[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 50 (Wednesday, March 14, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14952-14955]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5956]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Office of the Secretary

7 CFR Part 2


Delegations of Authority

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This document amends the delegations of authority within the 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reflect the delegation of 
authorities related to civil rights from the Secretary of Agriculture 
directly to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR). 
Previously, these authorities were delegated to the Assistant Secretary 
for Administration and re-delegated to the ASCR.

DATES: This rule is effective March 14, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: USDA's, Assistant General Counsel 
Civil Rights, Tami Trost at 202-690-3993 or email 
tami.trost@ogc.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Previously, USDA's Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, overseen by the Assistant Secretary for 
Civil Rights (ASCR), was aligned within USDA's Departmental Management 
organization, overseen by the Assistant Secretary for Administration 
(ASA). To strengthen the visibility of USDA's Civil Rights program, 
this reporting structure was realigned so that the ASCR now reports 
directly to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary).
    This rule amends the delegations of authority within USDA to 
reflect that realignment. The authorities of the Secretary related to 
civil rights that previously were delegated to the ASA and re-delegated 
to the ASCR are now delegated directly to the ASCR.
    Specifically, this rule amends the delegations of authority from 
the Secretary to the ASA in 7 CFR 2.24 by removing the delegations 
related to civil rights. The rule also removes the re-delegation of 
those authorities from the ASA to the ASCR in 7 CFR 2.88. These 
authorities are now delegated from the Secretary directly to the ASCR, 
as reflected in a new 7 CFR 2.25. The rule also makes changes to the 
text of some of the delegations to clarify scope and adds a new 
delegation regarding establishment of an Alternative Dispute Resolution 
process for program complaints. Additionally, the delegation of 
authority in 7 CFR 2.300 from the ASCR to the Deputy ASCR is amended by 
making a technical change to correct the cross-reference. Finally, the 
delegations of authority in 7 CFR 2.24 (ASA), 2.89 (Chief Information 
Officer), 2.90 (Chief Financial Officer), 2.91 (Director, Office of 
Human Resources Management), and 2.98 (Director, Management Services) 
are revised to clarify that certain services performed by the Office of 
the Chief Information Officer, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, 
Office of Human Resources Management, and Management Services will 
continue to be performed by those entities for the Office of the 
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.

Classification

    This rule relates to internal agency management. Accordingly, 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, notice of proposed rulemaking and opportunity 
for comment are not required, and this rule may be made effective less 
than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. This rule also 
is exempt from the provisions of Executive Order 12866. This action is 
not a rule as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended by 
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, 5 
U.S.C. 601 et seq., or the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et 
seq., and thus is exempt from the provisions of those Acts. This rule 
contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 2

    Authority delegations (Government agencies).

    Accordingly, Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended 
as set forth below:

PART 2--DELEGATIONS OF AUTHORITY BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE 
AND GENERAL OFFICERS OF THE DEPARTMENT

    1. The authority for Part 2 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 6912(a)(1); 5 U.S.C. 301; Reorganization 
Plan No. 2 of 1953, 3 CFR 1949-1953 Comp., p. 1024.

Subpart C--Delegations of Authority to the Deputy Secretary, Under 
Secretaries, and Assistant Secretaries

0
2. The heading of subpart C is revised to read as set forth above.
0
3. Amend Sec.  2.24 as follows:
0
a. Remove and reserve paragraph (a)(1);
0
b. Redesignate paragraph (a)(2)(xi)(C)(4) as paragraph (a)(2)(xi)(C)(5) 
and add a new paragraph (a)(2)(xi)(C)(4);
0
c. Revise paragraph (a)(2)(xi)(D);
0
d. Redesignate paragraph (a)(3)(xxv)(D) as paragraph (a)(3)(xxv)(E) and 
add a new paragraph (a)(3)(xxv)(D);
0
e. Redesignate paragraph (a)(4)(xx)(C)(4) as paragraph (a)(4)(xx)(C)(5) 
and add a new paragraph (a)(4)(xx)(C)(4);

[[Page 14953]]

0
f. Redesignate paragraph (a)(11)(i)(D) as paragraph (a)(11)(i)(E) and 
add a new paragraph (a)(11)(i)(D); and
0
g. Redesignate paragraph (a)(11)(v)(D) as paragraph (a)(11)(v)(E) and 
add a new paragraph (a)(11)(v)(D).
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  2.24  Assistant Secretary for Administration.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (xi) * * *
    (C) * * *
    (4) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
    (D) Manage a comprehensive set of end user office automation 
services, including setting rates to recover the cost of goods and 
services within approved policy and funding levels; and oversee the 
delivery of goods and services associated with end user office 
automation services, with authority to take actions required by law or 
regulation to perform such services for any offices or agencies of the 
Department as may be agreed (except for the Office of the Secretary, 
the general officers of the Department, the agencies and offices 
reporting to the Assistant Secretary for Administration, and the Office 
of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, as specified in Sec.  
2.24(a)(11)(i)).
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (xxv) * * *
    (D) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *
    (4) * * *
    (xx) * * *
    (C) * * *
    (4) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *
    (11) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (D) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *
    (v) * * *
    (D) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *

0
4. Add Sec.  2.25 to read as follows:


Sec.  2.25  Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.

    (a) The following delegations of authority are made by the 
Secretary to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights:
    (1) Provide overall leadership, coordination, and direction for the 
Department's programs of civil rights, including program delivery, 
compliance, and equal employment opportunity, with emphasis on the 
following:
    (i) Actions to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 
U.S.C. 2000d, prohibiting discrimination in federally assisted 
programs.
    (ii) Actions to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 
as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, prohibiting discrimination in Federal 
employment.
    (iii) Actions to enforce Title IX of the Education Amendments of 
1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681, et seq., prohibiting discrimination on the basis 
of sex in USDA education programs and activities funded by the 
Department.
    (iv) Actions to enforce the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 
U.S.C. 6102, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age in USDA 
programs and activities funded by the Department.
    (v) Actions to enforce section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 
1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 794, prohibiting discrimination against 
individuals with disabilities in USDA programs and activities funded or 
conducted by the Department.
    (vi) Actions to enforce related Executive Orders, Congressional 
mandates, and other laws, rules, and regulations, as appropriate.
    (2) Evaluate Departmental agency programs, activities, and impact 
statements for civil rights concerns.
    (3) Analyze and evaluate program participation data and equal 
employment opportunity data, and make its analyses available to other 
appropriate Departmental entities, including the Office of Advocacy and 
Outreach and affected agencies and mission areas.
    (4) Provide leadership and coordinate the Department-wide programs 
of public notification regarding the availability of USDA programs and 
employment opportunities on a nondiscriminatory basis.
    (5) Coordinate with the Department of Justice on matters relating 
to title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d), title IX 
of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681, et seq.), and 
section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 
794), except those matters in litigation, including administrative 
enforcement actions, which shall be coordinated by the Office of 
General Counsel.
    (6) Coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services on 
matters relating to the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. 6102, 
except those matters in litigation, including administrative 
enforcement actions, which shall be coordinated by the Office of 
General Counsel.
    (7) Order proceedings and hearings in the Department pursuant to 
Sec. Sec.  15.9(e) and 15.86 of this title, which concern consolidated 
or joint hearings within the Department or with other Federal 
departments and agencies.
    (8) Order proceedings and hearings in the Department pursuant to 
Sec.  15.8 of this title after the program agency has advised the 
applicant or recipient of his or her failure to comply and has 
determined that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means.
    (9) Issue orders to give a notice of hearing or the opportunity to 
request a hearing pursuant to part 15 of this title; arrange for the 
designation of an Administrative Law Judge to preside over any such 
hearing; and determine whether the Administrative Law Judge so 
designated will make an initial decision or certify the record to the 
Secretary with his or her recommended findings and proposed action.
    (10) Authorize the taking of action pursuant to Sec.  15.8(a) of 
this title relating to compliance by ``other means authorized by law.''
    (11) Make determinations required by Sec.  15.8(d) of this title 
that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means, and then take 
action, as appropriate.
    (12) Make determinations that program complaint investigations 
performed under Sec.  15.6 of this title establish a proper basis for 
findings of discrimination and that actions taken to correct such 
findings are adequate.
    (13) Investigate (or make determinations that program complaint 
investigations establish a proper basis for final determinations), make 
final determinations on both the merits and required corrective action, 
and, where applicable, make recommendations to the Secretary that 
relief be granted under 7 U.S.C. 6998(d) notwithstanding the finality 
of National Appeals Division decisions, as to complaints filed under 
parts 15a, 15b, and 15d of this title.
    (14) Conduct civil rights investigations and compliance reviews 
Department-wide.
    (15) Develop regulations, plans, and procedures necessary to carry 
out the Department's civil rights programs, including the development, 
implementation, and coordination of Action Plans.
    (16) Related to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). Is designated 
as the Department's Director of Equal Employment Opportunity with 
authority:
    (i) To perform the functions and responsibilities of that position 
under 29 CFR part 1614, including the authority:

[[Page 14954]]

    (A) To make changes in programs and procedures designed to 
eliminate discriminatory practices and improve the Department's EEO 
program.
    (B) To provide EEO services for managers and employees.
    (C) To make final agency decisions on EEO complaints by Department 
employees or applicants for employment and order such corrective 
measures in response to such complaints as may be considered necessary. 
Corrective measures may include recommending to the Office of Human 
Resources Management and the affected agency or office that appropriate 
disciplinary action be taken when an employee has been found to have 
engaged in a discriminatory practice.
    (ii) Administer the Department's EEO program.
    (iii) Oversee and manage the EEO counseling function for the 
Department.
    (iv) Process formal EEO complaints by employees or applicants for 
employment.
    (v) Investigate Department EEO complaints and make final decisions 
on EEO complaints, except in those cases where the Assistant Secretary 
for Civil Rights (or a person directly supervised by the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights) has participated in the events that gave 
rise to the matter.
    (vi) Order such corrective measures in EEO complaints as may be 
considered necessary. Corrective measures may include recommending to 
the Office of Human Resources Management and the affected agency or 
office that appropriate disciplinary action be taken when an employee 
has been found to have engaged in a discriminatory practice.
    (vii) Provide liaison on EEO matters concerning complaints and 
appeals with the Department agencies and Department employees.
    (viii) Conduct EEO evaluations and develop policy regarding EEO 
programs.
    (ix) Provide liaison on EEO programs and activities with the Equal 
Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Personnel 
Management.
    (17) Administer the discrimination appeals and complaints program 
for the Department, including all formal individual or group appeals, 
where the system provides for an avenue of redress to the Department 
level, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or other outside 
authority, and provide timely notice of such appeals to the Office of 
General Counsel and the Civil Rights Director of the affected agency.
    (18) Make final determinations, or enter into settlement 
agreements, on discrimination complaints in federally conducted 
programs subject to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This delegation 
includes the authority to make compensatory damage awards whether 
pursuant to a final determination or in a settlement agreement under 
the authority of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the authority to 
obligate agency funds, including Commodity Credit Corporation and 
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation funds to satisfy such an award.
    (19) Make final determinations in proceedings under part 15f of 
this title where review of an administrative law judge decision is 
undertaken.
    (20) Provide civil rights and equal employment opportunity support 
services, with authority to take actions required by law or regulation 
to perform such services for:
    (i) The Secretary of Agriculture.
    (ii) The general officers of the Department.
    (iii) The offices and agencies reporting to the Assistant Secretary 
for Administration.
    (iv) Any other offices or agencies of the Department as may be 
agreed.
    (21) Establish, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for 
Civil Rights and in coordination with the Department's duly Designated 
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Official, an process for program 
complaints alleging civil rights violations.
    (22) Redelegate, as appropriate, any authority delegated under this 
section to general officers of the Department and heads of Departmental 
agencies.
    (b) [Reserved]

Subpart P--Delegations of Authority by the Assistant Secretary for 
Administration


Sec.  2.88  [Removed]

0
5. Remove Sec.  2.88.

0
6. Amend Sec.  2.89 as follows:
0
a. Redesignate paragraph (a)(11)(iii)(D) as paragraph (a)(11)(iii)(E) 
and add a new paragraph (a)(11)(iii)(D); and
0
b. Revise paragraph (a)(11)(iv).
    The addition and revision read as follows:


Sec.  2.89  Chief Information Officer.

    (a) * * *
    (11) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (D) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
    (iv) Manage a comprehensive set of end user office automation 
services and oversee the delivery of goods and services associated with 
end user office automation services, with authority to take actions 
required by law or regulation to perform such services for any offices 
or agencies of the Department as may be agreed (except for the Office 
of the Secretary, the general officers of the Department, the agencies 
and offices reporting to the Assistant Secretary for Administration, 
and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, as 
specified in Sec.  2.98(a)(1)).
* * * * *

0
6. Amend Sec.  2.90 by redesignating paragraph (a)(25)(iv) as paragraph 
(a)(25)(v) and adding a new paragraph (a)(25)(iv), to read as follows:


Sec.  2.90  Chief Financial Officer.

    (a) * * *
    (25) * * *
    (iv) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *

0
7. Amend Sec.  2.91 by redesignating paragraph (a)(20)(iii)(D) as 
paragraph (a)(20)(iii)(E) and adding a new paragraph (a)(20)(iii)(D), 
to read as follows:


Sec.  2.91  Director, Office of Human Resources Management.

    (a) * * *
    (20) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (D) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *

0
8. Amend Sec.  2.98 as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (a)(1) introductory text add the designation ``(i)'' 
after ``including:'' and before ``Procurement'';
0
b. Redesignate paragraph (a)(1)(i)(D) as paragraph (a)(1)(i)(E) and add 
a new paragraph (a)(1)(i)(D);
0
c. Add reserved paragraph (a)(1)(ii); and
0
d. Redesignate paragraph (a)(5)(iv) as paragraph (a)(5)(v) and add a 
new paragraph (a)(5)(iv).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  2.98  Director, Management Services.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (D) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *
    (ii) [Reserved].
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (iv) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.
* * * * *

Subpart R--Delegations of Authority by the Assistant Secretary for 
Civil Rights

0
9. Revise Sec.  2.300 to read as follows:

[[Page 14955]]

Sec.  2.300  Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.

    Pursuant to Sec.  2.25, the following delegation of authority is 
made by the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights to the Deputy 
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, to be exercised only during the 
absence or unavailability of the Assistant Secretary: Perform all 
duties and exercise all powers, which are now or which may hereafter be 
delegated to the Assistant Secretary.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2012.
Thomas J. Vilsack,
Secretary of Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2012-5956 Filed 3-13-12; 8:45 am]
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