oversight

H.R. 5054--A Bill To Eliminate the Apportionment of Appointments

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-05-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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                                                                          FOR RELEASE ON DELIVERY
                                                                          Expected at 1O:OO a.m. EST
                                                                          May 26, 1977

                          Statement     of Clifford     I. Gould
              Deputy Director,       U.S.   General    Accounting       Office
                 Before the Subcommittee            on Civil    Service
               On H.R. 5054 - A Bill          to Repeal Section         3306 of
                 Title     5, United    States    Code-, to Eliminate          the
                       Apportionment      of Appointments       in the
                   Departmental      Service     in the District        of
                                        Columbia
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                                                                                                                     LM091451

Mr . Chairman           and Members              of        the         Subcommittee:
         I appreciate              your      invitation                  to discuss               the    merits      of
3.R.     5054,      which       would       eliminate                   the     requirement              to apportion
appointments             in the departmental                            service         in the          Washington
metropolitan            area.
         During      1973,         legislation                   to repeal            the        apportionment
requirement          was introduced.                            In our riovember                  20,    1973 report
we recommended              that      the Congress                      enact        the     legislation.              In
1975,        we testified           in favor               of enactment                 of bills            which    also
proposed         elimination              of the           apportionment                   requirement.

         The Civil          Service          Act       of        1883 provided                   that    appointments
to the        competitive           civil        service                in the        District           of Columbia
be apportioned              on the basis                   of population                    as ascertained                at     the
last     census         among the           States,              territories,                and possessions                    of
the United          States,         and the            District               of Columbia.                  The apportionment

requirement             was incoroorated                        into      the     act       to    insure      all    sections
of     the    country       a proportionate                           share     of      Federal         appointments
in Washington.                 In 1883,            40 percent                 of all         competitive            jobs         were
concentrated             in the District                        of Columbia;                apportionment            was
considered            necessary            to ensure                 that        this      block      of jobs          would         be
accessible            to all          citizens              who might              be isolated              from      the
Capitol         due to distance                     and poor               transportation.
          By law,        all     veterans                 and others               eligible          for     veterans'
preference            are excepted                   from          apportionment.                   For apportioned
positions,            the      names of all                   applicants                who have qualified
in examinations                 for      Federal              service            are entered               on registers
in the       following           order:
          (1) Veterans                from         all      States          and nonpreference                   eligibles
from      States        in arrears                 of     their          apportionment               quotas        are      listed
first       in the       order         of their               ratings;
          (2)        Non-preference                      eligibles              from      States      in excess             of their
apportionment                quotas        are           listed          last      in order          of their          ratings,
and are certified                     to agencies                   only        after      other      eligibles
have been certified.                          Thus,           it        is possible           for     a veteran
or a marginally                 qualified                 applicant              from      a State          in arrears
Of its       quota          to rank          far         ahead       of an extremely                  well-qualified
applicant            from      a State             in excess.                   Apportionment               applies         to
appointments                to competitive                    positions                 in the      headquarters
offices         of    agencies           in the Washington                          metropolitan               area.
In addition,             CSC has exempted                           many positions                  and personnel                actions
from      apportionment.                   Among,             the        exemptions           are:
          (1)        Positions           in headquarters                         offices         located        outside           the
                     Washington            metropolitan                     area;

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               (2)       Field            service        positions             located          in the Washington                    area;
               (3)       Professional                  and scientific                  positions;
               (4)       Positions              in grades            GS-13          and above;
               (5)       Positions              filled          through         temporary             appointments;                and
               (6)       Certain            other        positions             and personnel                 actions.
    We found            that        for     the      50,000        or more jobs                where         the     apportionment
    requirement                is    applied,            the      relative           balance          among the           States,
    territories,                 and the            District         of Columbia                in the number               of
    positions            occupied             has remained                the       same for         many years.                  Com-

    parable           representation                   has not           resulted            from    apportionment.
               The apportionment                       requirement              has not          accomplished               its
    original            purpose            of distributing                   jobs      proportionately                   on the          basis
    of population.                    As of December                     15,    1976,         forty-three             States        and
    territories                were        in arrears             (having           less      appointments               than      their
    allocated            quotas),             and thirteen                including            the     District           of Columbia,
    were       in excess             of their            apportionment                 quotas.           However,           as we
    noted       in our           1973 report,                  competitive             examinations                and the
    rotation           policies             of many Government                       agencies          have,         to a large
    extent,           resulted             in the geographical                       representation                 of    Federal
    employees            in      the Washington                  area,         which         apportionment               was
    supposed            to achieve.
              The nationwide                   competitive                examination               system         facilitates
    considering                qualified             applicants            from        all     parts         of    the country.
    Anyone           today,         regardless            of     their         place         of residence             or place

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of examination,               can readily              compete             in examinations                leading
to Federal          employment              in the Washington                       metropolitan              area.
          Additionally,               many Federal                appointees            are hired             in a regional
office       and later             transferred              to the headquarters                      office         in
Washington.               Today,       only         about     one out              of seven        jobs       in    the
competitive           service          is located                in Washington.                  The vast           segment
of     the Federal           work      force         employed             within       the     States
themselves          should          be considered                 in evaluating                the      number        of
opportunities               offered         by the          Federal          service.
          Our 1973 report                  concluded             that       the apportionment                  requirement
was ineffective                and had outlived                     its      usefulness.
          In July          1976,      we began          a detailed                 review      of the         effects
of veterans'              preference           and apportionment                       on the        Federal          job
opportunities               of women and minorities.                                Our work         indicates
that      the     apportionment               requirement                 severely          restricts          and,         in
some cases          prevents,              highly       qualified              eligibles           from       States         in
excess       of    their       apportionment                 quotas          from      being       certified
to agencies           for      apportioned              positions.                  Apportionment              has a
particularly               harsh      impact         on the employment                      potential          of women
applicants.
         Apportionment              also      has a particularly                       harsh       impact          on the
employment          opportunities                   of the        large        minority          population
residing          in the Washington,                    D.C.        area.          Few local         minority

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eligibles             can obtain                 apportioned             positions             because          the Washington
area      is       always         listed          in excess             of     its     quota.
          During            the    1973 review               of the            apportionment               requirement,                 15
major       agencies              and departments                      advised         GAO that           the    apportionment
requirement                 should         be eliminated.
          The combination                        of apportionment                     and the exemption                  of
veterans            from      the       requirement                means that             well-qualified                 non-
veterans            from      States             in excess             of their          apportionment              quota
have      little        chance             of     appointment                to departmental                positions
in the Washington                       metropolitan                   area.          CSC officials              stated
that,       since           PACE's         inception          no nonveteran                    eligible          from     a
State       in excess              of      its     quota      has ever                been certified               to fill
an apportioned                    PACE position               regardless                 of    accomplishment                 in
the     PACE examination.                          Since      PACE is used                    to select          individuals
for     entry-level                positions              in more            than      one hundred              occupations
which       are administrative,                           technical,                 or professional               in nature,
apportionment                 represents              a significant                    employment           barrier           to
many candidates                    from          States      in excess                of apportionment                quotas.
          Agencies            are       reducing           their         use of          apportioned             registers
for     departmental                 service          positions                because         eligibles          from
distant            States         in arrears              often         decline         or are       unavailable               for
entry-level             positions                 in the Washington                      area.       The declination
rate      runs       as high            as 80 percent                   among PACE eligibles                      from        distant
States         in arrears               of their           apportionment                  quota.           Consequently,


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 an agency            needing          to fill         a position                  quickly          hesitates               to use a
 certificate                from      an apportioned                   PACE register.                    Agencies             are

'increasingly                reluctant           to use apportioned                          registers            if        they
 intend        to     interview           applicants                 before          making         a selection.
 Applicants            from         distant       States             in arrears              often       cannot             or will
 not      pay expenses                to go to Washington                          for      an interview.
           Besides           acting       as a barrier                  to EEO and merit                    and not
 achieving            its     purpose          of distributing                       jobs     on the basis                   of
 population,                apportionment              has caused                  other      problems.                 In
 supporting            proposed           legislation                  to repeal             apportionment,                   CSC
 has stressed                that      apportionment                   (1)      is unnecessary                  since          the
 Federal        population               in Washington                  reflects             a good geographic
 cross       section,              accounted         for        by the greater                  mobility               of    the
 work       force,          nationwide           competitive                  examining,             and rotation
 policies            of agencies              and (2)           is     cumbersome             to administer                    since
 the      process           of keeping           track          of apportionment                     and applying
 it     in the        examining           system           is    at variance                 with      a modern
 appointment                system.
 CONCLUSION
            Apportionment                conflicts              with         equal       employment             opportunity.
 The most            objectionable               aspect          of apportionment                      is   its         adverse
 effect        on the         Federal          merit        system            and the         achievement                   of equal
 employment             opportunity              objectives,                  especially              for   women.
 Apportionment                was enacted              to meet               the     needs      of a markedly
 different            period          in civil         service               history,         and is based                   on
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quotas      that        do not         take     into      consideration            the        relative      quali-
fications          of    applicants             in CSC examinations.                     It      has outlived          its

usefulness          in that           comparable            representation            has not            been achieved
for   apportioned             positions.                The nationwide             competitive             examinations
and rotation             policies             of agencies,            to a large         extent,          have   probably
served      the original                purpose         of the        apportionment              requirement.
         Because         of     its     negative          impact        on merit      and equal            employment
opportunity             and its         obsolescence                and ineffectiveness,                  we believe
repeal      of apportionment                    is     justified.           We strongly             recommend
enactment          of    H.R.         5054




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