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The CHAIRMAN. Do you have some people who are employees of your task force either employed by members of the task force employed in that portion, who are paid employees of the task force assigned to your task force, sitting in OPM?
Mr. PRANGER. Yes, we have our task force over there, which consists of 17 professional members, and we now have 3 clerical support people. The clerical support people have been hired by private companies for our use; they are at no cost to the Government, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. So OPM provides you with space for 17 professionals?
Mr. PRANGER. Yes, sir.
Mr. PRANGER. We have a total of 3 support people, so there is a total of 20 people on the task force, sir.
I might also remark, and I do not mean it facetiously, we are two to three to a small room, too. We have not taken over a major portion of the space in the Office of Personnel Management.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that parallels a complaint of successive Directors of that Office over there about our penurious treatment of their budget for personnel and professionals. That is one of the reasons why I would like to have, when you finish, some opinion from you as business experts on whether we give them enough money to operate an agency like that. That is a very important consideration. I think that this committee has considered, over the last half dozen years, at least that many cuts aimed specifically at their budget, for a whole variety of reasons, but nevertheless, we have been cutting back ever since I guess Scotty Campbell's time. That is the kind of thing that we had hoped your task force was going to be able to give us an outside, nonpolitical, independent appraisal of.
That is a kind of appraisal that has a great deal of value, because it is impossible for the committee to totally separate the personalities currently incumbent in that office and practices currently causing tensions from a fair analysis of what the optimum size and personnel complement of an office of personnel ought to be. The work plan that I have, which you indicated may not be complete, does not indicate that you are spending any time or considering that type of examination of the office to be a priority, and I would like to know whether or not you are going to be looking at that.
Mr. PRANGER. We are looking at the major operational units of the Office of Personnel Management with regard to about several things: The authorities that are delegated to them-in other words, the program areas they are working on-the size of their budget, the size of their program. We, I think I can safely state, will make several recommendations concerning what we think will be good efficiencies, in terms of both the organization, the staffing, and the operation of OPM. Now, whether or not we can satisfy you from a complete indepth study of the 5,000 and some odd full-time permanent employees there, I do not know yet, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. It is your view at this point that although we may be operating off of something that has been updated in the way of a work plan, you are under instructions not to share the real work plan with this committee?
Mr. PRANGER. Yes, I am, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. In your 8 years with Agriculture and your 3 years with OPM, did you ever run into a situation where anybody was in doubt about sharing with the Agriculture Committee or this committee the contents of any work plan or people stationed within the agency?
Mr. PRANGER. No. I can honestly say I have not, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I would not like to speculate in a vacuum. Would you care to speculate with me on what public interest is being protected by not sharing that information with us?
Mr. PRANGER. Sir, I am in no position really to respond or even to speculate on it. I am, if I may be blunt about it, one of the workers down in the fields on this thing; I have nothing to do with the policy implications or anything else of this, sir. I prefer not to talk about it.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you suggest, from your perspective, as one of the people down in the field, as you describe it, any way in which sharing that work plan with this committee would be deleterious to or expected to interfere with the efficient carrying out of your mission?
Mr. PRANGER. No, I cannot speculate on that, sir. I have no thoughts one way or the other on it, very frankly.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any reason why there will not be a convening of your task force for the purpose of accepting these drafts that are being proposed. I assume you will do that by having some kind of meeting, won't you?
Mr. PRANGER. We will have the individual members. I doubt very much if we will be able to get the cochairs. It may well be that we will sit down and the people involved in the given areas and I will sit down and argue back and forth in terms of where they are going on it.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not expect any kind of a formal meeting to occur before that work product goes to Mr. Grace?
Mr. PRANGER. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. So, if you do not have to have a meeting to decide anything, how do you then identify that product as the consensus or majority view of the task orce
Mr. PRANGER. Obviously, the task forces are working on different functions on the thing. In terms of what happens on the clearance of the draft report, once again, that will be handled by the management office of the PPSSC. I will repeat, once again, our report is to that group up there, and I have no idea how they are going to handle it, whether they intend to convene meetings or anything else on it.
The CHAIRMAN. How do you reach a conclusion? You have four cochairmen here.
Mr. PRANGER. Three cochairmen, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Three. How do you reach a conclusion to forward? By what process?
Mr. PRANGER. We normally send them copies. We give them a weekly update on where we are, sir. We give them what we call a Fridaygram. With regard to the ultimate draft document that goes out, the current plan probably will be that we will send it out to them by Air Express, and then they will have a chance to come back and argue and comment on it. I would make one point on it: The three cochairs have, to a very great extent, allowed me to really run the operations. They have been obviously available for guidance, when I call them on the phone and things like that, and they have been very helpful, in terms of getting the people onboard from the private sector. But to a great extent, it will ultimately be a product that I will have to accept the primary responsibility for, sir.
Once again, I am not in any way downgrading the action of the three cochairs.
The CHAIRMAN. But you are expected to make recommendations to the executive committee.
Mr. PRANGER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And so, those recommendations will, by and large, be your recommendations?
Mr. PRANGER. Yes, with copies going to each of the three cochairs, before it goes up there, and then I will expect either telephonic or some kind of a “Yes, you may go with them” on it.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you tell me who, specifically, and howby writing, orally, or how-you were ordered by the management office not to-
Mr. PRANGER. It was orally in a meeting, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Yesterday? In anticipation of your testimony here?
Mr. PRANGER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You were called in and given specific instructions about how to-
Mr. PRANGER. I was not called in. I was in there, in a meeting with them, sir. But I was basically told that I was not at liberty to discuss what was in the work plan nor reveal it, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And who told you that?
The CHAIRMAN. That is almost embarrassing to me, because Mr. Larkin told me just last week that he had no objection to sharing the work plans with us at all. He just did not think they had all been gathered together yet.
Mr. PRANGER. I don't even know what went on. I was not up here, sir, so I cannot comment on that.
The CHAIRMAN. He has not been completely candid with one of
I want to thank you very much for your cooperation and for your statement. We will have some additional questions to submit to you as time goes on. I am sure that we will be interested in visiting with you as you move ahead with your work and hope that you will be able to share with us some very positive suggestions on how we can improve the efficiency of that department over there. It never has been one of the departments recognized for its great efficiency, at least in my years on this committee, and it certainly is no better now, if not worse, than it has ever been. You could not be doing your work at a better time, at least for me as chairman of this committee. I have had some hunches about the way they operate over there so long, I just have to believe you are going to come up with suggestions that are going to be quite agreeable to me, at least some of them will be.
We want to work with you, and we want to take advantage of the work product. But I am very much concerned. The reason I went outside, in consultation with my counterpart on the Senate side and the majority and minority members of this committee, for the study of the health plans was that we wanted a creditable study that would not be associated with anybody's particular political philosophy or political objectives. We are hoping that we could get that sort of thing from the President's Private Sector Survey, but I have to share with you at this moment a deepening concern for the credibility of your work product. I would hate to see private corporations putting this much investment into something that is going to be discredited, in terms of not producing that which the President told the American people he was appointing them to do.
Let us just take your task force. How many of the people working in your task force are full-time employees of private corporations? Roughly.
Mr. PRANGER. I would much prefer to be very accurate on it. I obviously am not, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You are not?
Mr. PRANGER. No. This is just a one-time contract with them, and I for me. I am fulltime on the task force but not other than that.
The CHAIRMAN. You are employed by this company while you are doing this study?
Mr. PRANGER. Yes, sir.
We have two of them who are retired people from the firms, and they were brought back for the jobs. Other than that, the rest of them are full time, regular career employees, or whatever you call it, in the private sector employ.
The CHAIRMAN. So they draw whatever salary and expenses and health benefits and whatever they have from
Mr. PRANGER. The company is bearing the full cost, in terms of salary and expense; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. These are top or midlevel executive personnel?
Mr. PRANGER. Yes. For the most part, they are at the vice president, some at the senior vice president, and others at the assistant vice president level. We probably have maybe one person on there who is a relatively young employee, who is really on her way up in the firm, but for the most part they are key corporate officials, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Although it is not within the purview of this committee, but one speculates about the tax treatment of those expenses against the question of ultravires acts by corporate officers, using corporate resources for purposes not contained in the charter of the corporation. I do not know how a gas production company in Pennsylvania justifies the tremendous expenditure they are making studying the Postal Service, since they do not do any business with the Postal Service. There is no way the shareholders of that corporation will ever benefit directly from that payroll expenditure, but that is not your problem nor mine at this point. However, it does bear on this assertion that this is a tax-free gift to
the American taxpayers. It sounds to me like it is a pretty expensive tax writeoff, and we ought to be very concerned that we are getting our money's worth.
Thank you very much.
Our next witness is Rosslyn Kleeman, Associate Director, Federal Personnel and Compensation Division, General Accounting Office.
Without objection, your prepared statement will be inserted in the record, and you may proceed to add to it, supplement it, or summarize it in any way that you feel most comfortable.
[The prepared statement, and a September 21, 1982, letter, follow:]