Race, Sex Determine Promotion at Agency

Article excerpt

Employee promotions at the federal agency that regulates credit unions were based on workers' race and sex, not merit, according to internal agency directives.

Karl T. Hoyle, executive director of the National Credit Union Administration until he was removed from his post last month, told his regional directors in a July 1996 letter, "To function effectively, NCUA must have a diverse workforce that reflects the credit unions it regulates and the people and communities these credit unions serve."

He then outlined the new program for "reducing the underrepresentation of minorities, women and disabled individuals in NCUA's workforce."

"We have spoken of the need to correct the shortcomings of our affirmative action program with regard to women, minorities and the disabled, but have had difficulty in translating our desires into concrete results," Mr. Hoyle wrote. "This instruction is designed to help accomplish that goal."

Both Mr. Hoyle and Dorothy W. Foster, the NCUA's human resources director, were removed from their posts last month and placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency that polices personnel practices.

NCUA public affairs director Bob Loftus declined to comment on the memos, saying that other agencies were looking into the matter. However, he said, "we think if anyone has any credible evidence of wrongdoing, they should turn it over to OPM" and the Office of Special Counsel.

In the memos, regional NCUA offices were told to include information on their employees' race, sex and disability on copies of promotion certificates, which were to be sent to NCUA headquarters in Alexandria for Mr. Hoyle's approval.

Mr. Hoyle also ordered that regional promotion panels include "at least one woman or minority group member," even if they needed to be drawn from outside the normal pool of panel members.

"Notify employees of their selection for merit promotion only after you are notified . . . that you may proceed with the requested selection," Mr. Hoyle wrote.

The agency came under fire from Congress late last month for basing hiring decisions on candidates' race, sex and disability, a violation of civil service rules. The hiring abuses prompted the Office of Personnel Management to suspend the agency's hiring authority.

Internal documents obtained by The Washington Times indicate that top NCUA officials ordered managers to use race, sex and disability as criteria for promotions, as well. …