SUMMARY OF: Office of the Governor, Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, Select Issues


Purpose of the Report

In response to concerns about investigation delays, an audit was requested to review ASCHR operations, with a focus on ASCHR’s complaint resolution process. Specifically, the audit evaluated whether the commission resolves complaints promptly and reasons for delays. Additionally, the audit reports steps taken by the commission to seek out and eradicate discrimination.

Report Conclusions

The audit found that state law requires ASCHR to investigate complaints promptly; however, the term “prompt” is not defined in ASCHR regulations or policies. Forty-three percent of ASCHR complaints closed during the audit period took longer than one year to resolve.

The COVID-19 pandemic decreased the opportunity for discrimination, thereby reducing the number of complaints filed with ASCHR. Auditor review found many complaints were inactive for extended periods. ASCHR procedures contributed to inefficiencies. Turnover and vacancies also led to processing delays. ASCHR management expects operational changes made during 2021 and 2022 will improve the timeliness of complaint processing.

ASCHR’s outreach activities were reduced during 2019 as a result of turnover and leadership changes. Activities increased after 2019, but were subject to preapproval by commission members through March 2022.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. ASCHR’s executive director should adopt written policies and procedures to guide the complaint resolution process, establish timelines to encourage timely resolution, and continue efforts to fill vacancies.