President's Departmental Reorganization Program

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-07-08.

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

                 United States General Accounting Office
                         Washington, D. C. 2O%8

                                                              FOR RELEASEON DELIVERY
                                                              Expected at 1O:OO a.m.EDT

                          STATEMENTOF PAUL G. DEMBLING


                      SUBCOMMITTEEON IEGISLATION AND                          /
                           MILITARY OPEXATIONS
                     COMMITTEEON GOVERNMNNT
                            HOUSEOF REPRESENTATIVES

                           THE PRESIDENT'SDEPARTMENTAL
                             REORGANIZATION PROGRAM

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
      We appreciate        this opportunity   to appear before your subcommittee,

to present our views on the administrative               provisions     of four bills

(H.R. 6959, H.R. 6960, H,R. 6961, and H.R. 6962) which have been

introduced      to carry out the President's          Departmental Reorganization
Program.     The program would.reorganize         the executive       branch by con-
solidating      seven departments     (Agriculture,      Commerce, HEW, HUD, Interior,
Labor and Transportation)          and numerous executive       agencies into four new
cabinet-level      departments.      The Departments of Defense, Justice,               State
and Treasury      would    not be changed under       the President's     proposal.
         Since      the report        of the first           Hoover Cmmission                  in February             1949

and the enactient                of %he Reorganization                 Act of 1949, many reorganiza-

tion     plans       regarding      the executive            branch      have been proposed,                      In 19Yl

the number of reorganization                       plans     reached         an all.      time high        with        26

plans      filed.       However,       it     should       be noted       that        a reorganization             plan

ma.y not create              a new executive           deplartient,           abo.l.i~h or transfer               an

existing         department       o or consolidate            deparkments,                Hence, the President’s

program       was submitted            in %he form of proposed                       legislation         ra%her than in

the form of a reorganizatisn                       plan     under the I.949 Act,

         The proposed            reorgani2ati.m            program      foLlows          the s           F~t.~eT~ %hat

has run through               the recent        reorganizations,               a~~~~~~~~ it         is    safe to say

that     none has been as sweeping                     as this        one,     er?.compasaing as it               does

most of the domestic                 ftmetions         of the Federal               &mm-men%.             The p~t%~~

inckdes          grouging        of similar        functions;:        together,          ~~a~~f~~~~~~g aL.3. such

functions           to the head of the reorganized                      bodyp and at the mme time

transferring           all     of the personnel,             assets9          PiabiPitles,          contracts9

property)           records    P and         expcnr4cd appropria%fons                    OP t&e existing               units

to the new body,

         WhiLe we                 no xx?6

bills,      we have been ~~~~~~%e~ to c

visions       of the proposed               legislation,

          Section       403(b)      of each bill           pmtides           that     the Secretary         may esttibPish,

alter,       rename)         or discontinue          organL&-3.onal                 uPzLts QP” co        snents        a8 he

deems necessary,          but with varying       exceptions.         Section 301 of each bill

provides for the lapse of any department,                   agency, or component whenever
all    of the functions        of such organization         have been transferred            fram it.

         These two sections        provide the Secretary            of each new department

with broad power to alter            or abolish       existing      organizational       units   or
components, except for the administrations                   which are to be established

within        each department and the few existing               units or components which
are transferred           as separate entities        under title      III   of the bills.       We
believe        that it is intended to continue the existence                  of any existing

unit or component which is transferred                  as a unit to a new department as
distinguished        from a transfer        of its function         only, although the language

of section 403 of the bills             is not identical.
         We would further        observe,    bowever, that the vesting            of such broad
authority        in the head of a department conforms to the recommendations
of the Hoover Commission Report to Congress on the General Management
of the Executive           Branch (February 1949) that department heads must hold
full     responsibility        for the conduct of their           departments with a clear
line of authority           through every step of the organization                and with no
subordinate        having independent authority            (Recommendation No. 141, and

that each department head should have administrative                         authority     to or-
ganize his department and control                its administration          (Recommendation
No,    18).

         Cur main concern is not which agencies and components are to be
continued        as separate entities        within    one of the new departments,               That
is a decision        for the Congress to make, taking                into account the need to

                                                                                                        -3 -
give     the Secretaries              of the new deparfments                       sufficient             authority            to

organize         and manage their              departments,              balanced          against         the desira-

bility        of preserving           existing             agencies      which         are effectively                organized

and adnrinistered.              Our concern is that                      whatever legislation                        is proposed

show clearly          what happens             to each existing                  department,              agency,           or other

body,      or any component                thereof,          affected       by the reorganization.

         Such concern          involves            title      III     (Transfers),               title     IV (Definitions

and Administrative              Provisions)                 and title       V (Transitional                  and Conforming

Provisions).           We beI.ieve            that         the four      biUs          as introduced             could         be

cJ..arified       in this      respect,            and we believe               that     the four          billls       should       be


         Therefore,         we offer          the following              suggestions               for    the C


         In the case of any organizational                               unit      or component             which           is not

to be fully         merged into             a new department--for                       example          the Coast Guard

in H.R. @&Q--the               following             provisions          should         be made:

                  (1) Title         III     of the n;pplicaM.e                  bihl     should          state       that

         such unit         or component is transferred                           to the department                    as

         a separate         entity;

                  (2) Section             403(b)       of the applicable                 bill        should         specifi-

         cally     state     that         the Secretary*s               authority           to establish,               alter,

         rename,      or discontinue                 organizational              units          or components               does

         not extend         to such unit               or component.                Here,        there     is a variance

         between      the language             of section             403(b)       of the four             bills.            We

          recommend the language                   Iused in section                403(b)      of K.R. 6961

          and suggest          its     use in all         four    bills.

                    (3) Section         503. of the applicable                     bill     providing        for
          lapse of units whose fkwtiom                           have been wholly transferred,

          should      contain         an express         exemption          for      such unit        OT com-

         ponent.           This would          require     a slight          change in the In-e

          of section          501, and we suggest                adapting the language of
          section      g(i)     of the Departmeht                of Transportation                   Act    (Pub.    .L

          89-670, 49 U.S.@. 1657(1),                      Sup-p. V),         i.e.,

                           “In any case where all of the fumtions     of a
                   department,     agency, or other body, or any component
                   thereof,    other than F.g.,    the Coast GuargS are
                   transferred     pursuant to this Act, the department,
                   agency, or other body, or coqmnent        thereof, shall
                   lapse * * *.”

          Section      426 of each of the four                    bills           authorizes         appropriations

without      fiscal         year      Limitation         to carry          out the functions                of each gro-
                                     Appropriations           for the se                  r operations          of a de-

partment,          other      than     for     construction          and other capital                 needs5 have
traditfonally              been authorized              m an annual basis,
         We believe,           however,         that     the Congress,               in seeking        relief       from the

pressure        of time        in which         to transact          its     business          and in seeking             to

eliminate          delays      in the passage             of appropriation                  bPPls,          y wish tc3

consider        greater        use of appropriations                  for         a period      longer       than    one

fiscal      year.          Funds for          certain     projects          am2 proga           s, such &S con.=

struction        projects,            which     should     be conplieted              in a given           length    of time,
could      be appropriated                    for     that         specific          number of years.               Other         funds,

particularly             for         the regular             on-going             functions         of Government               made up

principally            of personnel                  and related                 costs,     such as the Internal                   Revenue

Service,         could         be appropriated                     for     a period         of 2 years          instead          of for

one year.          This would                 cut the appropriation                         workload          considerabLy.

Rather      than       for      such appropriations                             to run for         the same 2-year               period,

approximately             half         could         run for             the 2-year         period      beginning          with        even-

numbered years                 and the other                 for         a 2-year         period     beginning       with         the

odd-numbered             years,           This would balance                         the woNLoad              of the Congress

between        years         and enable              the total             Job to be done in considerably                              less

time     than now required.

         In a related                 area,         reviews         made by the General                      Accounting          Office

lead us to believe                     that         delays         in notification                 and allocation               of funds

to State         and local             governments                 and other          grantees         lead to poor planning,

program        delays,          and waste             in the administration                         of grant-in-aid               programs.

In light         of this             situation,          we believe                that     consideration           should         be

given      to more frequent                    use of the practice                         of authorizing           and making

appropriations                 for     the fiscal             year next              following         the usual          budget        year.

This     type     of advance funding                         has already              been authorized              for      certain

programs         such as Title                 I-A of the Elementary                             and Secondary           Education            Act

of     1965; grants             for      airports            under         the Pederal             Airport      Act ; and by the

Economic         Opportunity              Amendments of 1569.                             While     we believe           that     advance

funding         is particularly                     important             for     grant-in-aid           programs         to State            and

local      agencies,            it     would also             be desirable                 for     many other       types         of
programs         and activities          of the Federal               Government             where firm        planning

prior       to the beginning            of the appropriation                   year      is a significant

factor       in the successful               execution         of such programs                and activities.

         Each of the bills              authorizes          the Secretary              to make grant             agreements

with     public      agencies        and private          organizations               or persons.             There ap-

pears       to be no precedent               for     any such blanket                authorization            to enter

into     grant     agreements          to carry        out any program                as proposed.             We note

also     an absence         of the access             to records         and books provision                   normally

included         in grant     statutes             to assure        the Federal          Government’s            right       to

audit       or examination,

         The Secretaries             are given         authority         under        each bill         to acquire

property         and construct          facilities,         .especially              those     facilities            which

are to be used for                 special      purposes,           wherein      the Secretaries               are au-

thorized         considerable         discretion.              It    would     appear         that    the authority

of the General           Services        Administration               as overall             Government        property

manager is curtailed                 as a result.              Perhaps        this     provision            sh0uJ.d be

clarified         so that     there      is no question               as to the respective                    authorities

of the GSA and the Departments.

         Section      417 of the bills                would permit            the Secretary             to make his

own arrangements             for     printing         and distribution.                 We believe            that     under

the broad         language         the Secretary          would       not be bound to use the Govern-

ment Printing          Office.          The CM3 a.naIysis              does not offer                a justification

for     the proposal.

,: ,/                                                         8
 i /x             ‘L“kk~vmikd Smite-your
                                .                    attent;Ean, generally, to the administrative
           ,.,~,@wisi&xs          relating to concessionaire, special studies and joint proj-
        -. _      “1
                 ,_ects,-working       capita2 fmds,     transfers    bebeen appropriations   and
    k"<.-.. I .
                   service    funds.     We have preticus~ furnished the committee staff addi-
.. -----y-.--J -tional coma&entson these provisions as well as on certain other adminis-
                                                                       ---- -_----.___
              -_ ---trative    provisions     in the bilk.       At the request of the staff,   we

               have anaLyzed           in detail   certain          of the administrative              provisions

               indicating,       first,      what is generally            provided        for     in the bill        or

               bills,      secondly,      an analysis         of the provision            and,     thirdly,        the

               authority      presently       existing        for    the various      departments              and agencies

                to conduct      such functions           or activities.           This,         we hope,       provides      the

                Committee     with      a view of the new or changed authority                          sought      in the

                bills.      With your       permission,        we offer     for    the record           this     analysis.