Friday, 26 August 2011

Obama Creates Office of Diversity Via Executive Order

Written by 

President Obama has signed yet another Executive Order — his 94th to date — creating an Office of Diversity for the purpose of boosting minority participation in the federal work force.

The mission for the Order reads:

 By this order, I am directing executive departments and agencies to develop and implement a more comprehensive, integrated, and strategic focus on diversity and inclusion as a key component of their human resources strategies.

According to Judicial Watch, in an effort to complete the mission set forth by the Executive Order, the Obama administration has created special initiatives to target Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians, women, gays, and lesbians. (Perhaps the Village People, pictured above left, might serve as models for the campaign.)

Besides the obvious lack of constitutional authority for the federal government to engage in such a task, some observers are wondering why the federal government appears more concerned by the ethnicity or race of those who work for it than for the capabilities and qualifications of those workers.

The federal government already maintains an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which currently investigates and enforces federal discrimination laws. The EEOC website explains of the agency’s role:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.

The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

Critics note that creating an Office of Diversity when the EEOC is already in existence is yet another example of agency redundancies in the federal government. Ironically, President Obama particularly discussed the problem of redundancies in his State of the Union address, wherein he observed that 12 federal agencies or offices deal with international trade, for example, and at least two regulate salmon.

The Government Accountability Office reported earlier this year that there are more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation issues, 82 that monitor teacher quality, 47 for job training, 17 different grant programs for disaster preparedness, etc.

"Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services," the GAO said.