2005 NEWS RELEASES, PRESS ADVISORIES AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

USCCR RELEASES PLAN TO REPAIR STRUCTURAL BUDGET PROBLEM

Cost-Cutting Measures Expected to Reposition, Strengthen Agency

Washington, DC - The United States Commission on Civil Rights today released transcripts from its April 8, 2005 meeting, disclosing detailed discussions about the agency's budget shortfall and a unanimous vote to support the staff director's plans to resolve it.

At the meeting, Staff Director Kenneth L. Marcus reported on the agency's finances and recommended that it implement corrective measures to satisfy five goals when combined with other cost-cutting, specifically to:

  1. close a projected FY 2005 deficit of approximately $265,000,
  2. close an expected FY 2006 deficit that, depending on increases in Federal salaries and benefits could yield a deficit that exceeds the agency's current shortfall by more than $200,000,
  3. make additional funds available to support financial integrity and legal compliance reform in FY 2006,
  4. protect the ability of the agency to accomplish its mission, and
  5. protect the welfare of the agency's employees.

The seven-member, bipartisan panel unanimously approved the Staff Director's recommendation to conduct an immediate Reduction in Force (RIF) of four employees, to furlough all Commission staff for an estimated four to five days and, pending OMB clearance and congressional notification, to close two Regional Offices next FY. The Commission's Congressional appropriation has remained at approximately $9 million for the past 10 years with no adjustments for inflation, despite rising costs of human resources, goods and services.

Mr. Marcus stated his priorities as repairing structural budget problems, reforming fiscal management, and strengthening project planning. "My goal is to rebuild the Commission to protect its mission," he said. "The first step toward that goal is to eliminate the deeply imbedded financial insecurity that has built up over the last decade. By addressing these problems up front, we can make the agency stronger," Mr. Marcus added. Copies of the meeting transcript are available on the Commission's web site at www.usccr.gov.

The next monthly Commission meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 13, 2005.

04/18/05