Magazine article Diversity Employers

A Man & His Mission: Deputy Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Joe N. Kennedy

Magazine article Diversity Employers

A Man & His Mission: Deputy Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Joe N. Kennedy

Article excerpt

Joe N. Kennedy is Deputy Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), a part of Employment Standards Administration of the Department of Labor. OFCCP administers and enforces the equal employment opportunity programs applied to Government contractors and subcontractors. Regulations enforced by OFCCP affect 26 million workers, 22 percent of the labor force, through approximately 161 billion Federal contract dollars awarded annually for more than 176 thousand prime contracts. Deputy Director Joe N. Kennedy and Deputy assistant Secretary Shirley J. Wilcher ensure that each Federal contractor with at least 50 employees and at least 50 thousand dollars in government contracts complies with the laws governing equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.

At OFCCP, Deputy Director Joe N. Kennedy, a Dillard University alumnus, is the highest ranking Civil Service careerist, a Federal employee at the Senior Executive Service (SES) level. His is the second highest-ranking executive position at OFCCP. Administrators above him are political appointees, people subject to change with the Presidential Administration. His immediate supervisor Deputy Assistant Secretary Shirley J. Wilcher, an Administrative appointee, reports to an Assistant Secretary of Labor on the Clinton Administration staff. Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. Bernard E. Anderson reports to the Secretary of Labor, who reports to President Clinton. Deputy Director Joe N. Kennedy is, therefore, three executives away from direct access to the President.

At the National Office, housed within the Department of Labor, 70 people report to Deputy Director Joe N. Kennedy through the management chain. Each senior executive head of the ten field offices (in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle) reports to him. The National Office controls a 59 million dollar budget and coordinates the activities of 740 careerists, OFCCP's ceiling. About 710 employees are on the rolls today.

Joe N. Kennedy became Deputy Director of OFCCP in March of 1995. As the highest ranking non-political appointee at OFCCP, Joe Kennedy maintains stability, OFCCP's and his, and succession. "When you're in this position," he says, "obviously one of the things you must think about is succession. I have to think about the development of the people who will follow me and about what's going to happen at later stages of my own career. Next year I'll have 30 years of service, and I'm 51 years old now. Presumably, I'll be working here for a number of years, and as Deputy Director I have to think about OFCCP's well-being - for the future. So one of the things that I have to be concerned about is the development of staff to take on responsibilities in the near term and in the future. I place extreme authority with subordinate staff and, as a part of their development, seek opportunities for executive training for managers and future managers. We have developed an internal training academy to address some of the program-related needs, and we take advantage of Departmental and government-wide training resources and schools, such as the Federal Executive Institute, and management programs developed in cooperation with colleges and universities. Last year I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend a management training program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government."

Continuing personal development and the development of the OFCCP staff are not the only challenges. Already OFCCP has come under fire, during the last Congressional term, and even before that, because they resisted the movement by some, including forces within private industry to downplay affirmative action, replacing it with diversity. "The word diversity," he says, "clouds the issue of discrimination and affirm five action for those of us who work to distinguish 'quota programs' and affirmative action programs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.