In the Loop
EEOC Chairman Butts?
By Al Kamen
Cassandra Butts, deputy White House counsel and a close ally and former Harvard Law School classmate of President Obama, has emerged as a leading candidate to head the troubled Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has been beset by shrinking staff, a growing backlog of job discrimination cases to investigate and plummeting morale.
Butts, a member of Obama's inner circle, has done litigation and policy work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. She worked for seven years for former Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), and more recently has been a senior vice president for domestic policy at the Center for American Progress.
Should she take the post, Butts would provide a much-needed spark to the 44-year-old commission, which has been something of a cast-off in recent years. The commission, which is charged with enforcing the nation's laws against discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age or disability in the private sector, now has a backlog of nearly 75,000 cases, up 35 percent from the previous year. And while the number of cases of job bias have risen to more than 95,000 in fiscal 2008 -- up 26 percent from 2006 -- the staff has shrunk in the last eight years to 2,200 -- a drop of 23 percent.
Posted at 2:30 PM ET on Feb 27, 2009
In the Loop
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