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UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548

FOR RELEASE ON DELIVERY
EXPECTED AT 10:00 a.m.
September 15, 1982

STATEMENT OF
ROSSLYN S. KLEEMAN, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
FEDERAL PERSONNEL AND COMPENSATION DIVISION

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON POST OFFICE AND CIVIL SERVICE

ON

THE PRESIDENT'S PRIVATE SECTOR SURVEY ON COST CONTROL

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I am pleased to be here today to provide a progress report on

the information you asked the General Accounting Office to obtain

about the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control.

The

President announced this effort in February of this year and es

tablished, by executive order on June 30, the Executive Committee

which is responsible for conducting this survey.

The Executive

Committee's stated purpose is to conduct in-depth reviews to rec

ommend ways to improve management and reduce costs in the Federal

Government.

The Executive Committee plans to complete its work

and report to the President by the end of the year.

You asked us to collect the following information

--the backgrounds and responsibilities of all participants,

--the legal authority for such an effort,

--the organizational structure for conducting the survey.

--the process for doing the work through task forces-

especially the task forces on Federal personnel and the Social Security Administration,

--the involvement of Federal agencies and the White House,

--the source of funding and costs to the Government, and

--the clearance process to protect against conflicts of in

terest.

The organizations that help conduct the survey consist of a man

agement office to coordinate and manage day-to-day activities;

a nonprofit foundation that collects money and resources from

private sector firms to support the effort (as of July 31, 1982,

firms had contributed or pledged about $1.8 million in cash to

the foundation); the executive committee of about 150 members,

most of whom are leaders of large corporations; and 36 task for

ces, each of which is studying a particular organization (for

example, the Air Force or Department of Labor) or function (for

example, personnel management or ADP).

As of mid-August, there

appeared to be about 1,000 people in the above organizations.

Through a charter with the Department of Commerce, which may

accept gratuitous service, the executive committee is an advisory

committee as defined by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

The

committee provides policy direction and oversees the 36 task for

ces.

Executive committee members are Special Government Employees

and are required to disclose their financial interests to the

White House General Counsel and to the agencies being reviewed

by the task forces that they cochair.

Task force members do not

have Federal employee status and do not have to disclose their

financial interests.

They are required to certify that they will

make no unauthorized use of information gained during their review.

At least two executive committee members serve as cochairs

for each task force.

Each task force studies its assigned Federal

area through four phases over a 16-week period.

Based on this

study, each task force will summarize its findings and recommenda

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Through written requests, meetings, and interviews, we have

obtained some information that you requested giving us an under

standing of how this survey is being conducted and the involvement

of Federal agencies.

However, we have not yet collected all the

information that you requested. For example, the management office

has not provided :

--A complete list of all participants, their backgrounds,, and

their responsibilities. This information has been provided for only a small number of participants, primarily executive committee members.

--Legal guidance for establishing the organization, clearance

processes, authority, and conformance to Federal advisory committee provisions for this survey.

--Task force objectives, work plans, and progress reports.

--A full description of the role and function of all groups

shown in the management office's organization chart.

In response to our written requests for this and other infor

mation, the Director of the management office informed us on

August 13, 1982, that because of "certain legal implications

involved with respect" to our requests, the management office asked

for a legal opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Depart

ment of Justice, as to which data we should receive.

We have re

ceived no further response from the management office on the

status of our requests.

officials associated with the survey and many agency contacts

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that we interviewed have been reluctant to discuss anything spe

cific about their efforts.

We informed these officials and agency

contacts that we only planned to collect the requested information

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that such a status report or "snapshot" may be unfair and prema

ture because

--the survey is constantly evolving,
--the information would be outdated by the time we report it,

and

--someone might criticize or misuse the information.

The question of whether certain information in the possession of the management office should be generally available is, we believe, part of a larger issue about the Executive Committee's ob

ligations under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and Department

of Commerce administrative orders.

The act and the orders levy

We are

several requirements on advisory committees in general. looking further at the extent to which these requirements are met.

That completes my testimony, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to answer any questions based on the general material that we col

lected.

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You have requested our opinion on whether the 35 task forces operating as part of the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control in the Federal Government are "subcommittee(s) or other subgroup[s]" of the survey's Executive Committee within the application of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Executive Committee is recognized to be an advisory committee under the Act and, in accordance with the Act, it has been chartered as such by the Department of Commerce.

For the reasons stated hereafter, we conclude that the task forces are subcommittees or subgroups of the Executive Committee within the application of the Advisory Committee Act.

I.

Section 3(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Pub. L. No. 92-463 (October 6, 1972), 86 Stat. 770, 5 U.S.C. App. I, provides in relevant part:

"The term 'advisory Committee' means any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group, or any subcommittee or other subgroup thereof (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as 'committee'), which is-

"(A) established by statute or reorganization plan, or

"(B) established or utilized by the President, or

(C) established or utilized by one or
more agencies,

in the interest of obtaining advice or
recommendations for the President or one or
more agencies or officers of the Federal
Government * * *." ( Emphasis supplied)

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