Pacific Islands Area CRAC By-Laws
PACIFIC ISLANDS AREA CIVIL RIGHTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE BY-LAWS
The USDA NRCS Civil Rights Program encompasses all program delivery and equal opportunity related matters. The Director for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Pacific Islands Area (PIA) will serve as the Deputy Equal Opportunity Officer (DEOO) for the PIA.
The DEOO will establish a Civil Rights Advisory Committee (CRAC), hereafter referred to as the “Committee” to give advice on all matters related to program delivery and equal employment opportunity ensuring equity and participation in all NRCS programs, activities and initiatives.
The Committee will be committed to ensuring equity in all areas of employment and program delivery by identifying needs and making recommendations to the DEOO.
The General Manual, Title 230, Part 404 is the policy governing the Committee. The Committee is designed to provide management officials and employees with a vehicle that enhances and fulfills their EEO and program delivery responsibilities. Committee members will carry out their EEO and program delivery responsibilities consistent with civil rights policies, procedures and practices which are nondiscriminatory with regards to race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, disability, political beliefs, marital or family status, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or reprisal for equal employment activities.
Roles of the Committee
Committee members shall represent all employees regardless of occupation and grade level. The role of the committee includes:
- Monitoring recruitment practices and making recommendations for ensuring that underrepresented groups are made aware of employment or special appointment opportunities;
- Focusing the attention of management on specific personnel practices or problems of an EEO nature that are producing or could produce dissension and dissatisfaction among employees (e.g., merit promotion and procedures; selection for training and assignments; criteria, nomination and distribution of awards, etc.);
- Monitoring the policies and overall effectiveness of the Affirmative Employment and Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Programs with regard to recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention;
- Providing training resources for various workshops, seminars, and meetings, as well as serving as a trainer;
- Acting as a forum for an exchange of ideas and action proposals on sensitive issues, matters or concerns of a civil rights nature;
- Encouraging, supporting or assisting in the development of projects or activities associated with civil rights needs or opportunities;
- Contributing to the development and implementation of strategies designed to improve and increase awareness of and participation in NRCS programs and activities by underserved groups, individuals and communities; and
- Promoting and communicating the efforts of management to achieve and operate a realistic and ongoing civil rights program.
The Committee also establishes lines of communication between employees and management through which employee’s views on civil rights issues may be brought to the attention of management, providing management does not receive, investigate, or in any way adjudicate individual or class action complaints of discrimination.
The Committee membership will be composed of all Special Emphasis Program Managers (SEPMs) and a Chairperson. The Special Emphasis Programs (SEP) consist of: Federal Women, Black, Disability, Hispanic, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Veteran, American Indian/Alaska Native and Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender. One person may not be a Manager for more than one program. An Advisor, appointed by the DEOO, will attend meetings but will not have voting authority. The Committee may also include liaisons from Human Resources, Public Affairs and the leadership team that will not have voting authority.
The Committee shall solicit volunteers to fill anticipated SEPM vacancies and will make recommendations to the DEOO on new Committee members. The DEOO will then select the new SEPM.
The Committee is to be representative of all employees in various occupations, grade levels, sex, race, national origin and geographical locations within the organizational unit.
All members are appointed for a minimum of 3 years. Memberships may be renewed yearly thereafter, but are not to exceed 5 years. Members are to serve overlapping terms, so that no more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the committee membership is turned over in one year.
Membership duties for the Committee are to be documented for each member with an official position description addendum. A memorandum of understanding must be signed by the member, the member’s immediate supervisor and the DEOO. Member’s contributions to the Committee will be noted in their individual performance appraisal. All members’ performance appraisals must contain a stand-alone critical element addressing his/her Committee responsibilities and SEPM duties.
If a Committee member leaves their position before their term expires, the DEOO will appoint a replacement member. The newly selected member will then serve the remainder of the original term. All selections for serving on the Committee will be made in writing. The selection of replacement members should follow the same process as that of members.
Removal of a member from the Committee for cause shall be determined by the DEOO.
In the event of any prolonged absence of a member a temporary alternate may be appointed by the DEOO. The designated alternate should carry out all the assigned duties and responsibilities of the absent member until that member returns.
The Chairperson is to be appointed by the DEOO and votes only to break a tie. A Vice-Chair and Recorder are elected by the Committee, with no approval or concurrence by the DEOO.
The nomination and election of Vice-Chair and Recorder shall be conducted yearly at the beginning of the fiscal year. Only Committee members are eligible to serve as Vice-Chair or Recorder.
The Recorder will keep minutes of the meetings and will forward the minutes to each Committee member, DEOO, advisor and all other attendees within 2 weeks. The Recorder shall also maintain the files of the Committee with copies of the minutes and business plans.
The Committee will meet as often as necessary, at least once a quarter. The dates shall be set by the Committee Chairperson in consultation with the Committee members.
Two-thirds of active members shall constitute a quorum.
The NRCS Pacific Islands Area DEOO will provide the Committee with needed staff support as requested. Support staff will attend Committee meetings on an as-needed basis. The DEOO (or designate) will represent management at Committee meetings.
The Committee is to have complete access to all regulations governing employment policies and practices, including the Agency’s Statistical Data Report (MD-715).
Members are to be trained and familiarize themselves with the various aspects of EEO and personnel practices and procedures.
Decisions shall be reached by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached the decision will be made by a simple majority vote. In the event of a tie, the Chairperson shall cast the deciding vote.
Each SEPM has one vote.
Voting by written proxy shall be permitted.
Amendment of By-Laws
These by-laws may be amended by a majority vote of the committee at regular or special meetings called for such purpose at which a quorum is present.
The Committee Chairperson makes formal recommendations to the DEOO after input and concurrence of the committee.
The DEOO will review the recommendations of the Committee and decide whether to adopt or reject the recommendations.
The Committee will develop a fiscal year business plan that includes long term goals, objectives and planned actions.
The Committee will assist in the preparation of the Affirmative Employment Plan and will provide any requested input for civil rights related reporting requirements.
The Committee will review, as necessary, the business plans of each SEPM.
Approval of By-Laws:
DEOO , NRCS Pacific Islands
Chairperson, Pacific Islands Area State CRAC