Lawmakers sharply criticized the Office of Personnel Management and agencies for failing to advance diversity in the Senior Executive Service at a joint hearing of the House and Senate's federal workforce subcommittees on Thursday.More proof that to many our Constitution means nothing. Thank the Good Lord that we have checks and balances. If it does pass, I buy a beer for the first mix-raced person who files suit. Read the whole thing and get angry.
"Despite the outreach and federal requirements, agencies just haven't been up to the task of promoting diversity in the senior ranks in a way that is convincing," said Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas. "Members of our communities can no longer wait for agencies to wake up and discover that they need to include diversity in their succession planning. Agencies by themselves cannot and will not do it."
The lawmakers expressed dismay at a Government Accountability Office report that found the number of African-American men in SES positions fell from 5.5 percent in October 2000 to 5 percent in September 2007. The same report found that the representation of women and minorities in the SES, and in General Schedule levels 14 and 15 -- employees most likely to become senior executives -- had increased since 2000.
Thursday's hearing focused on legislation in the House and Senate that would change the way appointments to the Senior Executive Service are made and tracked.
The bill would require agencies to appoint three-person panels comprised of a woman, a racial or ethnic minority, and another SES member to review executive appointments, and then require agency heads to sign off on individual appointments. It also would create an office within OPM to oversee the Senior Executive Service, including tracking demographics and creating mentoring and training programs to help minorities move into the executive ranks. OPM eliminated a similar office during the agency's 2003 reorganization.
Nancy Kichak, OPM's associate director for strategic human resources policy, rankled some lawmakers when she said that her agency did not have a position on the legislation, and suggested the bill could face constitutional hurdles.
"We have serious concerns about the potential impact on the merit system principles of injecting race and gender into the examination process in this manner," she said. "The Justice Department has advised that these race- and gender-based requirements for the composition of the SES panels are very likely unconstitutional under governing equal protection precedents."
Just an outrage. Elections mean things. Call your Member of Congress. Vote.
Hat tip Gov'munt Contractor Spy.