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Review process for the Social
Security and Personnel Task Force

These task forces generally follow the above-mentioned process for all task forces. For both task forces, discussions with the task forces' project managers serve as the basis for the following information.

Social Security Administration
Task Force

The task force is following the general review format suggested by the Survey's Management Office. Various corporations have contributed staff and supplies and the Government has only provided facilities (space, furniture, telephones, etc.).

The task force participants are the cochairs, the project manager, the desk officer, and task force members. These participants receive different types of clearance. Cochairs file personal data statements which the White House reviewed and cleared. Other participants received no formal clearance; however, they filed nondisclosure statements. In addition, task force participants obtained security clearance for access to classified information. However, the project manager doubted that this access would be needed.

The four cochairs provide general guidance and support to the task force. The cochairs located the private sector personnel to serve as task force members. As these personnel joined the task force, two cochairs briefed them on pertinent issues and background material.

The project manager and the deputy project manager provide daily leadership of the task force. While they have discretion, they regularly inform the cochairs and the Management Office about task force activities.

The desk officer serves as a liaison between the Management Office and the task force. He provides general oversight to the task force and coordination with other task forces. A) so, the desk officer initially researched the Social Security Administration and defined broad issues for the task force based on what others (GAO, for example) had identified as key issues and cost savings areas.

Task force members are conducting the review. In this case, seven task force teams are reviewing: Old Age Security Supplements, Disability, Computer Processing, Administrative Law Judges, Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Black Lung Program/ Energy, Communications, and Erroneous Payments. Each team has prepared a work plan which outlines the review. The project manager will

merge these team work plans into a task force work plan. This plan will be submitted to the Management Office for comment.

Task force members were generally chosen because of their knowledge and general skills. For example, some members provide managerial abilities rather than subject knowledge. Other criteria for selection were task force participants' willingness to serve and their availability.

Nineteen of 26 task force members represent insurance companies. The project manager explained that this is because he and two cochairs are from insurance companies.

Each task force team follows the Survey's four phase approach which includes Phase I--Orientation and Start-Up; Phase II--Diagnostic Survey; Phase III--In-Depth Survey; and Phase IV--Final Task Force Report. Although each team began at different times, the project manager estimated that the whole task force is in Phase II. They hope to finish Phase III, scheduled to last 10 weeks, by late September even though most teams began their work early to mid-August. For example, the Communications team started August 12, 1982, while the computer Processing Work team began August 23. They may compress the suggested time frame to meet the September milestone.

The task force's review began with the task force members learning issues and facts based on reports about the agency. Next, they interviewed upper and middle agency management to clarify the issues and programs. This interviewing led to more detailed interviews with lower staff levels which may include people below the program manager level.

After data collection, mainly from interviews, each team will evaluate the data, form conclusions, and make recommendations.

According to the task force project manager, the evaluation and report writing stages were still undefined. In evaluating data, they planned to rely on members' specific skills and experiences since they will not use computer simulations or other sophisticated quantitative techniques. The project manager said this approach will be used because they lack the time to do indepth analyses.

The project manager said he planned to brief Chairman Grace, the Management Office, cochairs, chairs, the desk officer, and possibly SSA officials on the task force's tentative findings and conclusions. The task force will not be involved in implementing any recommendations.

The focus of the task force's work was on administration and management. The project manager and his deputy stated that they will not deal with any policy issues since the task force

examines administrative issues that have a "payback" or can produce significant savings. However, they also said that their review will consider both legislative changes (long-run) and administrative changes (short-run) if cost savings may result.

Personnel Task Force

This task force also follows the general process for all task forces. In early August 1982, it had started phase III--the indepth review. After this phase, the task force will begin report writing. It plans, after cochair review and approval, to submit the report to Chairman Grace by mid-October 1982.

A review of its work process follows.

--W. R. Grace staff and other private sector individuals,

working through the Management Office, surveyed key personnel issues and briefed the project manager and cochairs.

--The project manager and his assistant refined these issues

through discussions with top office of Personnel Manage-
ment (OPM) officials and briefed the cochairs on June 17,
1982.

--On June 21, 1982, the task force began. The task force

cochairs recruited persons from the private sector to
serve as task force members.

--The project manager (who recently had retired from OPM)

briefed task force members on OPM and task force operations in late June and early July.

--Over a 2-week period in July, the task force refined its is

sues by interviewing top OPM officials and reviewing previous reports on OPM.

--The project manager developed a work plan and submitted it

for Management Office review and approval. This Office
had not responded by early August. (Note: Management
Office officials told us that they only comment"--not
"approve"--work plans to coordinate, oversee, and generate
ideas.)

--The task force began reviewing OPM and Federal personnel

issues in late July. As a "cross-cutting" task force, it
will review other agencies' personnel processes. The proj-
ect manager planned to review Federal agencies in Atlanta
and Washington, D.C., and the Social Security Administration
in Baltimore.

--The task force's review depends primarily on interviews.

These interviews have ranged from the Director to employees at the GS-12 level. Also, the task force has interviewed employees at organizations that have examined OPM. The task force does not plan to generate new data through in-depth study or surveys.

--The task force will analyze the data on the basis of cost

trends and comparisons with private sector practices.

--The task force has not yet developed a report process or

format. After the cochairs' feedback on recommendations, teams of task force members will probably write the report under the project manager's supervision.

After this, the task force will disband. The task force does not have responsibility for developing an implementation strategy. However, the project manager assumed that someone would be responsible since the Survey is results oriented.

The project manager described other elements that affect this task force including:

--The Personnel Task Force's cochairs have (1) provided

guidance, (2) served as a 'sounding board," and (3) re-
cruited staff/resources.

--Since the project manager has discretion in managing the

task force, his weekly reports to individual cochairs
mainly inform them. Cochairs lack time to assume opera-
tional responsibility. However, cochairs periodically
and individually visit the task force.

--Staffing the task force occurs on a "phase" basis. Skill,

availability, and timing of task force work determine who becomes a member at what time. Although most members started in late June, and have remained, three worked only during the first few weeks; two others will only work during the latter stages.

--OPM has provided the task force space, furniture, and a

word processor for which the task force pays service charges.

--The task force's objective is to identify potential cost

savings in the personnel area. Subsets of this objective are to recommend actions that can be implemented and select issues that can be studied in 2 to 3 months.

--Besides the nondisclosure agreement that task force members

sign, the project manager monitors members' affiliations

and task force duties to avoid conflicts. He particularly avoids consultants because they could use "inside" information for personal gain.

--The personnel task force's desk officer serves as a liai

son with the Management Office, helps get supplies, and coordinates the task force's work within OPM and with other agencies.

WHITE HOUSE OVERSIGHT

The Deputy Director of the Management Office, detailed from the Executive Office of the President to the Department of Commerce for this assignment, serves as liaison to top White House staff members, The Deputy Director told us that this channel is sporadic and informal and that no regular White House oversight exists. Because this channel exists to only keep the White House informed, the Deputy Director said that the White House does not try to direct the Survey's efforts.

The Director of the Management Office has also communicated directly with top Presidential aides. Also, the White House Counsel's Office has regularly discussed clearance activities and legal issues with the Management Office. The Deputy Director also said that an employee from the Office of Management and Budget helps the Management office to coordinate with Federal agencies and will be involved with report implementation.

AGENCY OVERSIGHT

Federal agency involvement occurs from two perspectives. One, the Departments of Justice and Commerce have assisted the Survey. While the former has provided legal advice, the latter supports the Survey's Executive Committee. The other perspective refers to Federal agencies whose operations are being reviewed by the Survey's task forces (see "Agency Perspectives"). The Justice and Commerce Departments also fall into this category.

Department of Justice,
Office of Legal Counsel

Department of Justice (DOJ) personnel described their role as reactive. In other words, they responded to the survey's requests for legal advice. They noted that their participation mainly occurred in the Survey's early stages (spring-early summer 1982). They said that they had no role with the survey as of early August but are available for Survey requests for legal advice.

DOJ legal advice has focused on the legal authority for the survey and the Federal conflict-of-interest laws for special Government employees--the classification for Executive Committee

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