oversight

Bills to Repeal Section 3306 of Title 5, United States Code

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-09-13.

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

                                                                  FOR RELEASE ON DELIVERY
                                                                  Expect,+--a-k 2-
                                                                  Sfiember     13,'

                                STATEMENTOF CLIFFORD I.                GOULD
                                                                                               ,I3
                  DEPUTY DIRECTOR, U.S. GENERALACCOUNTINGOFFICE
     BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEEON CIVIL SERVICE AND GENERAL SERVICESzyQ6"
              386, S. 865, AND S. 1133 - lGILLS TO REPEAL SECTION 3306 OF
                    TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE; TO ELIMINATE THE
                                              23
                         APPORTIONMENTOF APPOINTMENTS IN THE
                        DEPARTMENTALSERVICE
                                      _     IN THE DISTRICT OF
                                                    COLUMBIA

Mr. Chairman         and Members of the Subcommittee:
         I appreciate          your    invitation       to discuss      the merits         of S. 386,
S. 865, and S. 1133, bills                   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 November 30, 1973 report                    on apportionment,
we recommended that                 the Congress       enact    the legislation.            In June 1975
and May 1977, 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 appor-
tioned      on the basis            of population       as ascertained          at the last        census
                                                                                               I               II
     among th.e States,              territories,                 and possessions              of the United              States,
     and the District               of Columbia.                 The apportionment                  requirement           was

_ - incorporated            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     ve.terans          and others            eligible         for    veterans’        pre-
-.
     ference        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    j Non-preference                  eligibles            from States         in excess         of their
     apportionment            quotas         are listed            last       in order        of their         ratings,         and
     are certified            to agencie-s             only       after      other      eligibles         have been
     dertif      ied.     Thus,       it     is possible             fdr     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                requires       that       consideration             be given         to an
     applicant’s          residence           when making                appointments          to competitive


                                                                   -2-
  positions           in      the       headquarters                  offices         of    agencies            in         the     Washington

  metropolitan                area.          CSC has exempted                      many positions                     and personnel

_ actions           from      apportionment.                       Among,        the       exemptions              are:

                      Positions              in      headquarters                offices             located          outside               the

                      Washington                 metropolitan                 area;

             (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        positidns              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.                  As of December                       15,    1996,

   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.

  The apportionment                       requirement                 has not          accomplished                  its         original

  purpose           of distributing                    jobs        proportionately                    on the          basis            of popula-

   tion.’          However,            as we noted               in     our     1993       report,           competitive                    examina-

   tions       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.

                                                                           - 3 -
                c




                Our 1973              report         also        concluded                that         the    apportionment                   requirement
      had outlived                   its     usefulness.                   The Washington                     area        no longer             accounts
- -
      for     a large            percentage              of      Federal               jobs.           Today,        fewer        than        one out          of

      seven         jobs        in    the      competitive                 service              is     located           Ln Washington.                     There

      are     many Federal                   jobs       in     each        state.               Those        jobs        do not         count       against
      the     apportionment                    quotas          of     the         States             in which        those        jobs        are      located.

      This      vast        segment            of    the       Federal             work         force        employed         within            the        States

      themselves                should         be considered                      in     evaluating              the      number         of     employment
 -.   opportunities                   offered           by the           F.ederal           service.

                We recently                   completed             a detailed                  review        of     the     impact           of veterans’

      preference                and apportionment                        on the           achievement                of    equal         employment
      opportunity                objectives.                   We plan             to     issue         the      final       report           to      the
      Congress             in    about         3 weeks.               Our work              showed           that        apportionment                 is

      contrary             to    the        basic       principles                 of     the        merit       system.           It      operates
      as a barrier                   to     achievement               of     equal          employment               opportunity.                   Under
      apportionment,                       applicants            who are               marginally             qualified,                but     who are

      from      States           in        arrears           (having         fewer             appointments               than     their           allocated
      quotas)          receive              consideration                   for        headquarters                 employment             before

      exceptionally                   well-qual5fied                     applicants                   from    States         in    excess             of    their

      quotas,              As I mentioned                     earlier,             the         apportionment               requirment                 does

      not     apply         to veterans.                      Since         our        veteran          population               is mostly             male,

      the     exemption                of veterans               has meant                that         the    burden         of    apportionment

      falls         most        heavily          on qualified                     women applicants.



                                                                                   -4-
               To determine                  the      effects          of     apportionment                   on the          opportunities

      of     women to            obtain        appointments                 to    headquarters                 positions             in     the
- -
      Washington,               D.d.       area,          we reviewed             CSC apportioned                     job      registers.

      Our review            showed           that         increased           employment             opportunities                   existed

      for     women if            apportionment                   was not         a .factor          in       ranking          applicants

      on registers.

               For      example,             on the             apportioned           accounting                clerk         register

      (M-4)        265 eligibles                     had certifiable                  ratings.                With       apportionment

      considered,                44 (17%)            of    the       265 eligibles   were women.                               By
                                                                    _- ..-         :
      excluding           apportionment,                        there    were 74 women eligibles                               available

      .for    certification,                       By eliminating                 apportionment,                     the      representation

      of women within                     certification                range         on the         register               increased

      68 percent.

               A second            way we determined                        the      impact         of    apportionment                   on women

      was to       calculate               the       number         of positions              a woman would                    advance            on

      a register            if      apportionment                   was not          considered                in    ranking         applicants.

      The registers                 reviewed              indicated           that     the       job      opportunities                   for      women

      .and the        overall             qual-ity         of      applicants          certified                to     fill      departmental

      positions           would           improve          if      apportionment              did        not        affect       register

      ranking.

               For      example:

               --On       the       PACE (Professional                        and Administrative                           Career        Examination)

                     register          .116 non-veteran                     women from’states                        in excess            of      their

                     apportioned                 quotas          had perfect           scores            of     100 in         the       PACE

                     examination.

                                                                            -5-
            However I the           first                   of       these                    women ranked                                  16,606                    with

            apportionment                   used            as a ranking                                     factor.                      Excluding                         only

            apportionment,                   the            first                  woman would                                have                 held              position

            432      on the      register.                           CSC officials                                           stated                 that              since             PACE’S
                                       .-      --    ---     --      ..-..    -_         .
                                                                                              --$.          .-.   ___-._-       --          ._-.            ---._.          .*_.._        .-   --.-_




            inception,           no non-veteran    eligible                                                                 from.&                 state              in             excess                 of
                                   ---    I_-----_
            its      quota      has ever been certified                                                              to       fill                 an apportioned

            PACE positton                   regardless                              of         accomplishment                                       in      the             PACE

            examination.

        --On       the    accounting                   clerk                       (B-4)                register                           three            women from
                                                                   -_ -_
            states        in    excess              of            their                 apportioned                              quotas                   were                in       register

            positions           479,         480,                 and 481,                           with            apportionment                                    and veteranss

            preference           used          as ranking                                    factors.                         Excluding                              only             apportion-

            ment,        they    ranked                l?th,                  18th,                   and 19th.

         Federal         agencies            and CSC support                                            repeal                       of     the            apportionment

requirement.              Agencies             and CSC object                                           to            apportionment                                   because                          of    its

adverse         effect       on the          merit                 system                        and the                     achievement                               of            equal

employment           opportunity                objectives                                   and because                              it           is      outmoded,

-ineffective,            and cumbersome                             to administer.

         CSC officials              are         also                concerned                           that                 apportionment                                   prompts

agencies          to misrepresent                          their               personnel                              actions                      in efforts                           to avoid

using      apportioned           registers.                                  A CSC official                                          stated                that                in       1976,

there      was      an increase              in            agency                   requests                           for           PACE certificates                                                 to        fill



                                                                                    -        6 -
    field      service         vacancies        in the Washington                     metropolitan               area      while
    requests       for     PACE certificates                    for     headquarters               positions           decreased.
    The official            indicated          that      agencies            may have improperly                      classified
    many positions               as fie1.d      service           in order          to avoid             apportioned          registers
    and thereby           obtain       certificates              with        higher        rated         eligibles.
              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 decl.ination                  rate         runs     as high        as 80
    percent       among PACE eligibles                        from     distant        States            in arrears         of their
    apportionment              quotas.         Consequently,                 an agency            needing        quickly       to fill
    a position           hesitates          to use a certificate                      from        an apportioned              register.
    Agencies       are      increasingly              reluctant           to use apportioned                     registers          if
    they      intend      to     interview        applicants              before       making            a selection.
    Applicants           from     distant       States          in arr’ears           often        cannot        or will       not
    pay expenses            to Washington               for     an interview.




                                                                     - 7 -
  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 quotas                         that     do not take        into   consid-
  eration       the relative        qualifications                   of applicants           in CSC examinations.
_ Apportionment          has not achieved--its                  purpose            of distributing         Federal
  headquarters        jobs     on the basis           of population                  among the States,             territorie
  and the District           of Columbia.             The nationwide                    competitive      examinations
  and rotation        policies       of agencies,               to a large              extent,      have probably
  served     the original          purpose       of the appor-tionment                      requirement.
  RECOMMENDATION
               TO THE CONGRESS
           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 S. 386, S. 865, or.&                    1133.              :’




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