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FINANCIAL SAVINGS AND OTHER BENEATS
Procedures to Improve Telephono Assistance o Taxpayers
Our suner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Taxpayer Service Telephone Assistance Program showed that when taxpayers' questions were referred to a technical backup person. they would receive correct answers to their questions about 79 percent of the time. lle informed the IRS of our findings because it considers telephone referrals to be a critical factor in pro viding quality service to taxpayers.
On March 22. 1978. the Commissioner of Internal Revenue testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce. Consumer and Monetary Affairs, House Committee on Government Operations. He stated that the IRS would establish a mandatory review to identify er. ror rates for referral assistors on a separate basis. The Assistant Commissioner for Accounts, Collection and Taxpayer Service sent a memorandum to all IRS regional commissioners emphasizing the importance of reviewing the quality of answers given by referral personnel. In addition, IRS has made changes in its Taxpayer Service Quality Review Handbook. The upgrading of the standards for the Taxpayer Service Telephone Assistance Program will help assure taxpavers they are receiving the correct answers to their more difficult questions.
such employees. The letter also provides appropriate language for inclusion in all future solicitations whenever professional emplovers are expected to be needed 10 perform the services. The new policy, effective April 1. 1978, is to be implemented through regulatory guidance issued under both the Defense Acquisition Regulation and Federal Procurement Regulations.
Also as a result of our recommendations, the Department of Defense (DOD) advised us in June 1978 that the
Air Force has been directed to develop guidance for DOD activities to discourage wage busting of profes sional service emplosers. In addition, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in July 1978. amended its procurement regulation to include procedures to implement the requirements in OFPP Policy Letter Number 78-2.
Improve Nutrition Program for the Elderly
In our report to the Secretary of Hell' on our review of the nutrition program for the elderly (HRD-78-58. February 23. 1978) we identified a number of areas where program administration and effectiveness could be improved. lle discussed our report with officials of the Administration on Aging (404) in Dereinber 1977. We were informed that as a result of our report. 10.4 was undertaking a new initiative nationwide to improve administration of elderly nutrition program. Actions taken by AOA and the l'.s. Department of Agriculture will increase the number of meals available to older persons by 12 percent or a total of 17 million additional meals by March 1979.
Government-wide Procurement Policy To Prevent "Wag Busting"
Grester Outreach Eforts by the Social Security Administration
In a report dated February 28. 1978 (HRD-78-49), we recommended that the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy. the Office of Management and Budget. establish a Government-wide policy to discourage wage busting of professional employees work ing on Federal service contracts and require Federal agencies to include appropriate implementing language in their procurement regulations and service contracts
As a result of our recommendations, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), issued Policy Letter Number 78-2. “Preventing 'Wage Busting' for Professionals: Procedures for Evaluating Contractor Proposals for Service Contracts," which stated that it is the declared policy of the Federal Government that all service emplovees, including professional employees. employed by contractors providing services to the l'.S. Government, be fairly and properly compensated. The policy letter suid Federal procurement procedures shall be developed to assure equitable compensation for all
We recommended in April 1977 that the Social Security Administration identify those individuals who were denied benefits because of excess personal resources and advise them they may now be eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits because of a change in the law on home ownership. Il'e also recoinmended that similiar outreach efforts be made in the future when legislative changes are made that effect previously denied applicants.
In January 1978. we were advised that Social Security will contact about 50.000 to 70.000 individuals previously denied benefits because of excess resources. Ile were also advised that similar outreach efforts will be made in the future when warranted.
FINANCIAL SAVINGS AND OTHER BENEFITS
Improved Control of U.S. Antarctic
In our report to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, (ID-77-59, December 30, 1977) we reported that although the National Science Foundation is reimbursing the Navy for all major l'.S. Ani. anic Research Program costs, costs are still being bome by the Navy. We recommended that the Secretary of Defense identify the logistic support for the program that is borne by the Department of Defense, establish procedures to accumulate or estimate costs, and that the Secretary and the Director of the National Science Foundation improve coordination of logistic support finances.
On February 6, 1978, the Department of Defense National Science Foundation memorandum of agreement was amended to provide for the National Science Foundation to reimburse the Navy for toual cost of providing subsistence to Foundation-sponsored civilian personnel in Antarctica effective October 1. 1978. In addition, on January 12, 1978, the Comptroller of the Vavy requested the Navy Auditor General to identify any remaining cost for logistic support of the program still being borne by the Department of Defense.
Foreign Assistance legislation for fiscal vear 1979. In September 1978. Sec. 26. Chapter 2 of the Arms Export Control Act was amended to include “. . .(b) as part of the quarterly report required by section 36(a) of this act. the President shall include a list of all defense equipment surveys authorized during the preceding calendar quarter, specifying the country with respect to which the survey was or will be conducted, the purpose of the survey, and the number of l'nited States Government personnel who participated or will participate in the survey. (c) l'pon a request of the Chairman of the Committee on the International Relations of the House of Representatives or the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the President shall grant that Committee access to defense requirement survey conducted by l'nited States Government personnel."
Improvements Made in Department of Agriculture's Upward Mobility Program
Strengthening Congressional Oversight of Foreign Assistance
Responding to the recommendations in our March 1977 repon, the Department of Agriculture initiated various actions to improve its upward mobility program. Skills surveys are being conducted to identify underutilized employees. Extensive changes have been made in the College Study Program including requiring participants to follow courses of study consistent with designated occupational areas. and the preparation of individual career development plans by all participants. In addition, application of the job element approach in the participant selection process has been limited to the specific position concerned. These ac. Lions, and others, should result in a more effective program.
Federal Upward Mobility Program Made More Ettective
The l'.S. sells military equipment and supplies to certain frican nations because these nations preceive military threats and also to balance growing Soviet influence and maintain specific interests.
Norwithstanding L'.S. rationale for such sales, our review disclosed that Congress has not been adequately informed about some key aspects of foreign military sales programs in Africa. For example, executive branch notificationss on proposed sales do not clearly describe the nature and extent of U.S. equipment transfers and manpower commiuments. Also, Congress has not always been advised of long-range plans.
We recommended to the Secretaries of State and Defense (ID-7761, April 4, 1978) that congressional notifications about proposed sales of military equipment and services by the executive branch be more comprehensive including, "I'.S. military survey team results and actions the l'.S. Government will undertake to carry out the teams' recommendations."
Our recommendation and the State Department's response expressing their agreement were used by the Subcommittee on International Security and Scientific Affairs. House Committee on International Relations, to support their justification for an amendment to the
The Civil Service Commission has implemented a comprehensive action plan which should increase the effectiveness of the Federal upward mobility program. The plan, responding to the recommendations in our March 1977 report, provides for guidance to departments and agencies stressing the importance of work force assessments and detailing the techniques to be used in conducting skills surveys in support of training agreements: identifies information needed by the agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of their training agreements; ensures that the Commission's annual onsite personnel management and Equal Employment Opportunity evaluations include an analysis of the results of agencies' upward mobility program implemenFINANCIAL SAVINGS AND OTHER BENEFITS
tation: and develops controls to ensure that program costs are reported accurately and completely.
Our letter report was given to the Department of Defense Joint Logistics Commanders' Small Ims Work Group. and we were informed that the Group had identified an additional $1.6 million of the small arms workload which will be accomplished by interservice support agreements.
Contractor Noncompliance Action
Manacement of Cash Balances
We reviewed the Government Printing Office's (GPO's) Central Office Printing Procurement Division and found GPO could exercise better management control to provide more timely service at lower costs. In our report to Congress (*Substantial Improvements Needed in the Government Printing Office's Service to Federal Departments and Agencies," LCD75-37. Dec. 29. 1975), we said that customer agencies had complained about the excessive time it took for GPO 10 procure printing services. One of our recommendations was that GPO should establish a consiste ent approach for handling those instances when the printers do not comply with the contract terms.
GPO has implemented our recommendation and improved reporting on contractor noncompliance. Compliance with scheduled delivery is now determined and verified by GPO. Compliance with quality is reported on an excepcion basis by the customer agency using GPO furnished "flashcards." Further, GPC) has developed a "quality-by-atributes" system which reduces the judgmental aspects of determining compliance with quality requirements.
Sanctions against contractors such as cure notices. show cause letters, and declarations of nonrespon. sibility are now taken in the same sequence against all noncomplying contractors.
GPO reports show that this approach to contractor noncompliance has resulted in a steady reduction in the delinquent delivery rate from 17 percent at the time of our review to less than 8 percent in October 1977.
In our June 1976 report ("'Department of Defense Stock Funds' Declining Financial Position." LCD-76 +33), we reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) stock funds, cash and working capital balances had deteriorated because of inflation and management problems within the stock funds. An example of the management problems within the stock funds was the absence of any cash flow analyses so that as a result the cash problems became critical before management became aware of them.
To resolve the cash problems, DOD asked the Congress for an appropriation to fund a 15-percent surcharge on sales to stock fund customers. As part of the request. DOD said that a surcharge of 15 percent of sales would provide the cash necessary to bring working capital up to needed levels. Our review disclosed. however, that the Office of the Secretary of Defense officials did not make a satisfactory analysis of requirements and could not adequately support the amount of the request. One aspect of this was the need to analyze the cash requirements of each of the five service stock funds which we found had different cash needs.
We recommended several improvements in DOD's cash management and among those was a recommendation to tailor stock fund cash bulances to the require ments of individual stock funds.
DOD agreed with our recommendations and as a ourt of the budget guidance. gave the services detailed guidance for analyzing cash requirements. As a result, cash management was improved to the extent that at the end of fiscal year 1977 actual cash on hand was within 3 percent of the budgeted amount.
Small Arms Maintenance Facilities
Improved Procedures Concerning Noncompetitive Procurement
Our letter report to the Secretary of Defense (LCD-76+26. Mar. 31. 1976). pointed out that the Services small arms maintenance facilities were significantly under utilized. lle also told the Secretary of Defense that a number of items were being repaired by more than one Service and that only Il percent of the $5.5 million depot maintenance workload was accomplished through interservicing. lle concluded that savings would be realized by performing this maintenance at fewer locations because this would permit increased utilization of equipment and facilities and possible spare parts and personnel reductions.
Formal advertising and negotiation are the basic methods by which the Government procure's supplies and services. By law, agencies should formally advertise for bids whenever possible. The Congress has histor. ically required that Government purchases of goods and services be accomplished using lull and free coinpetition to the maximum extent practicable.
FINANCIAL SAVINGS AND OTHER BENEFITS
We examined contracts negotiated by five agencies and found that many noncompetitively negotiated procurements were unjustified. In a September 15, 1977, report we recommended that the Congress require all Federal agencies to provide annual statistics on supplies and services procured through noncompetitive contracts, information on actions taken to increase competitive procurements, and that the agencies prepare written justifications for all noncompetitive procurements over $10,000.
-Establish teams of top management and scien.
tific personnel to make laboratory walk-throughs. -Establish laboratory equipment pools or give the
head of the agency written reasons why such pools are not needed - Prepare an annual report for the agency head on
the use and effectiveness of the pooling of equipment. -Make periodic independent reviews of walk
through practices and equipment pool operations, to determine their effectiveness.
On July 3, 1978. GSA amended its Federal Property Management Regulations to strengthen controls for use by agencies in managing research equipment in Federal laboratories. These controls are intended to further promote the use of already-owned equipment instead of the procurement of similar new equipment.
In January 1978. the Office of Federal Procurement Policy indicated that the General Services Administration is to amend the Federal Procurement Regulation to include a requirement for approval at a level above the contracting officer prior to entering into noncompetitive procurements over $10.000. It further stated that a Federal Procurement Data System, to be operational later in 1978. would provide rimely procurement man. agement data on a Government-wide basis, including the extent of competition.
We believe that the new regulations and statistics will help limit the use of noncompetitive procurements to the exceptional cases where it is appropriate.
Use of Software Tools and Techniques to Improve the Performance of Computers
Improvement of Joint United States/ Colombia Foot-and-Mouth Program
Al Facilities Systems Office (FASCO). Port Hueneme, California, and the Marine Corps Automated Services Center, Camp Pendleton, California, we worked with personnel from these installations to improve the performance of two production application computer programs through the use of software tools and techniques. This resulted in freed computer resources and possible reduced production run costs associated with these programs.
In an August 1977 letter report to the Secretary of dericulture we furnished our observations and conclusions that the joint l'nited States Colombian foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) control and eradication program has not been effective. We recommended the development of an overall plan to eliminate the threat of F.MD spreading northward via the Pan Iinerican Highway system.
Our review proved timely and appropriate since Department of Agriculture and State Department officials used our report to strengthen their position during negociations with Colombian Government officials when specific steps were outlined to correct program deficiencies.
Improved Controls for Managing Research Equipment at Federal Labs
In a report to the Congress in December 1975 we recommended that the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) issue guidance to agendes to ensure better laboratory and research equipment use. This guidance should require that each agency:
GAO'S CONTINUING EFFORT TO CUT COSTS Mr. STAATS. This concludes our prepared statement. Mr. Chairman, again, as I said at the outset, we do face a very serious problem in GAO for the reasons that I have indicated. We have done everything we know how to do to cut the cost of our work. We have been making a number of changes in our process where we think it will make it possible to get our work done more rapidly. However, these changes to the process will require more travel to get the work done, so it will have some effect on our travel costs.
We have all been searching for ways in which we can absorb this work, but there comes a point where your coverage of some of these operations gets so thin that we can't say we are carrying out our statute, which requires us to audit all these activities with the
Merion of theich requirthin that where yowhich we
Mr. BENJAMIN. Thank you, Mr. Staats.
Mr. Staats, you have listed 16 different specific mandates. Are these the mandates you spoke of earlier in your testimony, in which you enumerated only seven?
Mr. STAATS. Yes.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Let's include that for the record. And on those seven you ascribed to each the staff years required.
Mr. Staats. Yes, sir.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Would you do that for the remaining nine as we insert this in the record?
Mr. STAATS. Yes. [The information referred to appears on pages 1717-1720.] Mr. BENJAMIN. Mr. Staats, this is your thirteenth appearance before the subcommittee in behalf of your regular annual budget. The subcommittee was assigned jurisdiction over the GAO in 1967 at the beginning of the 90th Congress. The late George Andrews of Alabama was chairman, and you appeared on May 9, 1967 to justify a budget for fiscal year 1968 totaling $52,900,000 and 4,600 permanent positions. The request for the General Accounting Office for fiscal year 1980 totals $206,763,000 and 5,350 average positions. Dollar-wise, the budget has increased almost four times in that 13-year period and is $21,007,000 over the amount appropriated for fiscal year 1979 and 86 staff years over that previously allowed.
INTRODUCTION OF WITNESSES Mr. Staats, at this time I would appreciate your introducing the staff members that you have with you.
Mr. STAATS. Mr. Chairman, to my right is Mr. Keller, the Deputy Comptroller General; Mr. Milton Socolar, our General Counsel; and Mr. John Heller, Assistant to the Comptroller General.
Why don't I save my voice and let them introduce themselves? Mr. AHART. Greg Ahart, Director of the Human Resources Division.
Mr. HAVENS. Harry Havens, Director of the Program Analysis Division.
Mr. ESCHWEGE. Henry Eschwege, Director of the Community and Economic Development Division.
Mr. Horan. Don Horan, Deputy Director, Logistics and Communications Division.
year period the budgets $206,763,000 Gene