I -. RtESTRICTED rzot o to vce -e7d$S the Ceneral 7/ I ~~Accounting Office en Jo :C : Can) L- cc- :sroval by the Office of Lc-;7nl = ', ' a '-c:c c, o vi;h l; is kept '6·'"Dsr>J~ by the Distribution Ses$t,~'a 7::c ': RELEASED Office Equipment Service Of The House Of Representatives ,_,,,,,,114865 BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES FEB. 4,1971 COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES WASHINGTON. D.C. 20148 B-114865 Dear Mr. Jennings: This is our report on the Office Equipment Service of the House of Representatives. The review was made in ac- cordance with your request dated July 1, 1970. A copy of this report is being furnished to the Chairman, Committee on House Administration. Sincerely yours, Comptroller General of the United States The Honorable W. Pat Jennings Clerk of the House of Representatives Cont ent s Page DIGEST 1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 2 2 OPERAT]DNS 4 Accounting 4 Messenger service 6 Typewriter repair service 7 Inventory of typewriter repair parts 8 3 DELAY IN RECORDING PURCHASES 9 4 PHYSICAL INVENTORIES 10 5 STATUS OF ITEMS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED TO THE CLERK 11 Recommendation 11 EXHIBIT A Office Equipment Service, House of Representa- tives, summary of equipment accounts, Jan- uary 10, 1967, to June 30, 1970 15 APPENDIX I Letter from the Clerk of the House of Representatives, dated July 1, 1970 19 ABBREVIATIONS GAO General Accounting Office OES Office Equipment Service COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S OFFICE EQUIPMENT SERVICE OF THE HOUSE REPORT TO THE CLERK OF OF REPRESENTATIVES B-114865 THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DIGEST WHY THE REVIEW WAS MADE The General Accounting Office (GAO), at the request of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, reviewed the activities of the Office Equip- ment Service, House of Representatives, during the period January 10, 1967, to June 30, 1970. (See appendix.) FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS Accounting control over electrical and mechanical office equipment was generally adequate except that: --In some instances purchases were not recorded upon receipt. (See P. 9.) --Items of equipment which were not located during the December 1968 physical inventory were still recorded at June 30, 1970. (See p. 11.) --Accounting control over typewriter repair parts was inadequate until new procedures were initiated and a physical inventory was taken in September 1970. (See p. 8.) RECOMMENDATIONS OR SUGGESTIONS GAO's suggestion that all equipment purchases be recorded upon receipt was adopted. (See p. 9.) GAO is recommending that the Clerk of the House of Representatives: --Request approval of the Committee on House Administration to remove from the records of the Office Equipment Service those items of equip- ment not located during the December 1968 inventory. --Obtain such approval in connection with all future inventories which show that items cannot be located, so that the records will show the equipment actually on hand at. the date of the inventory. (See p.ll.) CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The General Accounting Office, at the request of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, has made a review of the Office Equipment Service (OES) of the House of Represen- tatives. (See appendix) Our review covered the period Jan- uary 10, 1967, through June 30, 1970, and included an exam- ination of selected purchases and disposals of electrical and mechanical office equipment, appropriate tests of the accounting records, a physical inventory of typewriter re- pair parts, and such other auditing procedures as we consid- ered necessary. Prior to January 1, 1970, the activities of the Clerk of the House of Representatives were governed by the act of March 25, 1953, as amended (2 U.S.C. 112a-d), which limited the value, quantity, and type of electrical and mechanical office equipment which could be purchased and charged to the account of a member of the House of Representatives or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico. Although the act did not impose equipment limitations--except on the type of equipment available for purchase--on committees and officers of the House, the Committee on House Administration required, in its regulations as revised on July 1, 1968, that all pur- chases of office equipment by committees and officers of the House be approved by the Committee on House Administration. The act of December 5, 1969 (2 U.S.C. 112e), which be- came effective January 1, 1970, directs the Clerk of the House to furnish electrical and mechanical office equipment to members, the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, of- ficers, and committees, in accordance with the limitations and regulations prescribed by the Committee on House Admin- istration. The limitations prescribed by the Committee pro- vide that the depreciated value of electrical and mechanical office equipment furnished to, and charged to the account of, each member and the Commissioner from Puerto Rico not exceed $5,500 plus the cost of one automatic typewriter. The act of December 5, 1969, superseded all previous laws dealing with electrical and mechanical office equipment 2 of the House of Representatives and did not limit or specify the types of equipment that could be purchased. Instead, the act provided for such limitations to be established by the Committee on House Administration and to be revised pe- riodically to meet the changing demands of the House of Rep- resentatives. CHAPTER 2 OPERATIONS The Clerk's responsibility for maintaining control over electrical and mechanical office equipment is carried out by OES. OES has three main functions--accounting, messenger, and typewriter repair services--which are discussed in the following sections of this chapter. ACCOUNTING The accounting function is performed by the five em- ployees of the accounting unit: a chief, an assistant chief, two voucher examiners, and a clerk. The accounting unit is responsible for purchasing all electrical and me- chanical office equipment for the House of Representatives and for the accounting and physical control of the equip- ment. The chief and assistant chief of the accounting unit also exercise supervisory control over the messenger and typewriter repair services. After determining that requests from members for the acquisition and disposal of electrical and mechanical office equipment are within the scope of the regulations prescribed by the Committee on House Administration, the accounting unit initiates the necessary action to fulfill the request. Requests of committees and officers of the House for the acquisition of equipment are approved by the Committee on House Administration, but the committees' and officers' re- quests for disposal of equipment are referred to OES for approval. The accounting records for electrical and mechanical office equipment are maintained on the House of Representa- tives computer. The basic computerized records are the "control printout" and the "member printout", which are up- dated monthly. The control printout contains information on the de- scription of the machine; serial number; date purchased; purchase order number; original cost; accumulated deprecia- tion; book value; and member, committee, or officer to which 4 the machine is assigned. This printout also gives subtotals and totals of the number of machines, original cost, depre- ciation, and book value for each group and major classifica- tion of equipment. The member printout contains the same information as that of the control printout, except that the equipment is listed by member, committee, or officer of the House, each in alphabetical order. In addition, the member printout shows the book value of equipment charged to a member's ac- count and the balance of the member's allowance (see p. 2) available for additional expenditure. A copy of the member printout as of February 28, 1970, was furnished to each member, committee, and officer of the House of Representa- tives in March 1970, and a copy of other monthly member printouts is available to each upon request. We have been informed by an OES official that informa- tion contained in the control and member printouts has aided the personnel of the unit in making decisions and in an- swering questions from members, committees, and officers about their accounts. Other printouts which also aid in the accounting con- trol over electrical and mechanical office equipment are (1) a listing of equipment by serial number and (2) a monthly "transaction printout" which is a listing of all changes made to the computer records during the month. In addition, the repair service history records for each machine are presently being converted from a manual system to a computerized system, and a perpetual inventory of in-house repair parts is currently being established and will be maintained on the computer. Prior to establishing the computerized-equipment ac- counting records in March 1969, OES maintained subsidiary cards for each piece of equipment. These cards contained basically the same information as that of the control print- out but did not contain the current book value and accumu- lated depreciation. OES also manually maintained subsid- iary account cards for each member, committee, and officer of the House, which listed and summarized the equipment charged to their accounts. All acquisitions, disposals, transfers, summarizations, footings, and reconciliations had to be posted and performed manually. We prepared a summary of the equipment accounts (see p. 15) as of June 30, 1970, which showed that 8,748 units of electrical and mechanical equipment, having an acquisi- tion cost of $4,568,667 and a book value of $2,431,469, were on hand. MESSENGER SERVICE The messenger unit consists of four messenger-laborers and a supervisor and is responsible for making all pickups, deliveries, and transfers of electrical and mechanical of- fice equipment in the House of Representatives. During fis- cal year 1970 the unit made 6,131 messenger calls, an aver- age of about 511 calls a month. In addition to being responsible for messenger services, the unit is responsible for maintaining physical control over the equipment charged to the "house inventory" account. This equipment consists of unassigned useable machines that are maintained for use in emergencies. At June 30, 1970, there were 91 machines with an original cost of $37,193.33 and a book value of $21,054.38 charged to the house- inventory account. These machines consisted of 18 manual typewriters, six automatic typewriters, 45 electric type- writers, two duplicator cabinets, 16 adding machines, three automatic letter openers, and one dictating machine. 6 TYPEWRITER REPAIR SERVICE Prior to May 1968 OES obtained repair services on elec- tric and automatic typewriters exclusively from outside ven- dors. In May 1968 the Committee on House Administration au- thorized the establishment of the typewriter repair unit to provide an in-house repair service which was to be supple- mented by outside vendors during periods of high workloads. When first established the unit included one automatic type- writer repairman supervisor, two automatic typewriter repair- men, and four electric typewriter repairmen. As of Octo- ber 31, 1970, the unit included an additional automatic type- writer repairman and an additional electric typewriter re- pairman. For each job performed the in-house repairman prepares a service ticket which includes a description of the work performed, the serial and control numbers of the machine serviced, the office to which the machine is assigned, the time expended on the repair, and the part number and cost of all parts used. These service tickets are turned in daily to the accounting unit where they are summarized and posted to service history record cards maintained for each piece of equipment. As previously stated, these records are presently being converted for maintenance by the com- puter. Although outside vendors are not used to repair type- writers, except during periods of high workloads, OES con- tinues to use outside vendors to repair all other types of electrical and mechanical office equipment. Since the estab- lishment of the Typewriter Repair Service, expenditures for outside vendor services on all equipment has steadily de- creased, as shown below. Expenditures for outside Fiscal year vendors services 1966 $ 63,625.76 1967 89,771.63 1968 124,617.06 1969 65,553.54 1970 36,544.53 7 Inventory of typewriter repair parts Prior to September 10, 1970, inadequate control was exercised over the maintenance and reorder of typewriter re- pair parts. All repairmen in the typewriter repair unit had access to the parts and placed telephone orders to replenish the stock whenever they believed the supply of a particular part was low. Neither a purchase order nor a requisition was prepared for these ordered parts, so there was never an adequate record of what was on order. A physical inventory of the typewriter repair parts, as of September 10, 1970, was taken by OES personnel with the assistance of GAO. The inventory was conducted in accordance with the physical inventory procedures established by the Data Processing Office,House of Representatives. In Sep- tember 1970 OES established new controls over the purchase and issuance of repair parts. One employee was made respon- sible for the inventory, including distributing all parts requested by repairmen and recording all parts received. These transactions are recorded either on service tickets or on computer worksheets, which are used to periodically update the inventory. To strengthen controls over the purchase of repair parts, in August 1970 OES initiated a new purchase order form to be used solely for parts and supplies required for the in-house repair service. CHAPTER 3 DELAY IN RECORDING PURCHASES During our review we noted that electrical and mechan- ical office equipment purchased by OES was not always re- corded upon receipt. We noted 19 such instances which oc- curred during fiscal year 1970. In one instance there was a delay of 5 months from the date that an item was received until it was recorded by OES, and in seven other instances there were similar delays of 3 months each. The delays oc- curred because OES followed the practice of not recording an item until all items included on the same purchase order had been received. OES informed us that this practice was instituted to reduce paper work, eliminate confusion, and minimize the possibility of losing documents. As a result of this practice, the accounts of the mem- bers who ordered items of equipment were not correct for the periods that the purchases of the equipment remained unrecorded. We suggested that OES record all items purchased as they were received. OES personnel have agreed to our sug- gestion and are taking the appropriate steps necessary to implement it. 9 CHAPTER 4 PHYSICAL INVENTORIES Regulations established by the House Office Building Commission on July 15, 1965, pursuant to the act of March 4, 1907, as amended (40 U.S.C. 175), provided that a physical inventory of all furniture, typewriters, and other equipment owned by the House of Representatives be taken after the ad- journment of each Congress. The last physical inventory un- der these regulations was taken after the adjournment of the Ninetieth Congress in 1968. The act of December 5, 1969 (2 U.S.C. 112e), gave the Committee on House Administration responsibility for establishing regulations on the furnish- ing of, and control over, electrical and mechanical office equipment. In January 1970 the Committee on House Administration issued regulations requiring a physical inventory of elec- trical and mechanical office equipment to be taken by OES at the beginning of the first session of each Congress. The regulations provide that, at the beginning of the second session of each Congress, the Clerk furnish each member, committee, or officer of the House with a list (in duplicate) of all equipment assigned to that member, committee, or of- ficer. The regulations provide also that each member, chairman of a committee, or top official of an office return to the Clerk one copy of the list and certify that the items shown on the list are or are not located in his offices. If the certification is not received within 30 days, the Clerk is required to take a physical inventory of the equipment charged to that member, committee, or officer. The Clerk provided each member, committee, and officer of the House with a list of equipment assigned to each at February 28, 1970; however, certification of the list was not requested. OES intends to take a physical inventory of electrical and mechanical office equipment at the beginning of the Ninety-second Congress which convenes in January 1971. 10 CHAPTER 5 STATUS OF ITEMS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED TO THE CLERK In our "Report On Determination Of Accountability Of The Clerk Of The House Of Representatives For Electrical And Mechanical Equipment As Of January 10, 1967" (B-114865, Feb- ruary 2, 1968), we made two recommendations for improving accountability for such equipment. We recommended that the Clerk of the House consider affixing on each piece of equip- ment a decal showing the control number (number assigned to indicate the type of equipment and keyed to a master file maintained by OES) and indicating that the equipment is the property of the House of Representatives. This recommenda- tion was accepted and a decal was attached to all electrical and mechanical equipment during a physical inventory com- pleted in December 1968. We recommended also that the Clerk of the House require that all future physical inventories be reconciled with the inventory records and that adjustments of the records be made when necessary. During the physical inventory in December 1968, 42 machines could not be located. According to the Chief of OES, the question of disposition of these machines wasbrought to the attention of the Committee on House Ad- ministration but was never acted upon. At present these ma- chines are still included in the accounting records since OES cannot relieve the members of accountability for the equip- ment without the approval of the Committee on House Adminis- tration. RECOMMENDATION We recommend that the Clerk of the House resubmit the matter of the unaccounted-for machines to the Committee on House Administration and that approval be requested to re- move the equipment from the records of OES. We recommend also that this procedure be followed in connection with all future inventories which show that items cannot be located, so that the records will show the equipment actually on hand at the date of the inventory. EXHIBIT 13 OFFICE EQUIPMENT SERVICE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SUMMARY OF EQUIPMENT ACCOUNTS JANUARY 10, 1967, TO JUNE 30, 1970 Balance Jan. 10, 1967 Acquisitions Type Units Cost Units Cost ADDRESSING EQUIPMENT 704 $ 200,285 138 $ 69,742 AUTOMATIC TYPEWRITERS 1,003 1,253,275 264 405,531 TYPEWRITERS: Electrical 3,269 1,396,525 2,038 869,058 Manual 1,374 222,670) DICTATING EQUIPMENT 890 271,475 602 190,042 DUPLICATING EQUIPMENT 1,273 429,313 314 158,709 ADDING MACHINES AND CALCULATORS - - 183 94,984 a MISCELLANEOUS (note b) 188 101,055 180 247,245C Total 8,701 $3,874,598 3719 $2,035,311 aIncludes $81,559 for adding machines and calculators, which were trans- ferred in April 1970 from the miscellaneous equipment account. bIncludes automatic letter openers and sealers, automatic letter folders and inserters, tying machines, delivery trucks, and other miscellaneous equipment. CIncludes $198,076 for miscellaneous equipment transferred to the records of OES in May 1968 from other operating units of the House of Representa- tives. EXHIBIT A Balance Disposals June 30, 1970 Accumulated Units Cost Units Cost depreciation Book value 310 $ 43,561 -532 $ 226,466 $ 128,759 $ 97,707 608 407,882 659 1,250,924 525,043 725,881 1,571 516,450 4,074 1,787,420 794,556 992,864 1,036 184,383 124,229 60,154 387 76,344 1,105 385,173 171,604 213,569 601 180,758 986 407,264 208,577 198,687 - 183 94,984 49,481 45,503 195 1 1 6 ,2 4 7 a 173 232,053 134,949 97,104 3,672 $1,341,242 8,748 $4,568,667 $2,137,198 $2,431,469 15 APPENDIX I ffirt of tIke (9erk Pvne u -f Peyres0tetatires pustigton, PC. 29515 July 1, 1970 Honorable Elmer B. Staats Comptroller General of the United States General Accounting Office Washington, D. C. Dear Mr. Staats: I would appreciate it if you would take the necessary steps to review the Office Equipment Service of the House of Representatives, to include parts inventory and purchases made by this Department. With kind regards, I am Sincerely, W. <T/JENNIN , Clerk U. S.House of Representatives U.S GAO, Wash., D.C. 19
Office Equipment Service of the House of Representatives
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-02-04.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)