New diversity plan for the Interior Department
The Interior Department is implementing new workplace rules for diversity and inclusion amid years of reports that it hasn't done a good job hiring and promoting minorities.
A study conducted by the department's black employees last year found that Interior was the only Cabinet-level agency falling below "relevant civilian labor force" representation for African Americans and was experiencing more departures of black employees than new hires.
The poor numbers prompted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to call for changes and he announced a series of changes last month, including a decision to link performance evaluations and awards for senior executives to their progress on hiring diversity. He also ordered managers to file monthly diversity reports.
On Monday Salazar tapped John Burden -- a veteran of diversity offices at Interior and the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- to serve as the department's first chief diversity officer. Managers across the department also will have to draft their own diversity plans by Sept. 30.
“This Inclusive Workplace Statement is a first for us," Salazar said in a message sent to employees. "It means establishing a department that ensures no one is shut out or left behind. We are the Department of America. We represent the people of this country from Yosemite National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Samoa and Guam, and the Virgin Islands. And as the Department of America, our ranks should reflect the face of the American public we serve."
Interior certainly is one of the most diverse and varied departments -- responsible for everything from last weekend's deadly off-road racing crash to cleaning up the Gulf Coast and managing national parks. But will monthly diversity reports, a new diversity chief and strategic hiring diversity plans help recruit and promote more minorities? Or are Salazar's plans just window dressing that require much more?
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GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:
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• Justice Dept. cuts losses with DeLay: It's the latest sign that the investigation into disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff is drawing to a close.
• Judge rejects Citigroup's settlement with SEC: She asked why company shareholders must ultimately bear the price of the sanction, and why the agency charged only two executives with wrongdoing when more senior executives were involved.
• U.S. said to plan easing rules for travel to Cuba: The changes would loosen restrictions on academic, religious and cultural groups that were adopted under President George W. Bush, and return to the “people to people” policies of the Clinton era.
| August 17, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
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