impacted their annuities upon retirement. OPM had no role in the challenged personnel action, however, and had only tangential involvement with respect to the annuities of the individual complainants merely due to OPM’s responsibility for the administration of the Federal retirement system. Therefore, the complaints more properly should have been raised as a single class action complaint against an agency other than OPM.
Additionally, on February 20, 2005, the Defense Security Service’s (DSS) Personnel Security Investigations (PSI) program was transferred to OPM along with approximately 1,600 employees. At the time of this transfer, OPM also assumed jurisdiction over 11 EEO complaints that had been filed against DSS.
Consequently, OPM’s FY 2005 EEO complaint activity does not reflect any systemic EEO issues at OPM. This conclusion is supported by the fact that 36 EEO complaints were actually filed against OPM in FY 2005 – when subtracting the unusual seven Panama Canal Commission complaints and the 11 DSS complaints. The total remaining number of filed complaints is particularly consistent with complaint activity in previous fiscal years when considering the reasonable expectation that EEO complaints would increase as a result of the addition of approximately 1,600 DSS employees to OPM’s prior workforce of approximately 3,500 employees – almost a 46% increase in employees. Thus, the relatively stable level of EEO complaint activity during FY 2005, despite a substantial increase in human capital, demonstrates the strength of OPM’s EEO program. Other than indicated above (i.e., annuity complaints), OPM’s complaints activity data does not reflect any trend by bases or issues.
See paragraph A above.
Practical Knowledge Gained through Experience
During FY 2005, Linda M. Springer was confirmed as the new Director of OPM. Director Springer regularly emphasized the importance of EEO, committing herself to the implementation of important policies and initiatives at OPM which supported EEO and the strategic management of human capital. OPM will apply a wealth of knowledge and experience in managing the Federal workforce based upon merit principles, and continue to promote and enforce EEO and civil rights. OPM is committed to EEO principles and practices in all of its management decisions and personnel activities, and it is the goal of OPM to develop and retain a high-quality, diverse workforce that is representative of our society. OPM believes that a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment promotes better communication, ideas and trust between individuals. Consequently, OPM will continue its emphasis on attracting the best candidates from a variety of sources, selecting and advancing the best qualified employees based upon merit, training its managers and employees on their EEO rights and responsibilities, providing equal opportunities to all individuals, and providing a prompt, fair, and impartial review and adjudication of any allegations of discrimination.
See paragraph D below for specific actions taken by OPM to advance its EEO program.
Actions Planned/Taken to Improve Agency Complaint or Civil Rights Program
During FY 2005, OPM accomplished significant results in promoting merit system principles at OPM, including EEO and the strategic management of human capital. Some of the noteworthy achievements are set forth as follows: