WHAT IS THE BLACK AFFAIRS ADVISORY COUNCIL? The Black Affairs Advisory Council or “BAAC” was started in 1979, by two separate groups of African American employees in the Office of Hearings & Appeals, in Arlington, Virginia, and the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, Maryland.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF BAAC? BAAC was organized to promote employment opportunities for Black employees in the Social Security Administration and to improve services to the Black community.
DOES SSA RECOGNIZE BAAC? Yes. In 1981, the two groups of employees in OHA in Arlington and SSA in Baltimore received official recognition from the Commissioner of Social Security. These two groups later merged to form the BAAC National Coordinating Committee. Initially, BAAC served as an advisory committee to the office of Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity. BAAC now serves as an advisory group to the Commissioner of Social Security.
HOW IS BAAC ORGANIZED? BAAC has local chapters in all of the Social Security Administration’s ten regions. The National Coordinating Committee (Coordinating Committee) is made up of elected representatives from each of the headquarters chapters. The Coordinating Committee is the governing unit of BAAC and provides direction and guidance to regional BAAC chapters. The Coordinating Committee meets regularly with the Commissioner of Social Security to discuss issues of concern affecting Black employees in the agency. Regional BAAC chapters are governed by the Coordinating Committee. Regional BAAC chapters elect their own officers and prepare their own bylaws. These bylaws may not conflict with the bylaws of the Coordinating Committee.
WHO CAN JOIN BAAC? BAAC is open to any SSA employee who identifies with and is knowledgeable of the special concerns of African Americans.
ARE THERE ANY MEMBERSHIP DUES? There are no membership dues required to join a BAAC chapter.
HOW OFTEN DOES BAAC MEET? Local chapters usually meet once a month. Every other year BAAC chapters have a national conference. These conferences are held alternately with bi-annual diversity conferences co-sponsored by BAAC and the advisory groups for disabled, Hispanic, Pacific-Asian American and female SSA employees.
WHAT ACTIVITIES DOES BAAC SPONSOR? BAAC has sponsored various programs for employees and the community including:
- Peer Coaching
- Adopt-A-School Program
- Job Interview Workshops
- Diversity Training
- Ongoing Analysis of Statistical Data on EEO Profiles
- National Bone Marrow Donor Program
- Mentoring Program
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF REGIONAL (LOCAL) CHAPTERS? Local chapters should:
Encourage self development, including positive image and rapport with co-workers and managers;
- Encourage members to seek assignments in new and challenging workload areas;
- Promote activities that assure full participation in the development of the individual;
- Work to identify unmet needs that would assist the member to attain their highest career objectives; and
- Communicate with the National Coordinating Committee to stay abreast with changes in the agency and any possible impact on BAAC’s mission; and
- Maintain a positive rapport with the management team.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF REGIONAL MANAGERS? Regional manager initiatives include:
- Providing use of telephones, fax machines, bulletin boards, and where feasible meeting space;
- Conducting regularly scheduled meetings with BAAC;
- Encouraging the management team to follow through on areas of commitment;
- Providing direction on the areas where advice is sought; and
- Providing reasonable amounts of administrative leave or official time to carry out organizational activities.