oversight

Comments on H.R. 9442

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

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

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                                            UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING
                                                                           OFFICE
                                                    WASHINGTON, D.C, 20548
             .i                .
                                                STATEMENT OF
              i           ELMER B. STAATS, C<MPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
              I
                             BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON MANPOWERAND CIVIL SERVICE
                                   COMMITTEE ONPOST OFFICEAND CIVIL SERVICE
                                           HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                                                      ON

    H.R.          9442    - ADDITIONALEXECUTIVE                        LEVEL      POSITIONSFOR THE                    GENERAL ACCOUNTING                                 OFFICE

    Mr. Chairman                   and     Membersof the Subcommittee:
                  We are very              glad    to appear          before      you in support                of H.R.               9442 which                 would

    authorize             five       positions           in the General             Accounting            Office          at rates              not to             exceed
    Level          IV of     the         Executive        Schedule.

                  The General              Accounting         Office      was establcshed                 in 1921          - fifty          years ago.
    At that          time          there     were created             the positions           of Comptroller                    General                of the

    United          States          and Assistant             Comptroller           General        of the United                      States.              Only

    these          positions             were authorized              salaries       in excess            of the Civil                  Service                 rates.

    No change was made until                             1961     when Congress           authorized             the compensation                               of the

    General          Counsel             of the General              Accounting       Office        to be at Level                      IV of            the Exec-

    utive          Pay    Schedule.               Consequently,           other      than     these        three          positions                   there        is

    no authority                   at the present             time     to pay any official                     of the Office abz$z grade
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    GS-18.

                  The work of the General                        Accounting         Office        has,     of course,                  greatly             ex-

    panded and changed                       since       1921.        As the Federal              Government              has becomein-
    creasingly             engaged           in new and complex                  programs,         the Office              has changed                     its

    methods          of operation,                 the    scope of its            work,      and the make up\ of its                                  staff.

    We now have a highly                          qualified          professional         staff          of nearly           3,000         persons
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             engaged in accounting                           and auditing,             overall            financial             management,         program

             evaluation,                 legal      interpretations               and analyses,                   systems         analyses      , and other
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             area!        of specialization.

                         We have continually                        increased      our assistance                     to Congress            in two ways

             for     the     central             purpose        of improving            the management                     of Federal programs                 and

         operations.                      First,      by providing               assistance               to congressional                  committees         and

         membersto                  the extent               that     nearly      one-fifth               of our professional                   staff

         support             the         needs of Congress                  in meeting             its        responsibilities               of legislative

         oversight.                      Second,      by      increasing,          on our own initiative,                            the number of

             reviews         designed              to evaluate           the effectiveness                       of Federal          programs           in

             achieving         the objectives                       intended      by    Congress-:
                         Congress          each year            has by legislation                       given      the General             Accounting        Office

         additional                 responsibilities.                       Of particular                 significance              is the recently             en-

             acted        Legislative               Reorganization               Act of 1971).                   The general             purpose     of cer-

         tain            sections          of this           act     is to provide              for       even more use of the General

         Accounting                 Office          as   an arm of Congress                     in examining                   and analyzing         the

         management                 of existing               Federal        programs           and further                increasing         our staff
         assistance                 to the committees                    during        their           consideration              of proposals-for              new

         or revis;d                 Federal          programs.                                 ,. .'

                         Section          204 of the act               directs         the Comptroller                     General        to review          and
         analyze             the results              of Government               programs               and activities              carried out under
         the existing                     law,      including          the     making      of cost               benefit         studies,      when ordered

         by either             House of Congress,                        or upon his              own initiative,                  or-when         requested

         by any committee                          of the House or Senate,                        or joint           conwlittee           of Congress,

         having            jurisdiction               over          such programs          and activities.

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                         This     section           also     directs           the Comptroller                  General         to have available                  in

                the ,General Accounting    Office employees who are expert in analyzing    and con-
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                ductjng   cost benefit  studies bf Government programs.    On request,  these
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                employees         are to assist               committees               in analyzing               cost      benefit        studies        fur-

                nished     by Federal               agencies          or conducting                cost        benefit       studies         of programs

                under     their      jurisdiction.

                         Section         231 directs              the Comptroller                  General,          at the request                 of any

                committee         or committee               staff,        to explain              and discuss              any report          made by the

                General        Accounting            Office        which       would          assist          in consideration               of proposed

                legislation,             including           requests           for         appropriations,                or in its         review       of any

                program         or operation               of any Federal                   agency wi:hin            its     jurisdiction.

                         These provisions                   of the Legislative                     Reorganization                Act of 1970 will

                increase         the assistance               requested               by      congressional                committees         for     reviews

                of existing          Federal           programs          and activities                   and on proposed                 legislation.

                Other     provisions            also       will       result          in increased              assistance            to the Congress,

                such as Section               201 which            requires            the Comptroller                   Genera? to cooperate                     with

                the Secretary             of the Treasury                  and the Director,                      Office        of Management and

                Budget,         in developing,               establishing,                   and maintaining                a standardized               infor-
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                mation     and data           processing              system          for     budgeting           and financial              data.
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                         We expect           that      tv/o other          significant                 legislative           actions        will      continue

                to impact         directly           or indirectly               on GAO work.                   These are the establishment

                of the Cost Accounting                       Standards           Board,          chaired          by the Comptroller                  General,

                and the establishment                       of the Commission                    on Government               Procurement             of which
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                the Comptroller               General         is      a member.               Ten GAO staff                members are presently




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            assigned        full        time        to the' Procurement              Commission           which         was directed                to study

            the statutes,       policies,     and practices    followed                                by executive                    agencies        in pro-
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            curir/g facilities,        material,   land services.

                     'A number of recent                   legislative          acts     provide          for    work by the General

            Accounting          Office.              For example,          Public       Law 91-599,             which       authorizes                 U. S.

            participation               in increases             in the resources               of certain              international                  finan-

            cial      institutions,                 requires       an audit        of the administrative                           expenses         of the

            Exchange Stabilization                        Fund by the General               Accounting               Office.               Other       legis-

            lation      which          increases          Federal        program       levels         or creates          new programs                   will

            require       expansion                of GAO's auditing            and review             activities.                     Public      Law 91-230,

            for      example,          expands        programs         of assistance            fgr     elementary                 and secondary

            education         and includes                GAO access        to records              provisions           as do the Occupational

            Safety       and Health                Act of 1970,         the Clean Air               Amendments of 1970,                         the Housing

            and Urban Development                       Act of 1970,          the Comprehensive                   Alcohol               Abuse and

            Alcoholism          Prevention,               Treatment,        and Rehabilitation                    Act of 1970,                   the

            Intergovernmental                      Personnel       Act of 1970,          and the Emergency                         Rail     Services            Act

            of 1970,        to name just                a few.

                      A provision           of the Armed Forces                  Appropriation                Authorization                     (1970)
I                                                                                                                                                        ..
            directedcus            to make a study                 of profits         made
                                                                                       ,'  by contractors                          and subcontriitors

            under      defense          and certain            other      Government        contracts             for     which            there       was no

            formally        advertised               competitive          bidding.         Our report             on this               extensive             study

           was released                on March 17.              Ne expect,          however,          that     follow-up                 work     in this

            general       problem         area will            be required.                                                        *




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         In    order           to adequately                carry      out our broad               responsibilities                and duties

we think         it         is essential             that      we be given             authority        to have up to five                    posi-

tions in         the         General          Accounti'ng           Office      which      would       carry      compensation            not to

exceed Level.                IV of the Executive                     Schedule.            These positions                 would     not be

statutary             in the sense that                     they     would      have titles            and responsibilities

prescribed             by law but the Comptroller                              General      would be. authorized                    to have

five     positjons              at compensation                    not to exceed           Level       IV whenever           he found           it

necessary             to do so to meet the needs of the expanding                                          work load              and respon-

sibilities             of the Office.

         There         is precedent                 for     this     type      of authority.              The Congress              in not

disapproving                 Reorganization                 Plan Ho. 2 of 1970 authorized                          six      additional
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positions             for      the new Office                of Management              and Budget;            a somewhat comparable

but much smaller                       organization            than     the General           Accounting           Office,          to be

compensated                 at'tevel          V of the Executive                 Schedule           without       specifying            the

duties        to be performed                    with       the result          that      the Office           of Management and

Budget now             has 13 Executive                     Schedule         positions.

         If    H.R.          9442       is    favorably            considered,          the General            Accounting           Office

would        have authority                   for    eight         Executive       Schedule          positions.

         I have made several                          recent        changes      in the internal                organization-of-the

GAO and have others                          currently         under        cons;deration.              Availability               of   these

additional             positions              would       be of      very      considerable            help     in carrying             out

these        organizational                   improvements.

         I    strongly            urge favorable                   consideration           of H.R.        9442.
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