Federal Manager's Daily Report

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission needs to improve its management in numerous ways, including meeting strategic goals, workforce management and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of its leaders, GAO has said.

GAO said that citing a stagnant budget the commission has not engaged in workforce planning, meaning that some offices “may have proportionally low staffing relative to their responsibilities” while staff resources may be going underused elsewhere. Further, although the commission is required by law to establish a state advisory committee in each state, it has had difficulty doing so in some states, resulting in some being unable to operate for years.

Also, individual commissioners have at times sent letters “advocating policies and expressing their individual views on civil rights issues to a variety of entities” that “have created confusion about the commission’s position and could jeopardize its credibility as a fact-finding civil rights agency. The commission’s general counsel has told commissioners these types of letters may violate ethics rules, but the letters have continued.”

GAO said that all the commissioners except one disagreed with its recommendations to address those issues; GAO said it “continues to believe” they are appropriate.