Last week, the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee released a 129-page report on the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, with a focus on Discrimination Complaint Processing. You can download it here.
The report is worth a deep dive at another time, and a final report from the Committee is due in January 2017.
Fortunately, for those of us that prefer the “Executive Summary” there is also a key staff findings sheet that recaps the main findings.
Many of these are not a real surprise given my observations and others on the CHRO over this past year.
But still, there are a number of items worth consideration:
- Additional data collection and reporting are needed — noting that information to fully track performance is lacking in some instances and the CHRO has not fulfilled its reporting requirements in recent years.
- Budget and staffing resources have generally decreased — noting that investigative staff within regions was at a six-year low as of July 1, 2016.
- Written policies and procedures are outdated — noting that the manual for processing complaints was developed in the 1990s.
- The workload of all units processing cases is not fully accounted for in overall performance — noting that the commission’s Legal Division is not required to report in its entire performance.
As a result, staff has listed several recommendations:
- Address data limitations
- Begin reporting on the performance of all units for greater accountability
- Focus on meeting statutory case processing timeframes
- Develop uniform case processing procedures
- Make technical changes to the housing statutes to separate out the housing discrimination complaint process from the non-housing process
There are additional recommendations as well. Overall, the report is another useful tool to help update the CHRO, as I discussed in a post earlier this month. I’ll try to take a deeper look into the report in an upcoming report, but the report itself is worth a read for those who deal with the agency on a frequent basis.