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Four of the six OFCCP Regional Directors (RDs) attended the recent 2021 NILG National Conference. Michelle Hodge spoke about the Mid-Atlantic District she is managing until later this month (when she becomes OFCCP Deputy Director). Melissa Speer (SWARM), Aida Collins (newly appointed Southeast RD), and Diana Sen (Northeast) were also in attendance. Carmen Navarro (Midwest) and Jane Suhr (Pacific) did not attend, but forwarded talking points that the RDs in attendance passed on.
The RDs spoke at a meeting with National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) Board members and regional Industry Liaison Group (ILG) Chairs, and at the plenary session that closed the Conference.
The RDs assured NILG Board members and ILG Chairs that the “Transparency Directive”, put into place by former OFCCP Director Craig Leen to ensure communication between the Agency and contractors under audit, is alive and well. This is good news. Many practitioners had noted a drop-off in Agency Compliance Officers’ (COs) willingness to provide required rationales for audit requests, or to allow the ‘automatic’ 30-day desk audit submission extension outlined in the Directive. The RDs attributed this to ‘internal miscommunications’, which they will address.
The RDs also made it clear that the OFCCP continues to use Early Resolution Procedures (ERPs). Diana Sen stated that the “Agency will be more flexible early on”, making Early Resolution a ‘win-win’ when the OFCCP takes issue with an audit.
At the plenary session, the RDs advised that to close audits quickly, contractors should:
The RDs delivered great news on transparency, 30-day audit extensions and ERPs, and great advice on audit preparation. Their presence and messaging was very welcome at this year’s NILG Conference.