Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The Obameter

Reinstate executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years.


"Obama will reinstate Executive Order No. 13173 which President Clinton issued just before he left office. Executive Order No. 13173 failed to achieve its mandate of hiring an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years. Obama will issue this executive order early in his first term and designate a senior White House official to assure that all federal departments and agencies meet the mandate."


Updates

Obama reinstates executive order on disability hiring

On the campaign trail, President Obama promised to reinstate an executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years. The directive was signed by President Bill Clinton in July 2000, but even ten years later, individuals with targeted disabilities still represent less than 1 percent of the federal workforce. Obama promised that, under his administration, the federal government would become a model employer of individuals with disabilities.

When we last reviewed this promise back in December 2009, we rated it Stalled, since we found no evidence of tangible action. July 26, 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the American with Disabilities Act, so we wanted to see whether there's been any change since then.

And there has been. President Obama actually reinstated the executive order on the day of the anniversary. The federal government will "boost recruitment; we"re going to boost training, we"re going to boost retention. We"ll better train hiring managers. Each agency will have a senior official who"s accountable for achieving the goals we"ve set. And I expect regular reports. And we"re going to post our progress online so that you can hold us accountable, too," Obama said while speaking at the White House.

The new executive order calls on the the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to "design model recruitment and hiring strategies for agencies seeking to increase their employment of people with disabilities and develop mandatory training programs for both human resources personnel and hiring managers on the employment of individuals with disabilities" within 60 days. Each federal agency will then be required to develop a specific employment plan for individuals with disabilities, which must approved by the the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The order also calls on federal agencies to appoint a senior-level officer who will be responsible for monitoring the agency's adherence to its employment program. Finally, the Office of Personnel Management is to post statistics on disability hiring on its website, and the President will receive regular updates on the progress of the initiative from the directors of the OPM and the OMB.

President Obama promised to reinstate an executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years. He also promised to designate a White House official to assure that all federal departments and agencies meet the mandate. He signed the executive order on July 26, 2010. And though the order does not mention appointing a White House official to ensure accountability, it places the responsibility to implement an accountability reporting system in the hands of the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and calls on all agencies to appoint their own senior-level accountability officer. We change the rating to Promise Kept.

Sources:

The White House, Executive Order-- Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities, July 26, 2010

The White House, Remarks by the President on 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, July 26, 2010

The Washington Post, Anniversary of ADA brings presidential order to hire more disabled workers, by Lisa Rein, July 28, 2010

No sign yet of reinstated executive order on disability hiring goal

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to reinstate an executive order to hire more federal employees with disabilities. He said he would reinstate "Executive Order No. 13173," which he said began under President Clinton but failed to meet its goal of hiring 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years. A campaign position paper said Obama "will issue this executive order early in his first term and designate a senior White House official to assure that all federal departments and agencies meet the mandate."

We recently discovered a major problem with this promise: Obama gave the wrong number for the executive order. Number 13173 created the "Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Central San Joaquin Valley" -- a worthy cause, perhaps, but nothing having to do with employing Americans with disabilities.

The one that Obama meant to cite was 13163. But so far, we've found no evidence of action. Neither the White House press office nor electronic searches through Whitehouse.gov, Google or Nexis turned up any tangible activity on this promise.

If and when the administration takes action on this promise, we'll be happy to change our rating. But for now we're calling it Stalled.

Sources:

Internet searches that produced no results.