Treatment of Blacks at the Economic Development Administration in the 1980s

HRD-90-148: Published: Sep 26, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed a former Economic Development Administration (EDA) employee's allegations regarding the treatment of black employees and black applicants for grant funds.

GAO found that: (1) it could not review allegations concerning discriminatory incidents and decisions that occurred between fiscal year (FY) 1981 and FY 1984, since the related documentation was unavailable; (2) from FY 1986 through FY 1989, black EDA employees represented all federal job categories and grade levels relatively well when compared to the national civilian labor force, even though EDA funding and staffing levels had decreased significantly; (3) EDA generally prepared the required annual affirmative employment plans and accomplishment reports, but did not always initiate or complete actions stated in those plans; (4) from 1985 through 1989, EDA affirmative employment plans did not address black employees, since it felt that they were well represented in its work force; (5) three of the seven formal discrimination complaints filed from FY 1985 through FY 1989 concerned race, with one complaint withdrawn, one active, and the third closed with a finding of no discrimination; (6) it could not determine the ratio of EDA grants received by black organizations and communities headed by black officials from FY 1985 through FY 1989, since federal statutes and laws did not require EDA to collect such information; (7) it could not use data EDA collected relating to whether minorities could benefit from EDA grant funded projects, since the data were inaccurate and unreliable; and (8) EDA data on the number of minority jobs created through funded projects were unreliable, since EDA did not ensure that grantees reported required information and did not validate or use the data it obtained.

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