Equal Employment Opportunity:

Some Racial Imbalance in SSA Region X, Better Data and Remedies Needed

HRD-88-6: Published: Oct 13, 1987. Publicly Released: Nov 2, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the employment status of black employees in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Region X, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

GAO found that: (1) blacks were underrepresented in some grades in three primary job series; (2) the Region X multiyear affirmative action plan identified the job series and grade levels in which minorities and women were underrepresented, but failed to include numerical goals and timetables for remediation or specific strategies for enhancing the advancement of blacks; (3) Region X affirmative action accomplishment and update reports lacked information regarding progress, achievements, and labor statistics; and (4) Region X did not comply with reporting requirements in collecting race and sex data for applicants.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A written affirmative action accomplishment report was submitted by SSA Region X for fiscal years 1988 and 1989. In addition, short-range and long-range numerical goals for underrepresented minority groups were estbalished.

    Recommendation: To maximize the effectiveness of Region X affirmative action efforts, the Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Commissioner, SSA Region X, to report annual affirmative action accomplishments in a narrative that links accomplishments with long-term, multiyear plan objectives.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A second study on barriers to advancement by minority groups showed that barriers may exist. As a result, a developmental program was reinstituted for GS-11S and above, a new developmental program for GS-10S and below is being initiated, and more staff will be invited to take the OCREO exam.

    Recommendation: To bring SSA Region X into compliance with HHS and EEOC affirmative action requirements, the Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Commissioner, SSA Region X, to use required race and sex data to identify barriers to advancement by minority groups.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Region X developed a system to track internal applicants for job vacancies. All requests for staffing actions are now reviewed to detect criteria that may cause barriers. As necessary, alternate methods to fill vacancies are suggested. In addition, a quarterly report on applicant pool characteristics and statistics was initiated in fiscal year (FY) 1989.

    Recommendation: To bring SSA Region X into compliance with HHS and EEOC affirmative action requirements, the Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Commissioner, SSA Region X, to compile race and sex data on all internal applicants at each stage of the competitive process for filling job vacancies.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SSA Region X completed an analysis of its staff by race, sex, job series, and grade, and projected its anticipated vacancies through 1995. The Regional OCREO started targeting promotion and replacement positions for underrepresented groups. Annual reports on progress made to eliminate underrepresentation will be prepared.

    Recommendation: To bring SSA Region X into compliance with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) affirmative action requirements, the Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Commissioner, SSA Region X, to develop an affirmative action strategy to remedy underrepresentation that incorporates the annual numerical goals and timetables established by the SSA Office of Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity (OCREO).

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SSA Region X, in April 1989, issued a reprt on its job enhancement program to show the extent to which minorities and females applied for and were selected to participate in the program. The report also stated that this program will expand in the future to accommodate more employees.

    Recommendation: To maximize the effectiveness of Region X affirmative action efforts, the Commissioner of Social Security should direct the Commissioner, SSA Region X, to report the success of planned skills development activities in aiding the mobility of targeted minority group members.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

 

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