Doing Business With Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

General info: EEOC<@VM>The CIO file: Sallie Hsieh

Things to note

The fiscal 2005 request contains an increase of $26 million. Most of that amount, $21 million, is marked to maintain staffing and improve employee professionalism; $3 million is to streamline functional responsibilities, reduce layers of management and re-deploy resources; and $2 million is to enhance services to citizens through program initiatives, including the President's New Freedom Initiative.

About 80 percent of EEOC's budget goes to fixed costs, such as salaries and benefits. Technology competes with mediation and alternative dispute resolution, litigation support, state and local programs and outreach for the remaining funds. The agency has been under a hiring freeze since fiscal 2001, but more than half its current workforce is eligible for retirement. The fiscal 2005 request includes money for staff increases, approximately 100 new full-time employees.

EEOC has five commissioners and a general counsel who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They serve five-year, staggered terms, except for the general counsel, who serves four years.

The chair is considered the commission's CEO, the general counsel conducts enforcement litigation. Laws the agency enforces are: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Sections 501 and 505; Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. For more information on these laws, go to www.eeoc.gov/policy/laws.html.

Contracts to watch

National Contact Center Support Services

Status: Source selection, award expected in April

Value: Not available

Purpose: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is picking a contractor to provide customer contact and call center services. The contract will help develop the EEOC National Contact Center.

The center will integrate Internet-based information services, call center capabilities and appropriate knowledge management and information technologies into a single operation. The mission of the center is distributing information about EEOC programs, products and services.

On-Site System Independent Verification and Validation

Status: Source selection, award expected in May.

Value: Not available

Purpose: The commission wants a contractor to provide independent verification and validation for Section 508 compliance, which covers accessibility to computer systems and equipment by people with disabilities.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

1801 L St. NW

Washington, DC 20507

(202) 663-4900

www.eeoc.gov

Founded: July 2, 1965

Commissioners: Cari Dominguez, chair; Naomi Earp, vice chair; Paul Steven Miller; Leslie Silverman; Stuart Ishimaru

General counsel: Eric Dreiband

Employees: 2,540

What it does: The EEOC enforces laws aimed at preventing illegal
discrimination in the workplace, and it investigates charges of violations. The agency was given litigation enforcement authority by Congress in 1972.

Major subagencies: None

Number crunching

2005 budget request: $350.7 million

2004 budget: $324.7 million

The Web:I didn't find a specific link on the EEOC home page with information for contractors. Fedbizopps.gov does list opportunities for the agency, so I advise you start there.

The EEOC Web site, however, in my opinion is well done and a great resource for any of us working stiffs. All kinds of information is there, including the law, specific types of discrimination, how to file a complaint, statistics on the work force and much more.

Sallie Hsieh

Full title: Chief information officer and director of the Office of Information Technology

Took the job: 1996

Hometown: Taiwan

Home now: Gainesville, Va.

Hobbies: Music, books and mystery movies

Currently reading: Reads a lot of technology-related publications. Currently reading "Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures"

Alma mater: Master's degree in statistics from the Pennsylvania State University

WT: How has technology changed what your agency does?

Hsieh: Over the years, EEOC leveraged technology internally and externally to facilitate its mission functions. Internally, we use technology to improve operational efficiency and information sharing across 52 offices nationwide. Essential information is made available electronically through our intranet and information systems.

We use technology to streamline our processes by integrating various vertical information systems and consolidating separate data sources. For example, in the mission-critical area, we recently implemented a new Web-based system that integrated our enforcement, litigation and outreach activities. Data collected from these functions is consolidated into a single, centralized database that gives our investigators and attorneys immediate access to nationwide information on specific complaints or cases, or to look for complaints and cases filed by the same party or against the same respondent in other geographic areas that are being handled by another office. This new capability has made the work of our front-line employees easier and more efficient.

Additionally, with real-time access to essential information, analysts have quick access to information needed for conducting analysis and trend studies, and the management has immediate access to workload statistics for resources decisions and external reporting requirements.

Externally, we use technology to enhance customer service and make more information available online for easier access by the public. We ensure information that we post on our Web site is equally accessible to people with and without disabilities.

For easier and faster exchange of information, we deployed easy-to-use, Web-based systems for our customers. For example, in finance, we strengthened the e-commerce efforts with our business partners to enable electronic transactions related to acquisition and payment. In human resources, we automated personnel processes and enabled online posting of job openings and submission of applications. To improve our technical assistance and outreach services to individuals, groups or companies, we are also providing online registration for educational and training opportunities.

WT: What do you look for in companies with which you are thinking of doing business?

Hsieh: We look for companies that have excellent past performance. Since we are a small agency with a limited technology budget, we make our investments strategically to reduce risk and get the best value for the dollars. This also means we cannot afford experiments with technology that is emerging or under development. We look for proven technology and companies with the right knowledge and skills. Specifically, vendor experience and a customer-focus are important for service-oriented companies, and financial stability is important for product developers and manufacturers.

WT: For a company that is new to working with the EEOC and has something to offer you, where is a good place to start? What would you advise them?

Hsieh: For both EEOC and the vendor's benefit, I truly believe that no valuable time should be wasted trying to sell us products that are irrelevant to our business and functions. With that in mind, if a company believes it has valuable services to offer, I advise it to check Federal Business Opportunities (www.FedBizOpps.gov) frequently for postings. Additionally, a company can send us product information or literature via mail or fax if it has something that's relevant to our business.

This information will be distributed to the appropriate individuals in the subject-matter area for review. If there is interest, then we will invite the company to provide more detailed information, which often includes product demonstrations to our technical and program staff.

WT: A year from now, where do you see EEOC's technology capabilities?

Hsieh: We will continue to move toward a paperless environment and push for the reduction of paperwork. We are working to convert our paper records into electronic format.

For example, we offer our attorneys off-the-shelf case management software that allows them to manage their case files electronically. We are also phasing in an electronic document management system for indexing, processing, archiving and retrieving different types of documents. Our ultimate goals include reducing the paperwork burden, improving our internal efficiency and augmenting capability for disaster recovery of our critical data.

We plan to deploy more Web-based technology to provide our customers with electronic access to our information and services.

For example, we will be participating in federal initiatives such as e-Rulemaking, e-Authentication and e-Travel. We are also looking at technology that can enhance electronic communications internally and externally.

We will be expanding VPN technology for employees who participate in telework program and have a need for remote access to agency systems.

In addition to enhanced audio capability, we will continue our research in video capability and wireless technology, such as PDAs, WLAN and related security solutions.

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