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March 10, 2003
EEOC Chair: Agency Would Have to Furlough Workers
Budget woes are almost everywhere, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where a budget shortfall could force the agency to furlough all of its employees for 16 to 19 days, the Washington Post reports.

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"Unless corrective action is taken by Congress, we will be forced to furlough 100 percent of our workforce, agency-wide, for an estimated 16-19 days," EEOC Chairman Cari Dominguez writes in a letter sent to Congress. "These furloughs will significantly impair our ability to effectively enforce the nation's civil rights laws."

The agency is looking at a $18.3 million budget shortfall, according to the newspaper. Dominguez tells the newspaper that the agency experienced increased costs for leasing offices in most major cities. About 80 percent of the agency's budget is spent on staff salaries and office rents.

In January, President Bush asked Congress to provide the agency with $11.6 million dollars to cover payroll and rent costs, but the budget request did not make it through negotiations between the House and Senate, the Post notes.

The Bush administration and Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) tell the Post they will continue to work on eliminating the budget shortfall. Wolf chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees EEOC spending.

Without action, Dominguez says, the agency will have to send its 2,783 employees home without pay.

 

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