Denver and Kansas City Sites to be Closed and Duties Re-Assigned

Washington, DC - The United States Commission on Civil Rights today announced plans to consolidate six regional offices into four, and to eliminate sites supporting the Rocky Mountain Regional Office (RMRO) in Denver, and the Central Regional Office (CRO) in Kansas City, Kansas. The announcement gave structure to plans originally disclosed at the Commission's April 8 meeting concerning the agency's budget shortfall. At that meeting, the 7-member bipartisan panel voted unanimously to support the staff director's plans to resolve the agency's financial insecurity that has built up over the last decade.

The office consolidations are the latest among other cost-cutting measures that the agency is implementing to close a projected FY 2005 deficit of approximately $265,000, and an expected FY 2006 deficit that could exceed $400,000. The bipartisan panel already had authorized new Staff Director Kenneth L. Marcus to initiate other measures including an immediate Reduction in Force (RIF) of four employees, and a furlough of all Commission staff for an estimated four to five days. The agency also offered voluntary early retirements to eligible personnel.

In announcing the office consolidations, Mr. Marcus said that work of RMRO and CRO will be redistributed to the remaining four regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. in a manner that covers all duties and responsibilities. In addition, he said that State Advisory Committees, volunteer citizen entities which support the Commission's work at local levels, will be administered by the remaining regional offices.

"We are continuing to pursue the important mission of this agency despite making these necessary financial corrections," Mr. Marcus said. "Bringing our financial house in order now will enable us to be more effective into the future. The work of the Commission will not pause during this time," he added.

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