Division of Equal Employment Opportunity Diversity and Inclusion 2021 Year in Review
The County of Erie, Division of Equal Employment Opportunity Diversity and Inclusion (Division of EEODI) is, in part, charged with developing and administering Equal Employment and Affirmative Action Programs; according to Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 and following the laws of New York State and the County of Erie. Services and programs are provided for the benefit of all County residents without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or reprisal in any employment action, including recruitment, hiring, advancement, promotion, compensation or termination.
The mission of the Division of EEODI is to help build an inclusive workforce in an environment that fosters dignity and respect for the individual through a diverse workforce that reflects a changing world and marketplace. The Division of EEODI monitors business and economic development opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses. The Division of EEODI also performs pay equity audits on companies doing business with the County of Erie.
There are two primary EEODI services: (1) complaint counseling and investigation; (2) affirmative action administration.
Complaint Counseling and Investigation
Informal and formal procedures have been developed to ensure fairness and consistency in the County of Erie's employment program with its employees.
Program and Service Objective #I: Effectively implement informal and formal procedures to ensure fairness and consistency in EEO counseling and complaint processing. These procedures are designed for the opportunity to resolve complaints internally. And in no way duplicates or circumvents other options available to claimants.
Outcome of Service Objective #I: The Division of EEODI has provided information to all Departments on updated complaint procedures and has delivered an Affirmative Action Plan to all Departments (hard copy) and the most current updated Affirmative Action Plan posted on the County of Erie, Department of EEODI website: https://erie.gov/eeo/.
Program and Service Objective #II: Counsel and investigate harassment, discrimination, and retaliation complaints arising from personnel problems related to equal employment opportunity. Support and encourage departments to utilize Labor Relations, union complaint processes, and training of managers/supervisors. Maintained confidential, efficient case files and electronic documentation.
Outcome of Service Objective #II: The Division of EEO provides practical and timely processing of EEO informal complaints and, when needed, effective and timely investigation of EEO formal complaints.
▪ The number of informal complaints processed within the 30 to 60-day time frame for 2021 equals six.
▪ The number of formal complaints timely accepted and processed equal one.
▪ The Division of EEO issued one.
The Division of EEO has assisted the County Attorney's office with supporting documentation when an EEO complaint is received from outside organizations (i.e., the New York State Division of Human Rights and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Feedback from County Attorney's office has been favorable and appreciative.
The Division of EEO maintains confidential, efficient case files and electronic documentation.
Program and Service Objective #III: Collect, compile and record data, provide information, and file required reports to federal, state, and local authorities about the statistical profile of the County of Erie's Workforce and, when needed, EEO complaints.
Outcome of Service Objective #III: The County of Erie, New York, submitted its EEO4 report in 2021. The County of Erie reported the following statistics relative to its workforce as of June 30, 2021: (Note: the full-time workforce total is 4507 and Males = 2222/49.3% and Females = 2285/50.7%)
Total Full-Time Workforce: 4507/100%
White = 3794/ 84.18%; Black = 459 / 10.18%; Hispanic = 177/3.93%; Asian = 42/0.93%; Native American = 13/0.29%.Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander = 5/0.11% and Two or More Races = 17/0.38%.
Other than Full-Time Employees (Including Temporary Employees): 497/100%
White = 416/83.70%; Black = 49/9.86%; Hispanic = 18/3.62%; Asian = 9/01.81%; Native American = 0/0%; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander = 0/0% and Two or More Races = 0/0%.
New Hires during Fiscal Year (Permanent full-time only as of June 30): 261/100%
White = 196/75.10%; Black = 44/16.86%; Hispanic = 11/4.21%; Asian = 1/0.38%; Native American = 2/0.77%; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander = 1/0.38% and Two or More Races = 6/2.30%.
The Statistical Profile of Erie County EEO complaints are:
▪ County employees submitted 7/100% of complaints (six informal and one formal) in 2021.
▪ 6/1 complaints ended at the informal-complaint stage, and of that number:
▪ 6/8.11% of informal-complainants received a Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint but did not take any action with the County or outside agency as of this report.
▪ 1/0.125% of informal-complainants received a Notice of Right to File a Formal Complaint and did so with the County of Erie, Division of EEO.
▪ 1/0.125% formal complaints were received, and of that number:
▪ 1/0.125% Agency Decisions (Dismissals) were issued.
Agency Decisions on Past Complaints:
The County has an extensive internal EEO complaint process, which complies with the guidelines and spirit of current Federal and State regulations. The Affirmative Action Plan promulgated by the County illustrates federal and state law compliance. It reflects how the County will deal with its legal obligation to promptly and thoroughly investigate issues of harassment and discrimination. The County will prepare and issue agency decisions regarding any outstanding EEO complaint, even after an extended period. Issuing determinations and adequately closing out the files ensures that the County investigates and acts with every complaint.
Key Performance Indicator Measures:
The number of meetings to monitor good faith compliance with the County Affirmative Action Plan and EEO-related matters exceeds 70 meetings. The DEEO continues to keep the County's message on MWBE goals. Participation of Apprentices on County contracts out front for community awareness.
The number of new MWBE businesses certified by the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo Joint Certification Committee showed a decrease in the number of MWBEs during the year 2021. We started with 284 certified MWBEs and ended with 224 certified MWBEs. Reasons for the decrease include retirement, company being sold to non-MWBE, death of the owner, lapse, non-renewal of certification, or the business not surviving a pandemic. We had 120MBE, 150 WBE, and 46 Dual certifications for 2021.
Percentage of County contracts received by Minority and Women Business Enterprises:
▪ The Department of Purchase reports 2021 Minority and Women vendor usage as follows: Minority vendors total $3,684,207.55 or 10.45 %, and Women vendors total $7,960,999.67 or 22.58 %. Total Purchase Department POs for 2021 equals $ 35,249,376.64.
▪ The Department of Public Works report year 2021 Capital Projects for Highways as follows; three projects were completed at a total cost of $3,981,154.82 with a Minority business enterprise participation of $88,947.00 or 2.23%, and Women-Owned business participation of $414,248.87 or 10.41%, for a combined MWBE total of 12.64. The County's MWBE goals are 12%. Contracts with values at or above $250,000.00 require 10% apprenticeship participation and Minority and Women Workforce goals which EEO monitored.
▪ The Highways Division also reports two Federal Aid projects priced at $1,450,925.79 with a Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) participation of 29.15%. The Federal DBE goals vary based on each project, ranging from 5% to 11%.
▪ The Department of Public Works report year 2021 Buildings and Grounds to have sixteen projects, totaling $26,875,519.00 with 18.17% Minority participation and $ 2,065,617.82 with 7.69% Women-Owned business participation for a combined total of 25.86% MWBE. Contracts with values at or above $250,000.00 require 10% apprenticeship participation and Minority and Women Workforce goals which EEO monitored.
▪ The Buffalo Bills Year 8 Capital Improvement Allowance total projects priced at $2,679,800.00 with 67.39% minority participation and 14.42% women-owned business participation for a combined total of 81.81% MWBE. The New York State goal of 30% applies and exceeds the overall goal attainment.
▪ The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning reports the utilization of minority and women-owned businesses for professional, technical, and consultant services totaled $13,921,445.83 with a minority business enterprise participation of $1,296,999.97 or 9.32% and women-owned business participation of $1,264,280.75 or 9.08%. This summary report includes contracts made through March 31, 2022.
▪ The Erie County Department of Mental Health reports the utilization of minority and women-owned businesses for professional, technical, and consultant services totaled $19,139,499.00 with a minority business enterprise participation of $226,908.00 or 1.19% and women-owned business participation of $1,656,271.00 or 8.65%, for a combined total of 81.81% MWBE, which falls below the 12% County goal. This summary report includes contracts made through December 31, 2021.
Key Performance Indicator Measures
The number of informal complaints processed within the 30 – 60-day timeframe compared to the number received. The performance goal of 95% was met and exceeded. The number of formal complaints accepted and processed compared to the number received met the performance goal of 100%.
Agency decisions are issued within the 180 – 210-day timeframe. The performance goal of 100% was met and exceeded.
Provide EEO and diversity briefings to department supervisors and managers. The performance goal of 100% was partially met*.
* (Partially met: indicates that at least three-fourths of the activities targeted for completion were achieved, and we are still working on scheduling the remainder for completion.)
Priorities for 2022 are:
▪ Provide information to all Departments on updated procedures.
▪ Provide effective and timely processing of EEO informal complaints.
▪ Provide effective and timely investigation of EEO formal complaints.
▪ Provide required refresher training for investigators.
These priorities are being addressed and are on track for the calendar year 2022.
Affirmative Action Administration
The County of Erie is committed to ensuring that equal opportunity is extended to all persons in employment and contracting matters without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or reprisal. The Affirmative Action Plan for Equal Employment Opportunity is established to affirm, strengthen and reinforce the County of Erie's commitment to equal opportunity. Each County department that lets contracts for supplies, services or construction shall take affirmative steps to provide minority and women business enterprises every feasible opportunity to bid on county contracts. The Division of EEO is responsible for administering the monitoring program for the County of Erie and its Affirmative Action Plan. During the monitoring of an organization, the DEEODI shall receive the full cooperation of the Contracting Agency in dealing with organizations needing improvements.
Program and Service Objectives
Program and Service Objective #I: Implement and monitor the Erie County Affirmative Action Plan. Assure that County of Erie residents receive equal treatment when seeking employment or attempting to do business with the County.
Outcome of Service Objective #I: The County of Erie's Affirmative Action Plan is received and implemented at the Department levels. The Director of EEO continues to hold meetings with Department commissioners, supervisors, and managers to discuss the AAP goals and objectives. The Division of EEO assists Departments in their efforts to cast the wide net when seeking applicants for employment and assists when Erie County residents attempt to do business with Erie County.
Program and Service Objective #II: Assist Minority and Women-Owned business enterprises in acquiring County construction, purchase, and service contracts and expanding their business participation in County contracts. Monitor the utilization of bona fide Minority and Women-Owned businesses on County contracts for professional, technical, and other consultant services.
Outcome of Service Objective #II: The Division of EEO issues notices of bid opportunities to Minority and Women-Owned businesses identified by the County of Erie departments and any notifications provided by local townships and villages. Business owners are reminded that their efforts to seek opportunities are critical and should be a recurring step in their business plan. The Division of EEO conducted over 50 job site visits during the 2022 construction season to monitor the utilization of Minority and Women-Owned businesses and apprentices on County contracts. We also monitor the use of Minority and Women-Owned businesses on professional, technical, and consultant services contracts.
Program and Service Objective #III: Monitor the County of Erie's hiring and promotional activities to maintain a workforce in all job group categories, which generally reflect the demographic characteristics of the County's population.
Outcome of Service Objective #III: The Director of EEODI makes every effort to address this matter with commissioners and department heads. EEO Director recommends casting a wide net when searching for job candidates and stresses that their hiring decisions are based on legal job qualifications and an opportunity for diversity. Individual department reviews are conducted using the EEO-4 statistics to identify and document areas of conspicuous absences.
Priorities for 2022 include:
▪ Continue the established procedure for Executive Order No. 18 compliance monitoring and periodic auditing of construction contractor hiring of subcontractors.
▪ Implement Executive Order No. 18 online LCP Tracker compliance monitoring procedures.
▪ Conduct periodic auditing of contractors' pay records for equal pay compliance.
▪ Take proactive steps to continue creating a model EEO program within the County of Erie.
▪ Continue to hold meetings with the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Utilization Advisory Board and monitor their development of the required annual report.
▪ Continue to Chair the County of Erie & City of Buffalo Joint Certification Committee (JCC) for determining and approving 51% or more ownership in a business by Minority and Women business owners.
▪ Design, improve and provide continuous updates to the EEO website for effective service and current information.
▪ Work to increase the rate of monthly certification applications received and increase MWBE certifications.
▪ Ensure timely preparation and dissemination of quarterly compliance reports required by NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation for Erie County Division of Sewerage Management and/or transfer from manual to automatic computer-generated reports with commentary from Sewerage Management Division.
▪ Serve as the Equitable Business Opportunities (EBO) Administrator for the New York State Department of Transportation's new web-based civil rights reporting system, Equitable Business Opportunities (EBO).
▪ Monitor the EBO System and provide access to DPW and DEP employees when requested.
▪ Monitor, track and access the effectiveness of the Labor Compliance Program Tracker (LCPTracker). Train on and use LCPTracker for tracking Executive Order No. 18 compliance on County projects bid at $250,000.00 and above.
▪ Executive Order No. 18 Rules and Regulations were established in 2018. The Division of EEO will utilize these rules and regulations for compliance monitoring and continuous auditing of construction contractors hiring Erie County residents and the local labor area as defined in Executive Order No. 18.
▪ Expand MWBE monitoring and enforcement by expanding the EEO department.
▪ Monitor and track the effectiveness of the professional services program.
▪ Forward bid opportunities to certified MWBEs
▪ Organize and participate in the efforts to conduct a Disparity Study
▪ Create and maintain a platform for MWBE companies to submit their application including supplemental documents.
▪ Design, improve and provide continuous updates to EEO website and create Twitter page for effective service and current information.
2021 Project Summary, All Accounts
The County of Erie has identified the Department of Purchase, Department of Public Works and Department of Environment and Planning material buys and projects spending $79,726,380.46, 11.45% or $8,490,847.29 with Minority businesses, 13.78 % or $10,989,866.24 was spent with Women-Owned businesses for a total MWBE participation of 25.23% exceeds the County goal of 12% total participation. The County of Erie continues its efforts to achieve a Model EEO Program. A program that values:
▪ Demonstrated commitment from its leadership
▪ Management and program accountability
▪ Integration of EEO into its Strategic Plan
▪ Proactive prevention of unlawful discrimination
▪ Responsive and meets legal compliance
Affirmative action on County contracts is still a goal stipulated by the laws in Erie County. The MWBE Advisory Board continues to work and identify avenues for greater MWBE participation.
The Division of EEO will continue to work to ensure compliance with the County's Affirmative Action Plan and the laws of Erie County.