oversight

Personnel Practices: Questionable Personnel Practices at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-01-23.

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

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                        PERSONNEL
                        PRACTICES
                       Questionable Personnel
                       Practices at the US.
                       Fish and W ildlife
                       Service /
                   United States
G&O                General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   General Goverument Division

                   B-236438
                   January 23,199O
                   The Honorable Gerry E. Studds
                   Chairman, Subcommittee on Fisheries and
                     Wildlife Conservation and the
                     Environment
                   Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries
                   House of Representatives
                   Dear Mr. Chairman:
                   This report responds to your March 28,1989, request to review the per-
                   sonnel policies and actions of the former director of the Department of
                   the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The former director, Frank
                   H. Dunkle, held office from May 7, 1986, to March 15, 1989. You
                   requested this information to determine which personnel policies and
                   practices the Subcommittee should encourageor not encouragethe new
                   FWSdirector to continue.
                   In March 1989, Mr. Dunkle was reassigned from the post of FWS director
                   to another position within WS. The reassignment followed a controversy
                   surrounding Mr. Dunkle’s removal of the Portland, Oregon, regional
                   director and reassignment of the Portland director’s two assistants. The
                   removal prompted 20 Members of Congressto write the Secretary of the
                   Interior in November 1988 questioning whether a pattern of personnel
                   changesat FWS reflected improved management principles or wide-scale
                   politicization that could damage FWS’ability to review objectively the
                   impacts of proposed federal actions on fish and wildlife.
                   You asked us to compare the number of special assistant, confidential
                   assistant, and senior executive positions created during Mr. Dunkle’s
                   tenure with the numbers of such positions created during his recent
                   predecessors’tenures. You asked us to determine the purposes and costs
                   of the new positions and the contributions made by the incumbents to
                   FWS’ mission. Lastly, you asked us to determine, if possible, whether the
                   new positions contributed to or detracted from the efficiency, effective-
                   ness, and professionalism of FWS.

                   We identified 72 positions that were created during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure.
Results in Brief   Of the 72, 31 were special/confidential assistant and senior executive
              u
                   positions, more than twice the number of such positions created by his
                   immediate predecessor.



                   Page 1                                       GAO/GGD-9043   Personnel   Practices
             We have the following concernsin connection with 22 of the 72 posi-
             tions: the propriety of assigning 2 senior executives to nonfederal orga-
             nizations; the need for 2 special assistant-to-the-director positions and
             12 senior biologist positions; inaccurate descriptions of 3 positions that
             had been occupied for up to 10 months; and the supervisory relation-
             ships of 2 special assistant positions. In addition, we have concerns
             about the authority used to appoint Mr. Dunkle to his next FWSposition.
             Twenty-one of these 22 positions were still occupied at the time we did
             our work and FWS was paying about $1.6 million annually in salary and
             related benefits for these 21 positions.
             The remaining 60 positions resulted primarily from FWSreorganizations,
             The establishment of these positions, which we do not question, gener-
             ally did not change the basic responsibilities, reporting relationships,
             and locations of positions that existed before Mr. Dunkle’s term.
             Sixteen of the 27 FWS executives and managersthat we interviewed
             expressedconcerns about Mr. Dunkle’s managementpractices. Their
             concerns included such things as the motives for creating positions and
             the lack of sufficient consideration to the impact of personnel actions on
             people and FWSbudget. Six others gave both negative and positive com-
             ments. The remaining five believed that, overall, the changesMr. Dunkle
             made were good and improved FWS.

             Interior agreed with some of our recommendationsbut disagreed with
             those concerning its use of certain appointment authorities, Since the
             Department’s commentsindicate that it does not plan to discontinue the
             related practices that we found questionable or inappropriate, Congress
             may wish to intercede.

             FWSmission is to conserve, enhance,and protect fish and wildlife and
Background   their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. As part
             of this mission, FWSmust determine whether fish, wildlife, and plant
             speciesare endangeredand if so take action to return endangeredspe-
             cies to health, a function requiring FWSexecutives and managersto deal
             with politically sensitive and controversial natural resource issues,’FWS’
             mission is carried out by, as of August lQ89,24 senior executives and
             about 7,700 other employeesworking from a national office, seven
             *Weissueda report on one of thoseissues.ENDANGEREDSPECIES:SpottedOwl Petition Evaluation
             Besetb Problems(GAO/RCED-89-79,Feb.21 1BSB).We found severalfactors that raisedques-
             Z              thoroughnessand objectivity h consideringthe petition to designatethe spottedowl
             as an endangeredspecies.



             Page 2                                                    GAO/GGD-904 Personnel Practices
           regional offices, a regional research office, and a variety of field instal-
           lations, such as fish hatcheries and wildlife refuges. (Seeapp. I for FWS’
           organization chart.)
           FWS  is headed by a director who is under the supervision of the Assis-
           tant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. The direc-
           tor has authority to establish new positions and, for positions up to
           certain levels of responsibility or grade, to approve appointments2 The
           director must obtain the assistant secretary’s approval for making
           appointments to certain positions such as deputy director, assistant
           director, and regional director.
           Certain positions and appointments require approval beyond the direc-
           tor and assistant secretary. For example, the federal senior executive
           service (SES) began operating in July 1979 and its members act as the
           government’s general managers.Interior’s Executive ResourcesBoard
           must approve SESpositions and appointments. A Qualifications Review
           Board convened by the Office of PersonnelManagement(OPM) must
           approve the managerial qualifications of persons before they are first
           appointed to career SESpositions. OPM must also approve certain other
           positions, such as those excepted from the competitive service.

           To answer the Subcommittee’squestions on positions created during Mr.
Approach   Dunkle’s tenure, we (1) obtained reports from Interior and OPM to iden-
           tify newly created positions; (2) analyzed position descriptions and sup-
           porting justifications to determine purposes of the positions; and (3)
           obtained salary costs from requests for, and notifications of, personnel
           action and relocation costs from travel records.
           Much of the information we gathered on Mr. Dunkle’s personnel prac-
           tices was obtained through interviews with FWS officials in Washington
           and three FWSregions- Boston, Denver, and Portland. The 27 officials
           interviewed were among the top officials at the four locations and had
           supervisory responsibility for the positions created during Mr. Dunkle’s
           tenure or for related positions. We also interviewed Mr. Dunkle. Appen-
           dix VI contains more information on our objectives, scope,and
           methodology.



           2Approvalof a position itself comesfrom FWS’personneloffice, which puts the proposedposition
           through a classificationreview processto determinethe proper grade/pay for the duties described.



           Page 3                                                      GAO/GGD-99-43    Personnel   Practices
                           B-236438




                           Of the 72 positions (listed in app. II) created during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure,
Nhnber of Special and      13 were special and confidential assistants to the director. In contrast,
Cnfidential                one of Mr. Dunkle’s predecessors(Mr. Robert Jantzen) created 3 such
Absistants                 positions and the other (Mr. Lynn A. Greenwalt), for approximately the
                           last 6 years of his tenure, created none. Data were unavailable for the
                           approximately first 2-l/2 years (October 1973 through February 1976)
                           of Mr. Greenwalt’s tenure.

                           We estimate that the salary, fringe benefits, and relocation costs related
                           to the 13 positions totaled about $1.1 million during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure.
                           Appendix III compares the special and confidential assistant positions,
                           as well as SES positions, created under Mr. Dunkle and his two predeces-
                           sors for the periods that data were available.

                           Most of the 72 positions created during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure resulted
Mbst Positions Created     from FWSreorganizations. The establishment of these positions generally
far Reorganization         did not change the basic responsibilities, reporting relationships, and
Pqrposes                   locations of positions that were in existence before Mr. Dunkle’s term.
                           For example, 14 of the positions resulted from a reorganization of FWS'
                           national office, announcedin May 1986 and supported by an earlier FWS
                           study. The reorganization was generally viewed with favor by the FWS
                           officials we interviewed. Appendix IV briefly describes FWS’   purposes
                           for creating the 43 positions that we do not question.3

                           We have various concerns about 22 positions. Our concerns are summa-
Uncertain Need for         rized below and are discussedin more detail in appendix V.
and Propriety of Some
Personnel Actions

Questionable Assignments   Two FWS senior executives were assignedtemporarily to nonfederal
to: Nonfederal             organizations during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure, and we question the propriety
                           of the two assignments.Mr. Dunkle made one of the assignmentsafter
Organizations              requesting, but not obtaining, Interior’s required approval for a detail


           Y
                           3Althoughwe identified 72 positionsfor review, we have no opinion on 7 of the positions.We did not
                           review them in detail becausethey were vacatedbeforeJune 1989.



                           Page 4                                                      GAO/GGD-90-43     Personnel   Practices
                   and without the controls and protections set forth in the Intergovern-
                   mental PersonnelAct of 1970 (IPA), its implementing regulations, and
                   OPM guidance. In addition, the appropriation act for Interior during the
                   period of this assignmentspecifically prohibited Interior from using
                   funds to detail employeesunless the detail was in accordancewith OPM
                   regulations. Therefore, FWSappropriations should not have been used to
                   pay the executive’s salary and benefits (estimated to have totaled
                   $96,200) during the approximately l-year assignmentwith the Ameri-
                   can Fisheries Society in Bethesda,MD.

                   The other assignmentis questionable because,contrary to OPM guidance,
                   (1) several top-level officials said that the assignmentmight have been
                   made in anticipation of retirement and (2) justification for paying 100
                   percent of the executive’s salary, fringe benefits, and relocation costs
                   was not provided in the assignmentagreement.The executive’s 2-year
                   assignmentwith the Alabama Chapter of the Coastal Conservation
                   Association in Mobile, AL, is to run through August 1990. We estimate
                   that, through August 1989, the salary and fringe benefit costs had
                   totaled $101,800. FWSpaid $13,000 to relocate the executive.


Questionable SES   In March 1989, Mr. Dunkle was reassignedfrom the position of FWS
Appointment        director to the position of Director of the Fort Collins ResearchCenter in
                   Colorado. Mr. Dunkle’s reassignmentwas made under SESlimited emer-
                   gency appointment authority, which may be used to satisfy a bona fide,
                   unanticipated, urgent need of an agency to fill a position.”OPM approved
                   the appointment. In our opinion, the justification supporting the
                   appointment does not sufficiently identify the events creating a bona
                   fide, unanticipated, urgent need for this appointment. Therefore, we
                   question whether Mr. Dunkle’s appointment meets the statutory
                   requirements for such appointments.
                   ResponsibleOPM officials told us that OPM had also approved these types
                   of appointments in other situations to help accommodatedeparting
                   political appointees during presidential transitions. Given OPM’S
                   acknowledgementof the practice, we saw no need to determine the
                   extent to which it has occurred.

                   4This act, as amended(codified at 6 U.S.C.3371-3376)authorizesfederal agenciesto assignemploy-
                   eestemporarily to eligiblenonfederalorganizationsfor work of mutual concernand benefit. The act
                   also authorizesfederal agenciesto arrangefor theseassignmentswith or without reimbursementand
                   providesvarious protectionsfor federal employees.
                   “See
                    - 6 USC. 3132(a)(6)(1982).


                   Page 5                                                    GAO/GGD-96-43Personnel Practices
                                                 -
                             B285438




Need for Certain Special     As of August 1989, two senior executives occupied special assistant
A$sistant Positions          positions (one for fisheries and the other for contaminants) at FWS which
                             we believe are questionable and need to be reevaluated. We reviewed the
Q$estioned                   assistants’position descriptions and related documentation, and we
  (                          obtained the views of five top officials in FWS’national office on the
                             need for the two positions. The five officials were the acting director,
                             who had been Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wild-
  I                          life and Parks since January 1986; the deputy director-line;6 and the
                             three assistant directors having responsibility for directing Service
                             activities.
                             On the basis of our review of the documentation supporting the estab-
                             lishment of the positions and commentsmade by the above officials, it is
                             unclear whether these positions are needed.Accordingly, we believe
                             they need to be reevaluated. It is also unclear how the duties and
                             responsibilities of the special assistant for contaminants position relate
                             to other FWS positions. If this position is continued, we believe its rela-
                             tionship to other FWSpositions needs to be clarified.


Undefined and Incorrectly    Although three employeeshad been assignedto newly created positions
Defined Regional Positions   up to 10 months, their duties and responsibilities were still unsettled as
                             of August 1989. As such, the official description for each position was
                             inaccurate. We recognizethat position descriptions may not always be
                             up to date, but we believe they should be as current as possible. Accu-
                             rate descriptions are needed for, among other purposes, establishing an
                             employee’sgrade and pay. For the three positions in question, signifi-
                             cant discrepancieshad existed for long periods of time between the
                             incumbents’position descriptions and the jobs they were doing and their
                             reporting relationships.
                             In addition to these three positions, in August 1988, Mr. Dunkle directed
                             the regional offices to create new senior biologist positions to place cer-
                             tain incumbents whose positions as zone supervisors were being abol-
                             ished as a result of a regional reorganization. In light of this purpose for
                             creating the senior biologist positions, together with FWSsupervisory
                             officials’ varied views and usesof the position, we believe the 12 posi-
                             tions that were created require examination as to whether they should
                             continue and, if so, what the duties and responsibilities should be.


                             “FWS also has a deputy director-staff position.However,the official in that position was assignedin
                             January 1989,after the specialassistantpositionswere created.



                             Page 0                                                       GAO/GGD-9043      Personnel   Practices
                            B-236438




CerUainSchedule C           During Mr. Dunkle’s tenure, OPM approved ScheduleC positions7of
    rvisory Relationships   assistants to the FWSdirector based on close and confidential working
                            relationships between key officials and the assistants. OPM guidance says
                            that ScheduleC appointees may not report to or through officials in the
                            competitive service and that a close and confidential relationship will
                            not exist unless the appointees are subject to the immediate supervision
                            of a key official. The guidance also states that OPM must approve, in
                            advance, changesin the approved reporting relationships.
                            Available documentation shows that two assistants were organization-
                            ally assignedto the director’s immediate office and that he or his deputy
                            signed their performance appraisals. However, according to the Assis-
                            tant Director for External Affairs, who is responsible for the Office of
                            Legislative Services, a GM-15 career employee in the federal competitive
                            service provided the daily supervision for the two assistants for sub-
                            stantial periods of time. He added, however, that the director assigned
                            them projects and they reported to the director. Both special assistants
                            confirmed that they had worked in the legislative services area. Given
                            the nature of these daily supervisory relationships, we question whether
                            FWScomplied with the OPM guidance mentioned above.

                            Another ScheduleC position was authorized before Mr. Dunkle’s tenure
                            and, according to an FWS official, was still occupied in August 1989. OPM
                            authorized the position as confidential assistant to the FWS director in
                            January 1986. However, the incumbent said his duties included working
                            at the White House and, since January 1989, for an Interior assistant
                            secretary. We believe that the assignment of duties and the supervisory
                            relationship for the above assistant was contrary to OPM’S authorization
                            of the position for the periods mentioned.

                            At FWS’national office and Boston, Denver, and Portland regional
Ch@ngesAffected             offices, we interviewed 27 officials-the acting director (a political
Mahy FWS Top-Level          appointee), 14 senior executives (SESpositions), and 12 deputy, assis-
Officials Negatively        tant, and associateregional directors (GM-16 and GM-14 positions). We
                            held these interviews with FWS’  top-level officials to obtain views on
                            managementpractices followed during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure as FWS direc-
                            tor, and whether those practices contributed to or detracted from FWS’
                            efficiency, effectiveness, and professionalism.


                            7ScheduleC positionsare exceptedfrom the competitiveservice and can be designatedas such only
                            with OPM’sapproval.



                            Page 7                                                    GAO/GGD-90-43    Personnel   Practices
B-235438




Officials gave both positive and negative comments.They generally
believed that changes,such as the reorganization of FWSnational office,
were positive. However, many officials had a different view regarding
Mr. Dunkle’s managementpractices. The commentsmade by 16 officials
were negative, and 6 others had both negative and positive comments.
The comments made by 5 officials about Mr. Dunkle’s practices were
positive. In general, the negative commentsindicated an overall concern
about the motives for creating positions and the lack of sufficient con-
sideration to the impact of personnel actions on people and FWS’  budget.
Senior executives and other officials we interviewed pointed to specific
caseswhere they believed positions had been created for questionable
purposes. One example cited was the situation in the Portland office
where, within 1 week, Mr. Dunkle reassignedthe regional director and
his two assistant regional directors to newly created positions, all of
which were included in the 22 positions that were of concern to us. The
regional director was eventually removed becausehe refused assign-
ment to a newly created position. The regional director claimed his reas-
signment and removal were in reprisal for certain of his actions in
carrying out FWS’ mission. Mr. Dunkle denied this claim and said the
regional director was reassignedto the new position, special assistant
for contaminants, on the basis of his related experience.*
Another example involved the Boston office where Mr. Dunkle reas-
signed the regional director and his deputy regional director on the same
date. The former director and deputy director were both reassigned
from those positions to newly created positions. One of these new posi-
tions, special assistant for fisheries, now occupied by the former
regional director, was included in the 22 positions that were of concern
to us. This position also concernedcertain top-level FWSofficials. We did
not have a concern with the other newly created position, Associate
Regional Director, ChesapeakeBay Program.

There also was a concern that the Dunkle directorship may have harmed
FWS’ effort to attract well-qualified people to the SFS. This concern
appears to have resulted from FWS’    reassignmentsof senior executives
during the Dunkle years. Fifteen of FWS’  24 senior executives were reas-
signed a total of 20 times during that period of 34 months. Of the 20,9

RTheformer regionaldirector filed an appealwith the Merit SystemsProtectionBoard regardinghis
removalon January 31,1989. Beforethe Board’sscheduledhearing,Interior and the official reached
a settlement.Amongother terms of the settlement,Interior agreedto reinstatethe official with back
pay from January 13 to May 1,1989, and the former regionaldirector agreedto withdraw his appeal
and resignon May 1, 1989.



Page 8                                                     GAO/GGD-90-43Personnel Practices
                       B-236433




                       were reassignmentsto existing SE.3   positions, 5 were reassignmentsto
                       new SESpositions, and 6 were reassignmentsto new positions created as
                       a result of the national office reorganization.


                       The head of an agency requires leeway in organizing work, creating
Co#lusions             positions, and appointing people to them. However, in doing so, the
                       agency head is obligated to comply with pertinent requirements, and to
   I                   ensure that others under his or her supervision do so as well. This
                       includes ensuring that created positions fit the needs of the organization
                       and that the positions are properly defined. The duties and proper pay
                       of a position should not be decided many months after the position is
                       filled. The duties and supervisory relationships for ScheduleC appoin-
                       tees should conform to OPM’S authorization of the positions. In addition,
                       an agency head must not exceedthe authority of his or her position in
                       assigning personnel. It appears that Mr. Dunkle did not always comply
                       with these requirements. Moreover, according to perceptions of most
                       top-level FWS officials, Mr. Dunkle did not create an environment in
                       which employeesbelieved that certain positions were created and filled
                       to improve the organization.

                       OPM’S authority   to approve limited emergency appointments and Sched-
                       ule C positions serves as a control on their use by federal agencies.How-
                       ever, it is uncertain whether OPM properly exercised this control when it
                       approved Mr. Dunkle’s limited emergencyappointment. Further, we do
                       not believe agencies’use of this appointment authority is appropriate to
                       accommodatedeparting political appointees, as OPM officials indicate
                       has been done. In addition, on the basis of testimonial evidence we gath-
                       ered, Interior and FWScircumvented OPM’S control over ScheduleC posi-
                       tions by assigning ScheduleC appointees duties and establishing
                       supervisory relationships other than those approved by OPM for the
                       positions.


                       We recommendthat (1) the Secretary of the Interior ensure that the
Rekommendations to     assignmentof the senior executive to the Coastal Conversation Associa-
the Secretary of the   tion in Alabama, including arrangements for sharing salary and benefit
Interior               costs, and similar assignmentsmade in the future conform with the IPA
                       and related OPM regulations and guidance. In addition, we recommend
             ”         that (2) the Secretary, under IPA guidance, determine what portion of
                       the salary and benefit costs should have been assumedby the American
                       Fisheries Society for the assignmentof the senior executive to the Soci-
                       ety and recoup such costs from the Society. We also recommendthat the


                       Page 9                                       GAO/GGD-9943Personnel Practices
                      B-235438




                      Secretary instruct the Director of FWSto (3) review existing special
                      assistant positions to determine whether they are necessaryto accom-
                      plish FWS’ mission and, if so, are defined properly; (4) ensure that the
                      actual duties and responsibilities of the positions and approved descrip-
                      tions agree; (6) determine whether the regional senior biologist positions
                      make the best use of FWS’  resources;and (6) ensure that ScheduleC
                      appointees’supervisory relationships are the same as those approved by
                      OPM. Finally, when changesin the supervisory relationships of Schedule
                      C appointees must be made, we recommendthat (7) as required in OPM
                      guidance, the Secretary instruct the Director to request approval from
                      OPM.

  I
                      We recommendthat the Director, OPM, ensure that limited emergency
Rebommendation to     appointment authority is used to meet agencies’bona fide, unantici-
the Director, OPM     pated, urgent needs for filling positions. Further, OPM should ensure that
                      such appointments are not used to accommodatedeparting political
                      appointees,

                      We obtained official comments from Interior and OPM on a draft of this
Agency Comments and   report. Interior did not share our concerns and the concernsexpressed
Our Evaluation        by various top-level FWS officials regarding Mr. Dunkle’s management
                      practices. After reviewing the positions in question, Interior did not
                      believe any further action was neededon our four recommendations
                      concerning (1) the assignmentof a senior executive to the Coastal Con-
                      servation Association; (2) the assignmentof a senior executive to the
                      American Fisheries Society; (3) the development of accurate position
                      descriptions for three officials; and (4) the supervisory relationships of
                      ScheduleC employees.Interior did agree to take action on the other
                      three recommendations.
                      We believe that additional action is needed on all seven recommenda-
                      tions to address those positions that we questioned and to ensure that
                      relevant personnel laws, regulations, and guidance are followed in the
                      future. We disagree with Interior’s position that 16 USC. 661 and
                      742f(a)(4) provided authority for the assignmentof a senior executive
                      to a nonfederal organization for approximately 1 year. These provisions
                      provide Interior with general authority to carry out its mission, includ-
                      ing assisting and cooperating with other organizations, but we do not
                      believe they provide authority for detailing employeesto work at pri-
                      vate organizations for extended periods of time. Rather, we believe that
                      the IPA provides the authority for such assignments.


                      Page 10                                       GAO/GGD-0043   Personnel   Practicee
In addition, Interior emphasizedthat OPM's guidance permitted flexibil-
ity regarding reimbursement for assignmentsunder the IPA. While OPM's
guidance recognizesthat there will be instances where reimbursement
may be based on factors other than the relative benefits each organiza-
tion will receive from the assignment,it further provides that such
instances should be rare and must be explained in the assignmentagree-
ment. Finally, Interior said that the two ScheduleC assistants received
performance ratings from the director or his deputy. Interior also said
that ScheduleC employeesare organizationally assignedto the direc-
tor’s immediate office and receive their general assignmentsfrom the
director. However, on the basis of testimonial evidence we gathered, it
appears that the two ScheduleC appointees were supervised daily by a
GM-16 career employeein the competitive service for significant periods
of time.
OPM said that  the limited emergencyappointment of Mr. Dunkle to the
Fort Collins position appeared valid becausea bona fide emergencymay
be based upon whether an organization can function effectively for a
period of time without a particular position. However, Interior did not
identify the events creating an emergency.We are also troubled by com-
ments made by OPM that the limited emergencyappointment authority
had been used to accommodatedeparting political appointees during the
presidential transition. We believe that this use of the authority is ques-
tionable unless the facts indicate that an emergencyexists. Thus, in light
of OPM'S comments, we revised our recommendationto ensure that use of
the authority is limited to bona fide, unanticipated, urgent needsof
agencies.We discussedour revised recommendationwith OPM officials;
they said they had no objection to it.
We also received written commentsfrom the former director of FWS.In
general, Mr. Dunkle said that his managementpractices and specific per-
sonnel actions were under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary for
Fish and Wildlife and Parks and that he had legal authority for the
actions taken, He emphasizedthe need for and the positive impact of his
actions in 1986 to reorganize the FWSnational office.
Although we generally agree with Mr. Dunkle that most of his personnel
actions were legal and within his discretion as an agency head, we do
not agree that the assignmentof a senior executive to a nonfederal
organization received required Interior approval. In addition, the assign-
ment was made without the controls and protections set forth in the IPA,




Page 11                                       GAO/GGD-90-43   Personnel Practices
                 B236438




                 its implementing regulations, and OPM guidance. Also, we question cer-
                 tain assignmentsof ScheduleC political appointees who were super-
                 vised daily by a career employee. We do agree with Mr. Dunkle that the
                 1986 FWSnational office reorganization was a significant change that
                 was generally well received in FWS.
                 The full text of Interior’s, OPM’S and Mr. Dunkle’s comments on all of our
                 findings and recommendations,along with our evaluation, are included
                 in appendixes VII, VIII, and IX.
  ,
  I
                 Interior cited 16 USC. 661 and 742f(a)(4) as authority for assigning a
M tters for      senior executive to a nonfederal organization for approximately 1 year.
C,”ngressional   These statutory provisions give Interior general authority to protect fish
Cdnsideration    and wildlife, including assisting and cooperating with other organiza-
                 tions, but we do not believe these provisions should be used, in place of
                 the IPA, to detail employees to nonfederal organizations for extended
                 periods of time. Rather, we believe that the assignment should have
                 been made under the IPA and that FWSshould have followed the IPA and
                 implementing OPM regulations and guidance for the assignment.

                 Interior’s comments indicate that it does not plan to change its practices
                 regarding the use of the above authorities for assignmentsto nonfederal
                 organizations and regarding the ScheduleC and limited emergency
                 appointment authorities which we also found questionable or inappro-
                 priate. Thus, Congressmay wish to intercede. First, Congressmay wish
                 to amend 16 USC. 661 and 742f(a) (4) to clarify that use of these
                 authorities to assign employeesto outside organizations is inappropri-
                 ate. Second,the appropriate congressionalcommittees may wish to pur-
                 sue Interior’s use of these authorities and its use of ScheduleC and
                 limited emergency appointment authorities during appropriations and
                 oversight hearings.

                 As arranged with the Subcommittee, unless you publicly announcethe
                 contents of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30
                 days from the date of this letter. At that time we will send copies to the
                 Secretary of the Interior; the Director, FWS;the Director, OPM; the State
                 President of the Alabama Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Associa-
                 tion; the Executive Director of the American Fisheries Society; Mr.
                 Frank H. Dunkle, the former director, FWS;and to other parties upon
                 request. We will also send copies to the Chairmen of the Senate and
                 House Committees on Appropriations, the SenateCommittee on Energy


                 Page 12                                       GAO/GGD-9043   Personnel   practices
    B-235428




    and Natural Resources,and the House Committee on Merchant Marine
    and Fisheries.
    Pleasecontact me at 276-6074 if you or your staff have any questions
,   concerning the report. The major contributors to the report are listed in
    appendix X.
    Sincerely yours,




    Bernard L. Ungar
    Director, Federal Human Resource
      ManagementIssues




    Page 13                                      GAO/GGD-9043   Personnel   Practices
contents


  i

Letter                                                                 1

Appendix I                                                        16
U. US.Fish and Wildlife
Setvice Organization
Chart - August 1989
Appendix II
Li ‘t of Seventy-Two
F 4 S Positions
Selected for Review
Appendix III                                                      18
Comparison of
Special/Confidential
Assistant Positions of
Three Former FWS
Directors
Appendix IV
FWS’Purposes for
Creating Forty-Three
Positions
Appendix V
GAO Concerns
Regarding Twenty-
Two Newly Created
FWS Positions




                          Page 14   GAO/GGlMO-43 Personnel Practices
                          Contents




Apdendix VI                                                                                        29
Obj$ctives, Scope,and
Methodology
                                                                                                   32




Appendix VIII
ConkmentsFrom the
Office of Personnel
Management
Ap ‘endix IX
CO I%nents From the
Foriner Director of the
US Fish and W ildlife
Service
Appendix X
Major Contributors to
This Report
                          Table V. 1: Twenty-Two FWS Positions of Concern                          20




                          Abbreviations

                          FWS        U. S. Fish and W ildlife Service
             Y
                          IPA        Intergovernmental PersonnelAct of 1970
                          OPM        Office of PersonnelManagement
                          SIB        Senior Executive Service


                          Page 15                                    GAO/GGD-ftO-43 Pemonnel Practicem
Appendix I

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Organization
Chart - August 1989


    Special Assistant to the                                                                                                   Assistant Director
   ‘Director (Alaskan Issues)                                                                                                   External Affairs
                                t




                                                               Deputy Director (Line)
                                                                                            I




                                                            ;11
                                                               Deputy Director (Staff)




                                                                                  Assistant Director Fish 81
                                                                                   Wildlife Enhancement




                                    I
                                                        .
                                                                              /    Reeves                      1       hty         Assistant Director     1
                     Regional Director (Portland)
                   Regional Director (Albuquerque)
                    Regional Director (Twin Cities)
                      Regional Director (Atlanta)
                      Regional Director (Boston)
                     Regional Director (Denver)
                    Regional Director (Anchorage)                                 Deputy Regional Director
                                                                                                               I




                                                                                  Director for Technical &
                                                                                  Administrative Support




                                                  Note: The chart includes all 24 SES positions and the director’s position,




                                                  Page 16                                                           GAO/GGD-9043         Personnel      Practices
Appebdix II

Liz/kof Seventy-Two FWS Positions Selected
for Review

                                                                                                                    Date
               Title                                         Number          Grade Location                    approved
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1      ES-05      Gainesville, FL          May 1988
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1       ES-05     Washington, DC           Apr. 1987
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1      ES-04      Washington, DC           July 1988
               Soecial Assistant to the Director                     1       ES-03     Lakewood, CO             Mar. 1987
               Confidential Assistant                                1      GS-09      Washington, DC          Dec. 1986
               Confidential Assistant                                1      GS-11      Washington, DC          June 1986
               Confidential Assistant                                1      GS-11      Washinaton, DC          June 1986
               Confidential Assistant to the Director                1      GM-14      Washington, DC           Oct. 1986
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1      GM-14      Washington, DC           Oct. 1986
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1      GS-14      Washington, DC           May 1987
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1      GS-15      Washington, DC          June 1986
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1      GM- 15     Denver, CO               Jan. 1988
               Special Assistant to the Director                     1      GM-15      Washington, DC          Sept.1986
               Executive Director, North American                    1      ES-05      Minneapolis, MN         Nov. 1987
                    Waterfowl Management Plan
                    (NAWMP)
               Deputy Executive Director, NAWMP                      1      GM-15      Minneapolis, MN         Jan. 1988
               Deputy Director (Western Operations),                 1      GM-15      Portland, OR            Oct. 1988
                    NAWMP
               Director. Fort Collins Research Center                1       ES-04     Fort Collins, CO         Mar. 1989
               Research Director, Patuxent Wildlife                  1       ES-05     Laurel, MD              June 1987
                    Research Center
               Deputy Assistant Director, Fish and                   1       ES-04     Washington, DC          July 1986
                    Wildlife Enhancement
               Other Directorate Positions                          14      Various Washington, DC               Various
               Associate Regional Director,                          1      GM-15 Boston, MA                   July 1988
               _--.
                    Chesapeake
                            ’
                                   Bav~ Proaram
                                           -

               Program Officer                                       1      GM-15      Lakewood, CO            Apr. 1987
               Associate
               ---___         Regional Director                      1      GM-14      Portland, OR            Nov. 1988
               Associate Manaaer                                    24      GM-14      Various                   Various
               Senior Biologist                                     12      GM-l 3     Various
               Total Positions                                      72a
               aWe did not attempt to identify every position created during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure from May 7, 1986, to
               March 15, 1989. In keeping with the scope of our review, agreed to by the Subcommittee, we identified
               all special and confidential assistant positions and all newly created SES positions. We also identified
               certain other newly created positions at the GM 13-15 levels from our work at three regional offices. For
               two (associate manager and senior biologist) of the regional positions identified at these levels, FWS
               had created similar positions in four other regions, and these positions are included among the 72.
               Although we selected 72 positions, we did not review in detail 7 positions that were vacated before
               June 1989. These were special or confidential assistant to the director positions.




               Page 17                                                          GAO/GGD9043        Personnel    Practices
Apkndix III                                                                                                                    ,

C@mparisonof Special/Confidential Assistant
Pbitions of Three Former FWS Directors

                                                                                                 Position
                                                                                         Special/
                                                                                       confidential
                                                                                        assistants
                                                                                       Schedule           Other
                  Director                        Term of office’                       A and Cb SES SES                 Total
                  Frank H. Dunkle                 May 1986-Mar     1989                           9       4        18      31=
                  Robert Jantzen                  Nov 1981 -SeDt 1985                             3       0         8      11
                  Lynn A. Greenwalt               Ott   1973-Jan   1981                           Od      0         6e         6

                  aFor the periods of time not shown above, FWS was headed by acting directors.
                  bAt FWS, special and confidential assistant to the director positions are usually filled by Schedule C
                  appointees and SES members. In one instance this position was filled by a Schedule A appointee.
                  Schedule A exceptions from the competitive service are made when examinations are not practicable
                  and Schedule C exceptions are made because of the position’s policy-determining or confidential
                  character.

                  ‘Although 72 positions were established under Mr. Dunkle’s tenure, 41 positions are not shown above.
                  These 41 are regional positions at grades 13 through 15. They are excluded from the comparison
                  because comparable data were not available for the previous directors.

                  dLimited to the period March 1976 to January 1981. Data were not available for October 1973 through
                  February 1976.
                  eLimited to the period October 1978 to January 1981. GS-16 through GS-18 executive positions con-
                  verted to the SES in July 1979 are not included.




              Y




                  Page 18                                                          GAO/GGMO-43         Personnel   Practices
Appebdix IV

F’$W Purposes for Creating Forty-
Three Positions

               Number             Purpose
               14                 Senior executive positions were established in Washington, DC, as part of a
                                  national office reorganization in 1986. The reorganization involved a shift to
                                  a new management structure to permit FWS to more effectively address
                                  natural resource conservation and management issues in the field.
               24                 Associate manager positions were created in seven FWS re ions as part of
                                  a regional reorganization announced in 1988. The purpose o7 the
                                  reorganization was to eliminate a level of management and to place greater
                                  emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of assistant regional directors.
               2                  Positions of executive director and deputy executive director for the North
                                  American Waterfowl Management Plana were created in Minneapolis, MN, to
               *                  help implement an agreement on waterfowl conservation and management.
               1                  The position of research director, Patuxent Wildl!fe Research Center, in
                                  Lapel, MD, was established by upgrading an existing posrtron to the SES

               1                  The position of associate regional director was established in Boston, MA,
                                  to provide liaison with other federal and state agencies and with private
                                  organizations regarding FWS’ involvement in the Chesapeake Bay
                                  restoration proaram.
               1                  A special assistant to the director position was created primarily to handle
                                  the FWS national office reorganization mentioned above, and its
                                  subsequent realignment of roles and responsibilities in the headquarters
                                  office and in some regional offices.
               43b

               aThe North American Waterfowl Management Plan, signed by the Secretary of the Interior and the Minis-
               ter of Environment for Canada in May 1986, provides the framework for cooperative international efforts
               in waterfowl conservation and management.
               bin contrast to the 43 above positions, we have concerns in connection with 22 of the 72 positions. For 7
               positions, we have no opinion because we did not review them in detail. These were Schedule A and C
               special/confidential assistant positions vacated before June 1969.




               Page 19                                                         GAO/GGDM-43        Personnel   Pmcticee
Apdendix V                                                                                                                                      E

G&O Concerns Regarding Twenty-Two Newly
Created FWS Positions

                                                        We identified 72 positions that were created during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure.
                                                        Of these 72 positions, we have concerns in connection with 22, identified
                                                        in table V. 1 below and discussedin more detail later in this appendix.


Tabl V.l: Twenty-Two FWS Positions of Concern
                                                                   cost a
                                                           Annual salary/
                                               Grad8             benefits    Relocation   Problem noted


                                                ES-4                     b            0 Assignment of a senior executive from this position to
                                                                                         a nonfederal organization without Interior approval
                                                                                         was improper.
Speqial Assistant to the                        ES-5              $101,800      $13,000c Assignment of a senior executive from this position to
Direator for Alaskan Issues                                                              a nonfederal organization is not consistent with OPM
                                                                                         guidance on IPA assignments,
Senior Executive
Appplntment:
         _ ____
              I_. _. . .- ..-.---_-
Director, Fort Collins                          ES-4                99,000       10,000 Appointment of Mr. Dunkfe to this position using
Research Center                                                                         limited emergency appointment authority is
                                                                                        auestionable.
Questionable
- .-. :-- _...-..-.- Positions:
Special    Assistant to the           ---.      ES-5               101,800       34,000 Three of five key FWS officials questioned the content
Direqtor   for .._.__.
                Frsheries
                       -.-..~--...-I..--.-                                              of, or need for, this position.
Specral    Assistant to the                     ES-4                99,000            0 Position had been occupied since July 1988. FWS
Director    for Contaminants                                                            officials have conflicting opinions on the need for this
                                                                                        position and its relationship to existing Interior and
                                                                                        FWS positions.
                              ~--- ..__----
Program Cificer          -~                   GM-15                 96,300            0 Incumbent was assigned to this position in March
                                                                                        1989. The scope of duties for the position was
                                                                                        undefined as of August 1989.
                   .~ ..__--.~-._-
Deputy Director (Western                      GM-15                 87,200            0 Incumbent was assigned to position in October 1988.
Operations), North                                                                      Both the supervisor and incumbent believed the
American Waterfowl                                                                      approved position description required considerable
Management Plan                                                                         revision.
Associate Regional                            GM-14                 85,600            0 Incumbent was assigned to position in January 1989.
Director                                                                                In February 1989, an FWS evaluation team reported
                                                                                        that the position description needed to be rewritten to
                                                                                        reflect new duties because it did not contain sufficient
                                                                                        work assignments related to day -to-day activities.
                                                                                        Position description had not been amended as of
                                                                                        August 1989.
.--_ c _...- _.-_-__--
Sensor Biologist (12                          GM-13                795,400            0 Positions created to accommodate employees whose
positions)                                     GS-1 5                                      ositions were abolished during a reorganization.
                                                                                        I: hree of 7 supervisors questioned the prescribed
                                                                                        duties for 6 of the 12 positions.
                                                                                                                                       (continued)




                                                        Page 20                                              GAO/ND-9043      Personnel Practices
                                       GAO Concerns bgarding         Twenty-Two Newly
                                       Created mm Positiona




                                                   cost I3
                                           Annual salary/
Posit/on ---__-- ..- -.___
---+-                          Grade             benefits           Relocation      Problem noted
Questionable
~:E~~~Yp.-
-.--.--.,k..-.----L           --
Spec al Assistsnt    to the   GM-14                  132,600                      0 Supervisory relationships    for Schedule C appointees
Direc(or
      I     (2 posmons)                                                             were not clear and therefore may not have been
                                                                                    consistent with OPM’s position authorizations     for
                                                                                    significant periods of time.
Tati,J--~----.--~.
                                                $1.598.700              $57.000

                                       aExcept for one position no longer authorized, we calculated these costs using 1989 salary rates and
                                       cost factors for retirement, insurance, Medicare, and other benefits as shown in Office of Management
                                       and Budget Circular No. A-76. FWS supplied data showing relocation costs (real estate expenses,
                                       travel, and transportation) for incumbents who moved to new permanent duty stations to accept newly
                                       created positions.

                                       bThis position is no longer authorized and therefore we did not include the estimated salary and benefit
                                       costs in the total. On the basis of salary and benefit rates in effect at the beginning of the l-year assign-
                                       ment, we estimate these costs totaled about $95,200. All other positions were still authorized and filled
                                       as of August 1939.
                                       cln addition to the relocation cost for the special assistant’s IPA assignment in Mobile, Alabama,
                                       $13,000, FWS paid for his relocation from Alaska to Washington, D. C. According to FWS, the cost of
                                       this relocation totaled $79,000.




Questionable Assj ,gnments             The IPA authorizes federal agenciesto assign employeestemporarily to
to Nonfederal                          eligible nonfederal organizations for work of mutual concern and bene-
                                       fit. The act also allows federal agenciesto arrange for these assignments
Organizations                          with or without reimbursement and provides various protections for
                                       federal employees regarding pay, tenure, and position while on IPA
                                       assignments,l Guidance in OPM’S Federal Personnel Manual says that cost
                                       sharing between the federal agency and the nonfederal organization
                                       should be consistent with the relative benefits that each organization
                                       expects to accrue and that the borrowing organization is usually the
                                       principal beneficiary of the assignment.If factors other than, or in addi-
                                       tion to, relative benefits are used, the reasons must be clearly explained
                                       in the assignment agreement.2
                                       Deputy assistant director for fish and wildlife enhancement As required
                                       by Interior policy, Mr. Dunkle said that FWSrequested Interior’s
                                       approval of a Z-year IPA assignment for a senior executive, the deputy
                                       assistant director for fish and wildlife enhancement,to the American
                                       Fisheries Society. FWS officials gave us a proposed IPA assignment agree-
                                       ment that provided for the assignment as a detail and that the employee
                                       ‘Public Law 91-648,Jan. 6, 1971,84 Stat. 1909,as amended(codified at 6 USC. 3371-3376[1982]).
                                       2FederalPersonnelManual,Ch. 334, l-Le.(l) and (3) (Inst. 310, Dec.1, 1983).



                                       Page 21                                                            GAO/GGD-904 Personnel Practices
Appendix V
GAO Concerns Regarding   Twenty-Two   Newly
Created FWS Positions




had signed on August 19,1987. The agreement also provided for the
signatures of Mr. Dunkle and the Society’s executive director. However,
Mr. Dunkle said that Interior did not approve the request for the IPA
assignment; documentation was not available to explain why.
As shown in letters dated October 26, 1987, from Mr. Dunkle to the dep-
uty assistant director and the Society’s executive director, Mr. Dunkle
expanded the responsibilities of the executive’s existing position to
include functions that had been included in the proposed IPA assignment.
From about November 1987 through October 1988, the executive
worked full time at the Society’s offices in Bethesda, MD, and under the
Society’s supervision. The senior executive’s supervisors at FWSsaid
they had not assignedher any work while she was at the Society, and
her official position description did not mention any work at the Society.
FWSpaid all of her salary and benefit costs.

Mr. Dunkle, in essence,arranged an IPA-typedetail without the controls
and protections provided by the act, its implementing regulations, and
OPM guidance. Mr. Dunkle lacked the authority to unilaterally make this
assignment and, without Interior’s authorization of the assignment
under the IPA, FWSappropriations should not have been used to pay the
executive’s salary and benefits while she worked at the Society. The
costs for the salary and fringe benefits for the assignment totaled about
$95,200. There were no relocation costs involved with this assignment.
Special assistant for Alaskan issues The position was approved and fil-
led after the incumbent who had headed FWS’     regional office in Alaska
requested a transfer from that office. He was in the position of special
assistant to the FWSdirector from June 1987 to August 1988. According
to FWSofficials, the special assistant worked on Alaskan issues in Inte-
rior’s office of the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
In August 1988, after the Assistant Secretary in that office received
Interior’s approval in April 1988, the special assistant began a 2-year IPA
assignment with the Alabama Chapter of the Coastal Conservation
Association in Mobile, AL. OPM approved the Association as an eligible
IPA participant in January 1988.


The special assistant, who was about 6 years away from optional retire-
ment when the assignment was made, said that he arranged the IPA
assignment. Several top-level FWSofficials, including the acting director,
said the assignment was made in anticipation of the special assistant’s




Page 22                                       GAO/GGD99-43   Personnel   Practices
                   Appendix   V
                   GAO Concerns Regarding Twenty-Two        Newly
                   Created FWS Positioxw




                   retirement. OPM guidance says that the IPA program is not to be used to
                   assign employeesto places of anticipated retirement3
                   In addition, Interior acknowledged that the Association would share in
                   the benefits, but FWSis paying all salary and benefit costs. The assign-
                   ment agreement,however, did not indicate that any factors other than
                   relative benefits were used to determine how costs would be shared.
                   In light of the relationship of this assignment to top-level FWS officials’
                   comments about the senior executive’s retirement and OPM’S guidance on
                   sharing costs, we believe this assignment does not comply with IPA
                   requirements and question whether FWSappropriations should be used
                   to pay 100 percent of the executive’s salary and benefits. The costs for
                   the salaries and fringe benefits, and the relocation costs for the assign-
                   ment totaled about $114,800 as of August 1989.


Questionable SES   In March 1989, Mr. Dunkle was reassignedfrom the position of FWS
Appointment        director to the position of Director of the Fort Collins ResearchCenter in
                   Colorado. The Fort Collins director position had been upgraded to SW
                   level in July 1987. It was filled by a senior executive until May 1988,
                   when Mr. Dunkle assignedthe executive to a national office position.
                   From that date until March 1989, Interior and FWShad not attempted to
                   fill the Fort Collins position on a permanent basis, and during this
                   period, it had been filled by nine acting directors.
                   Mr. Dunkle’s reassignment was made under SESlimited emergency
                   appointment authority. Such appointments may be made to meet a bona
                   fide, unanticipated, urgent need; cannot exceed 18 months; and must be
                   approved in advance by OPM (6 U.S.C.3394 & 3132 (a)(6) [1982]). OPM
                   approved Mr. Dunkle’s limited emergency appointment. It did so on the
                   basis of Interior’s statement that becauseof rapidly changing events in
                   FWS,it could not anticipate the urgency and the immediate need to fill
                   the position. Other than this, FWS, Interior, and OPM were unable to
                   explain the basis for the limited emergency appointment in terms of a
                   bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. ResponsibleOPM officials told us
                   that OPM had also approved these types of appointments during presi-
                   dential transitions to accommodatedeparting political appointees.
                   In our opinion, the justification supporting the appointment does not
                   sufficiently identify the events creating a bona fide, unanticipated,
                   “Federal PersonnelManual,Ch. 334, l-4.f. (Inst. 310. Dec. 1, 1983).



                   Page 23                                                       GAO/GGD9043   Personnel   Practices
                          Appendix V
                          GAO Concerns Regarding      Twenty-Two   Newly
                          Created FWS Positions




                          urgent need for this appointment. Therefore, we question whether Mr.
                          Dunkle’s appointment meets the statutory requirements for such
                          appointments.


Nee for Certain Special   As of August 1989, two senior executives occupied special assistant
Assistant Positions       positions at FWS that we believe are questionable and need to be reevalu-
   B                      ated. We reviewed the assistants’position descriptions and related docu-
Questioned                mentation and obtained the views of five top officials in FWS’  national
    I                     office on the need for the two positions. The five officials were the act-
                          ing director, who had been Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for
                          Fish and Wildlife and Parks since January 1986; the deputy director-
                          line;4and the three assistant directors having responsibility for directing
                          Service activities.
                          Special assistant for fisheries According to the position description, the
                          assistant’s major duties are to represent the director at meetings held by
                          fisheries committees and organizations; prepare fisheries management
                          plans and regulations; and advise the FWS director and Interior officials
                          on national fisheries policies, programs, and procedures. The incumbent
                          was eligible for retirement when reassignedto the position, shortly after
                          it was approved. He is stationed at an FVSfacility in Gainesville, FL, a
                          location he selected.
                          FWS  officials said the special assistant serves on various fisheries com-
                          mittees and confers with FWSnational officials. They furnished all docu-
                          mentation they had available, which indicated that the special assistant
                          had attended five meetings held by fisheries organizations in about 10
                          months. One of the officials said the special assistant had not developed
                          plans and regulations mentioned in the position description. Although
                          stating that the position was needed,JYS’acting director said the posi-
                          tion neededgoals and accountability; the deputy director-line said the
                          position should be reevaluated; and the assistant director for fisheries
                          believed the duties could be handled through existing positions. The two
                          other FWSofficials did not know if the position was needed.
                          On the basis of our review of the documentation supporting the estab-
                          lishment of the position and the officials’ comments, it is unclear
                          whether this position is needed.Accordingly, we believe the position
                          needsto be reevaluated. The costs for the salaries and fringe benefits,

                          4FWSalso has a deputy director-staff position. However,the official in that position was assignedin
                          January 1989,after the specialassistantpositionswere created.



                          Page 24                                                      GAO/GGD-90-43     Personnel   Practices
                             Appedx   V
                             GAO Concerna Regarding   Twenty-Two   Newly
                             Created FWS Positions




                             and the relocation costs for the assignment totaled about $135,800 as of
                             August 1989.
                             Special assistant for contaminants In January 1989, Mr. Dunkle
                             removed the Portland regional director who had refused to accept
                             assignment to this position because,among other reasons given by the
                             regional director, it duplicated 46 existing Interior and FWS positions
                             that deal with the contaminant problem. A second executive, detailed to
                             the position that same month, said the position lacked sufficient respon-
                             sibilities to justify it. The incumbent also furnished documentation pre-
                             pared by various FWSofficials, including assistant directors and regional
                             directors, who said the position as described would overlap and conflict
                             with existing responsibilities of other FWS positions.
                             In interviews with us, the acting director and deputy director-line said
                             FWSneededthe position to deal with a contaminant problem. One assis-
                             tant director believed the duties and responsibilities of this position
                             could be handled through other existing FWSpositions. Although two
                             assistant directors were unsure of the need, one said that the job could
                             be handled within the existing organization while the other said he was
                             uncertain if the job required someonefull time.

                             On the basis of our review of the documentation supporting the estab-
                             lishment of the position and becauseof the varying opinions among FWS’
                             top officials regarding this position, it is unclear (1) whether this posi-
                             tion is needed and (2) if it is needed,how the duties and responsibilities
                             of the position relate to other FWSpositions. Accordingly, we believe that
                             the continuance of the position warrants evaluation and, if it is contin-
                             ued, its relationship to other FWSpositions needs to be clarified. The
                             costs for the salary and fringe benefits for the assignment totaled about
                             $99,000. There were no relocation costs involved with this assignment.


Unhefined and Incorrectly    After Mr. Dunkle removed the Portland regional director from that posi-
Defined Regional Positions   tion, he removed two of his GM-15 assistants as well, Since October
                             1988, one of the two had been assignedto a new position in the Portland
                             region and reported to an FWS official in Minneapolis, MN. However, the
                             employee, together with his supervisor in Minneapolis, believed that the
                             approved position description required considerable revision. For exam-
                             ple, both the employee and supervisor believed the position description
                             should be revised to require that the incumbent report to the regional
                             director in Portland, where the incumbent is located, rather than to a



                             Page 26                                       GAO/GGD-9043   Personnel   Practices
Appsndlx V
GAO Concerns Regarding   Twenty-Two   Newly
Created FWS Positions




FWSofficial in Minneapolis. This was based on the supervisor’s under-
standing that the position description should reflect about 76 percent of
the duties on activities in the region and about 26 percent on activities
related to the Minneapolis office.
In January 1989, the other assistant took a new position of associate
regional director in the Portland region at a grade level lower than his
previous grade. According to the position description, his duties were
primarily to advise and assist the regional director and do various spe-
cial projects as assigned.An FWS evaluation team reviewed the position
and recommendedin February 1989 that the position description be
rewritten to reflect new duties becauseit did not contain sufficient work
assignmentsrelated to day-to-day activities. FWShad not developed new
descriptions for this position, or the position discussedabove, as of
August 1989.

In the third case, an employee returned from a limited term SW special
assistant-to-the-director position to a GM-16 regional position of pro-
gram officer in March 1989. The program officer position had been
established in April 1987. It had been occupied by the current incum-
bent from June 1987 to October 1987, when he received a limited term
SESappointment as special assistant-to-the-director. According to FWS
officials, during the 17 months from October 1987 to March 1989, the
program officer position had remained vacant and FWS had not
attempted to fill it. FWSdid not have an accurate description of the posi-
tion as of August 1989. The approved description was inaccurate
becauseit showed, for example, that the incumbent would supervise
FWS’  finance center and engineering center in Denver, whereas an FWS
national official responsible for the two centers said the employee was
not responsible for supervising the two centers. According to the
employee, since March 1989, his actual duties have included overseeing
an FWSconstruction contracting office and certain other offices in Den-
ver, developing a training program, and working on special projects such
as the planned relocation of the FWS Boston regional office. FWSofficials
were reviewing a new position description for the incumbent in August
1989.
Although we recognize that position descriptions may not always be up
to date, we believe they should be as current as possible. Accurate
descriptions are neededfor, among other purposes, establishing an
employee’s grade and pay. In the above cases,the duties and responsi-
bilities of the incumbents were not clearly defined even though the posi-
tions had been occupied for up to 10 months. Also, we believe the


Page 26                                       GAO/GGD-30-43   Personnel   Practices
                              Appendix V
                              GAO Concerns Regarding   Twenty-Two   Newly
                              Created FWS Positions




                              discrepancies between the incumbents’position descriptions and the
                              jobs they were doing, including their reporting relationships, were
                              significant.

                              In addition to the above three positions, in August 1988, Mr. Dunkle
                              directed the regional offices to create new grade 13 senior biologist posi-
                              tions. According to Mr. Dunkle, the purpose of creating the positions
                              was to place certain incumbents whose positions as zone supervisors
                              were being abolished as a result of a regional reorganization. The former
                              director’s August 1988 directive and other FWSdocumentation establish-
                              ing the new positions did not identify an organizational need for the
                              positions or the incumbents’duties and responsibilities.
                              In response,the regional offices created 12 senior biologist positions and
                              filled them with former zone supervisors. Four of the regional officials
                              we interviewed who had supervisory responsibility for the senior biolo-
                              gists believed that 6 of the 12 positions were needed.However, 3 super-
                              visors for the other 6 positions said that the positions were either not
                              neededor did not represent the best use of FWS resources.Three of the                ’
                              12 incumbents were handling duties, full and part time, in other areas as
                              of August 1989.
                               In light of the purpose for which the 12 positions were created, together
                              with the varied views and uses of the position, we believe the positions
                              require examination as to whether they should continue and, if so, what
                              the duties and responsibilities should be. If incumbents are doing other
                              jobs, they could perhaps be more properly assignedto those positions.


Cedain Schedule C             During Mr. Dunkle’s tenure, OPM approved ScheduleC positions of spe-
Suplervisory Relations‘hips   cial and confidential assistants to the FWS director. The establishment of
                              ScheduleC positions, which are excepted from federal competitive ser-
QWstionable                   vice, must be specifically authorized by OPM. In deciding whether to pro-
                              vide authorizations, OPM’S approval process includes consideration to
                              whether proposed positions will involve policy determinations or close
                              and confidential working relationships with a key official. A key official
                              can be a presidential appointee, another ScheduleC appointee, or an SES
                              appointee occupying a noncareer or general position. OPM guidance says
                              that Schedule C appointees may not report to or through officials in the
                              competitive service and that a close and confidential relationship will
                              not exist unless the appointees are subject to the immediate supervision
                              of a key official. The guidance also states that OPM must approve, in
                              advance, changesin the approved reporting relationships.


                              Page 27                                       GAO/GGD-9043   Personnel   Practices
Appendix V
GAO Concerns Regarding   Twenty-Two   Newly
Created FWS Positions




Two ScheduleC positions created during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure were still
authorized and filled as of August 1989. OPM had authorized these two
positions on the basis that the assistants would have a close and confi-
dential working relationship with the director, deputy director, and
other high ranking departmental officials. Organizationally, the posi-
tions were assignedto the director’s immediate office and the director or
his deputy signed the assistants’performance ratings. Both assistants
said they worked for the director and their duties involved the legisla-
tive services area. But, according to the Assistant Director for External
Affairs, responsible for the Office of Legislative Services, one assistant
worked under the daily supervision of a GM-15 career employee in the
competitive service for 8 months and the other for 35 months, the entire
length of her appointment. He added, however, that the director
assignedthem projects and they reported to the director. Given the
nature of these daily supervisory relationships, we question whether
IVS complied with OPM'S criteria that in order for a close and confiden-
tial relationship to exist, the appointees must be subject to the immedi-
ate supervision of the key official.

In addition to special/confidential assistant positions approved during
Mr. Dunkle’s tenure, a ScheduleC position was authorized before his
directorship and, according to a FWS official, was still occupied in August
1989. Although OPM authorized the position as confidential assistant to
the FWSdirector in January 1986, the incumbent said his duties included
working at the White House and, since January 1989, for an Interior
assistant secretary. We believe that the assignment of duties and the
supervisory relationship for the above assistant was contrary to OPM'S
specific authorization of the position for the periods mentioned.




Page 28                                       GAO/GGD90-43   Personnel   Practices
Appendix VI

Objectives, Scope,and Methodology


               Our objectives were to (1) determine the number of SE%,   special assistant,
               and confidential assistant positions created during the directorship of
               the former director and his recent predecessors;(2) determine the pur-
               posesand costs of the positions created under the former director,
               including high-level positions at certain FWSregional offices; (3) ascer-
               tain whether these new positions and the people in them contributed to
               FWS’ efficiency, effectiveness, and professionalism; and (4) determine
               whether the process for establishing selectedpositions during the for-
               mer director’s tenure followed relevant, OPM regulations and guidance,
               and Interior instructions.
               To identify the number of SES positions established during the former
               director’s tenure, we used an OPM list of SESpositions created at FM%from
               the start of the SES(July 1979) through April 17, 1989. The list included
               the date the position was created and the position title. We also used the
               list for a secondpurpose; the titles allowed us to determine if any of the
               positions were for the job of special assistant-to-the-director.
               To further identify confidential and special assistant positions, we
               reviewed Interior’s monthly rosters of ScheduleC appointments. We
               reviewed available rosters covering the period from June 1986 through
               April 1989, The reports show the dates the appointments were made
               and the Interior unit making the appointment. We then verified the com-
               pleteness and accuracy of our identifications with computerized records
               from OPM.
               We identified the number of SES, special assistant, and confidential assis-
               tant positions established during the tenure of the former director’s two
               immediate predecessors.One directed FWSfrom about October 1973 to
               January 1981 and the other was the director from about November
               1981 to September 1985. (Periods of time between directors were filled
               by acting directors.) We used the OPM list of SEspositions to identify
               those created during each predecessor’stenure and to determine if any
               were for the job of special assistant-to-the-director.
               We also used Interior’s ScheduleC reports and similar reports from OPM
               that, together, provided an inventory of such appointments back to
               1976. For each appointment that we identified, we reviewed OPM'S file
               on the related position to make certain that the appointment was for
               special or confidential assistant-to-the-director.




               Page 29                                       GAO/GGD-90-43   Personnel   Practices
Appendix VI
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




The Subcommittee asked us to identify and analyze a significant sample
of the high-level positions established at three FWSregions: Boston, Den-
ver, and Portland. We identified two positions (senior biologist and asso-
ciate manager) at the grade 13 and 14 levels to examine. These positions
were part of an rws-wide reorganization, thus making our analysis
impact all regions. The reorganization was made at the direction of the
former director. We also identified three positions (deputy director,
western operations, North American waterfowl managementplan; asso-
ciate regional director; and program officer) at the grade 14 and 15
levels. The Subcommittee agreed with this sample.
To ascertain the purposes of the positions created under the former
director and the contributions of people who filled them, we reviewed
selected position descriptions and supporting justifications and perform-
ance appraisals of persons in the positions. We interviewed 27 rws offi-
cials in Washington and the three FWSregions to obtain views on the
need for positions and the practice followed in creating and filling them.
These officials also provided views on whether the new positions con-
tributed to FWS’ efficiency, effectiveness, and professionalism. The offi-
cials included the acting director, FWSSenior Executives in Washington,
the regional directors (including the former regional director in Port-
land), and their various assistants in the three regions. We also inter-
viewed the former director.
To determine position cost, we reviewed requests for and notifications
of personnel actions that showed grades and salaries of persons filling
the new positions. We did this for all special and confidential assistants
and for 22 other newly created positions that concernedus. We esti-
mated the cost of fringe benefits associatedwith these positions using
cost factors in effect for retirement, insurance, Medicare, and other
employee benefits shown in Office of Managementand Budget Circular
No, A-76 for the relevant periods of time. We also obtained cost data
from travel records where positions involved permanent changesof
duty stations. We determined whether the process FWSfollowed in estab-
lishing the positions was in accordancewith law, regulation, and
instructions by determining whether required approvals were obtained
for personnel actions and whether the actions were consistent with
requirements.

At OPM, we obtained reports and records to identify or verify positions
created during the subject tenures, determined whether FWS obtained
OPM'S approvals for ScheduleC positions, and received comments from
OPM on certain FWS personnel practices.




Page 30                                      GAO/GGJHO-43   Personnel   Practices
APw*         VI
Objwtlver,    Scope, and Methodology




Our work was done between February 1989 and August 1989 in Wash-
ington, DC, and at FWSoffices in Boston, Denver, and Portland. We fol-
lowed generally acceptedgovernment auditing standards. The
Department of the Interior, OPM, and M r. Dunkle provided written com-
ments on a draft of this report, These commentsare presented and eval-
uated in appendixes VII, VIII, and IX.




Page 31                                    GAO/GGDSO-43   Personnel   Practicea
AppendixVII
&nments From the Department of the Interior


Note; GAO comments
supp)ementing those in the
repott text appear at the
end 4f this appendix.
      I
      I                                        United States Department of the Interior
                                                               OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
                                                                WASHINGTON,  D.C. 20240
                                                                       November 2, 1989


                             Mr. James Duffus,    III
                             Director,   Natural  Resources
                                Management Issues
                             U.S. General Accounting     Office
                             Washington,   D.C. 20548
                             Dear Mr.      Duffus:
                             Transmitted       herein   are the comments of the Department                    of the
                             Interior      regarding    draft     report     B-235430,      Personnel    Practices,
                             Personnel       Management      Issues      at   the   U.S.      Fish    and Wildlife
                             Service.        Our comments on the specific               recommendations       of the
                             draft    report     are included       as enclosure       (l),    and a copy of the
                             current     U.S. Fish and Wildlife             Service    organizational      chart    is
                             provided     as enclosure     (2).
Nowonp.   1.                 On page 2 of the draft                   report     in the first         paragraph         of the
                             section      entitled        Results     in Brief,      it is misleading            to draw so
                             positive       a conclusion         regarding      comparison      with prior        Directors.
                             As indicated            in Appendix III,           no data was available                 for    the
                             initial      period       of Director      Greenwalt's       tenure.       It is ordinarily
                             during      the early          part    of such service           that     initial       excepted
                             service      appointments         are made by political             appointees.         Further,
                             there     is no data indicated                to determine        if Director         Greenwalt
See comment 1.               created      positions        under the Executive           Assignment       System     prior     to
                             July     1979.       To say that          Director     Dunkle's       number of positions
                             created       is more than            double     that     of his      two most immediate
                             predecessors          is not substantiated             by factual        information.             We
                             strongly       recommend that the last clause of sentence 2 be deleted.
                             In the first        full     paragraph      on page 4 of the draft      report,    the
Now Dn p, 3.                 role of the Qualifications               Review Board (QRB) is discussed.          For
                             purposes       of clarification,          the QRB must approve the managerial
See comment 2.               qualifications        of candidates        only before they are first      appointed
                             to career        Senior      Executive       Service    (SES) positions    or after
                             completion         of     agency       Senior      Executive   Service     Candidate
                             Development       Programs.
Now on p, 4                  On page 5 of the draft                report     in the first     paragraph     of the
                             section      entitled        Number of Special      and Confidential      Assistants,
                             the record indicates             that there are no complete data available            to
                             indicate       that      Director     Greenwalt     created    any special       and/or
                             confidential           assistants.        Although     Appendix III     is noted      to
See comment 3.               inform the reader of the lack of data from October                     1973 to March
                             1976, this         fact    is ignored    in this    paragraph    as well    as in the
Nowonp.   1.                 paragraph      on page 2 as described           above.




                                     Page 32                                                       GAO/GGD-90-43Personnel Practices
                                    Appendix W
                                    Commenta From the Department          of
                                    the Interior




                                                                                                                                       2
                         On page 6 of the draft                      report      in paragraph          2 of the section
Now oh pp, 4 and 21.     entitled         Questionable         Assignments          to Nonfederal            Organizations,
                         while the citations                noted are accurate,               they do not express the
                         flexibility          contained        in FPM Chapter 334, subchapter                       l-5,     when
                         read        in   its     entirety.            Chapter 334.1-5e(l),              is provided           as
                         guidance        and includes           exceptions         and other        circumstances          under
                         which different              arrangements           may be made.             Cost sharing          on a
                         relative        benefits       basis      is the most common method utilized,                        but
See cdmment 4.           alternatives          exist      depending        upon factors           relevant      to the non-
                         Federal        organization.            Flexibility          is included        so that         Federal
                         agencies         may make use of                 it    where they            deem warranted           to
                         accommodate              the       specific          characteristics              of     individual
                         assignments.
Now O(I pp. 5 and 22     On page 7 of the draft               report     in paragraph        4, regarding         the
                         uncertainty       expressed    about the use of Fish and Wildlife                  Service
                         appropriations         to pay for the salary           and benefits      of the Deputy
                         Assistant        Director     - Fish      and Wildlife          Enhancement           while
                         performing         assigned,      related        functions     with       the    American
                         Fisheries      Society,     we assert     that no impropriety            exits    from an
                         appropriation       use standpoint.         Under the provisions          of 16 USC 661
                         and     16 USC 742f(a)(4),            the    Fish      and Wildlife          Service       is
See comment 5.           authorized       to provide       assistance        and cooperate         with     private
                         organizations        in such endeavors.           We conclude,       then, that since
                         the action        was legal,      the use of Fish and Wildlife                     Service
                         appropriations        was permitted.
                         On page 8 of the draft                        report      in paragraph          2 of the section
Now on pp. 522, and 23   entitled          Special         Assistant        for     Alaska     Issues,       the employee's
                         official         personnel          records      indicate      that he is not eligible                  for
                         optional          retirement           until     October 3, 1994, more than 2 years
                         after        his      assignment          would      expire      were      it    extended         to the
                         maximum time              limit       of 4 years.             As he is covered               under the
                         provisions          of the Civil           Service     Retirement        System, he must have a
                         combination            of age 55 with              30 years of service             or age 60 with
See comment 6.           20 years of service                   in order to retire            optionally.         Accordingly,
                         the       statement           in      sentence 1 that             he '*was near             retirement
                         eligibility            age when the assignment                    was made" is misleading.
                         Additionally,                the        sentence        regarding         Office      of      Personnel
                         Management (OPM) guidance                        and the accompanying               footnote,          (61,
                         does not apply                  to this        case.        Our above comments regarding
See cbmment 7.           determination               of      Intergovernmental             Personnel        Act      assignment
                         costs       are       also       applicable         here.        Further,        as there            is no
                         relationship            to the employee's               optional      retirement        eligibility,
See c$mment 8.           no basis           remains         for     the retention           of the last           sentence        of
                         paragraph         2.
                         On page 9 of the draft           report     in paragraph   2 of the section
Now on pp, 5 and 23      entitled    Questionable    SES Appointment,       the request  submitted    by
                         the Fish and Wildlife      Service    was for a limited-term    appointment.
                         During the close-out      session     conducted by the General Accounting
See comment 9.           Office   staff,    the evaluators       were informed    by the Department's
                         Director    of Personnel   that Interior       changed the appointment    type




                                    Page 33                                                            GAO/GGD-go-43      Personnel    Practices
                                     Appendix VII
                                     Comments From the Department        of
                                     the Interior




                                                                                                                                  3

                            on advice     of OPM.         Your interpretation       of the requirements          and
                            use     of   the       limited-emergency          appointment         authority        is
                            excessively      rigid      and inflexible.        Your characterization          leads
                            the reader to believe           that agencies and OPM have no discretion               in
                            its use.      Although        OPM is best able to respond to this               point,
                            your   narrow interpretation           is not consistent       with OPM's efforts
                            to assist    agencies       in responding    to sensitive     staffing     needs.
Now   n pp. 6,25, and 26.   On page 12 of the draft                  report   in paragraph      2 of the section
                            entitled      Undefined        and Incorrectly        Defined    Regional     Positions,
                            the example used to illustrate                  the need for a revised           position
                            description         is not valid.            Employees    are assigned      supervisors
                            based on organizational               alignment     not on geographical        location.
See cbmment 10.             The position             in   question       was established        as part       of     the
                            organization          located      in Minneapolis,        Minnesota,      and properly
                            reported     to the head of that organization.                  The determination          to
                            organizationally              locate       the   position      in    the    Minneapolis
                            organization         was made by Fish and Wildlife            Service     management       as
                            is its      prerogative.            The employee depicted          in this     paragraph
                            optionally       retired     on September 2, 1989.
                            In the section       of the draft         beginning     with the last paragraph            on
Now on pp, 6 and 27         page 13 and continuing              through     two paragraphs         on page 14, the
                            suggestion        that     the      establishment          of    12 senior       biologist
                            positions     to accommodate former zone supervisors                    was unwarranted
                            reflects     a lack of understanding             of the need to retain           employees
                            of the Fish and Wildlife              Service.       The alternative        action     would
                            have been to effect         a reduction-in-force           action    involving      12 Fish
                            and Wildlife       Service     biologists.          The Fish and Wildlife           Service
See comment 11.             expects     Regional       Directors        to    reevaluate      their      needs     on a
                            continuing     basis    and assign available           people as warranted.
Now on pp. 7,27, and 28.    On pages 14-16 in the section                   entitled    Certain     Schedule C Working
                            Relationships           Questionable,           the      OPM guidance         as stated         in
                            paragraph       1 is incomplete.               Schedule C employees may report                  to
See comment 12.             Presidential          Appointees,        other      Schedule C employees,           or Senior
                            Executive       Service      members in positions             designated      as general       (as
                            opposed to designation               as career reserved).             In the cases of two
                            Schedule C employees mentioned                    in paragraph       2, records      show that
See oomment 13.             both received          performance       ratings       from the Director        or the Deputy
                            Director       acting      in his stead.            These officials        took performance
                            appraisal         action       in    the      capacity      of     immediate      supervisor.
                            Schedule       C employees             are     organizationally          assigned      to     the
                            Director's        immediate office,           and only the Director           determines      the
                            general      assignments         they carry        out on his behalf          throughout      the
                            Fish and Wildlife            Service       organization.         The Schedule C employee
                            mentioned        in paragraph         3 was detailed          to the White House on a
See comment 14              reimbursable          basis      as required          for periods      exceeding      180 days
                            during     a fiscal        year.     Upon his return           to the Fish and Wildlife
                            Service,        he was detailed                to     the   Office      of    the    Assistant
                            Secretary       for Fish and Wildlife              and Parks.       He has since resigned
                            and left      the Federal service.




                                    Page 34                                                       GAO/GGD-9043     Personnel     Practices
                                 Appendix WI
                                 Comments Prom the Department      of
                                 the Intmlor




                                                                                                                           4
                          On page 16 of the draft            report    in the section           entitled       Changes
Now on, pp. 7,8, and 9.   Affected    Staff    Negatively,      the report      recounts       personal      views of
                          27 employees.       The reader is encouraged to believe                   that,    with the
                          exception     of the Fish         and Wildlife        Service       reorganization          in
                          1986, personnel        decisions     were taken for questionable                 purposes.
See co(nment 15.          The employees       interviewed       are entitled          to hold their          personal
                          opinions    regarding      these actions.        In the last paragraph               of this
                          section,     concern      is    expressed      regarding        the     attraction        and
                          retention    of "good" (which we interpret              as well qualified)            people
                          in the SES. The 18 SES members cited                  were reassigned           a total    of
                          23 times as follows:           13 associated      with the 1986 reorganization,
                          7 to positions        higher     in the organization,             and 3 to fill           new
                          positions.         The use of           the   term      "many reassignments"                is
See colnment 16.          misleading    to the reader as the majority               were directly         related    to
                          the Service     reorganization       and involved       little     more than a change
                          in title.     The Fish and Wildlife          Service      believes      its SES members
                          are well qualified,          and no mass exodus, as implied,                 has occurred
                          or is foreseen.
Nowonp. 18.               On page 26, Appendix III,                the above comments regarding             page 2 of
                          the draft      report     are applicable          to the comparison        chart and notes
                          c, d, and e.            Note b indicates           that Schedule A appointments            are
                          used to fill          "positions       of special         assistant    to the director."
                          Schedule A appointments               are not routinely             used,   as stated,      to
                          fill    such positions.             In the one case where this               authority    was
                          used,      the employee          was    originally         appointed     under   Schedule C
See comment 17.           authority,          but      was     converted         to    Schedule A when it           was
                          determined        that      she was eligible               as a severely        handicapped
                          individual       (Schedule A, Reg. 213.3102(u)).                      This was the only
                          instance      where Schedule A authority                  was used to fill       a position
                          of this sort.
                          We appreciate     the opportunity                 to provide      these    comments,  and
                          trust   that  they will  be of                assistance     in   preparing    the final
                          report.
                                                                         Sincerely,




                                                                         Constance B. Harriman
                                                                         Assistant    Secretary  for Fish
                                                                           and Wildlife     and Parks
See comment   18.         Enclosures




                                 Page 36                                                     GAO/GGD-90-43   Personnel   Practices
                             AppendLrM
                             Comments F’rom the Department   of
                             the Interior




                              Comments    on the Recommendations      of the GAO Draft              Report
                                            Personnel  Management    Issues    at the
                                              U.S. Fish and Wildlife       Service
                                                          B-235438


                                   Recommen d a tions   to the    Secretary    of the    Interior


                                  dation : That the Secretary          review the Assignment           of the
                       senior     executive    to the Coastal          Conservation      Association         in
                       Alabama to ensure         that     salary    and benefit       costs    are shared
                       appropriately         and      the     assignment        conforms        with      the
                       Intergovernmental      Personnel      Act and related      OPM regulations.           If
                       improper,      we recommend that          the Secretary       determine       whether
                       remedial       steps,   such      as amending        the   agreement       with     the
                       Association        to  more accurately          reflect     cost     sharing,       are
                       appropriate.
Now on pp. 4 and 21.   Resvons e:   In light      of the     comments we have provided          on the page
See comment 19.        6 text   of the draft       report,     we believe   this   action      was properly
                       taken.   A subsequent       review     has confirmed   regulatory       compliance.

                       Recommendation:           That     the   Secretary       determine     whether     the
                       assignment      to the American Fisheries           Society    and the use of FWS
                       appropriated      funds to pay any or all of the executive's                   salary
                       and benefit        costs    during     the    assignment      were proper.           If
                       improper,      we recommend that           the Secretary        determine    whether
                       remedial     steps such as recovering          funds from the Society,         or the
                       former director,       are appropriate.
                       Response:    pur comments on the page 7 text        of the draft    report
Now on pp. 5 and 22.   demonstrate   that the Fish and Wildlife    Service    action was within
See comment 20.        the scope of governing     guidelines    and that     further  review     is
                       unnecessary.

                       Paraaraph      2
                       Recommendation:      (1) That the Secretary            instruct    the Director    of
                       FWS to review existing      special   assistant          positions    to determine
                       whether they are necessary      to accomplish           FWS' mission and, if so,
                       are defined  properly.
See comment 21         Response:   A review   of existing            special  assistant       positions    is
                       underway and final   determinations            are expected to       be made within
                       60 days.




                                                                                              Enclosure        (1)




                            Page 30                                                 GAO/GGD-9043       Personnel   Practices
                                     Appendix VII
                                     Cemmente Prom the Department        of
                                     the lnterlor




                                    endation:    (2) That the Secretary        instruct   the Director                        of
                           FWS to ensure that the actual         duties   and responsibilities       of                     the
                           positions     and approved descriptions      agree.
                                              It is not unusual to experience                    broadening        scope and
                           !2zEF:*       in      newly      established          positions.            Further,        it     is
                           unrealistic          to expect managers to anticipate                     every conceivable
                           duty or project          that could possibly            be included        in a new position
                           established         at the senior         level,     nor is there a requirement                 that
                           every      specific        duty     or project          be included           in   a position
                           description.            Managers are not expected                 to redescribe         positions
See co/nment 22.           unless       actual       duties      that       evolve      are     no longer          generally
                           described        in the position             description         of record.          It    is the
                           routine       practice        of    Fish      and Wildlife           Service      managers         to
                           maintain      position      descriptions          in an up-to-date        manner.

Now 04 pp. 6 and 27.       Fecomm62a$&ka   : (3) That the Secretary   instruct   the                           Director     of
                           FWS to determine  whether the regional   senior biologist                              positions
                           make the best use of FWS' resources.
                           pesnonse:        Our comments on the text            of pages 13 and 14 of the
                           draft     report     provide     that   Fish and Wildlife         Service     Regional
                           Directors       will    continuously      assess    the needs of the Service
                           within     their     Regions     and allocate      resources     accordingly.        We
See comment 23.            will,     however,     instruct      the Regional      Directors    to pay special
                           attention     to the senior biologist         positions.

                           E+=uuendation :   (4) That the Secretary   instruct     the                         Director     of
                           FWS to ensure   that  Schedule  C appointees'       actual                          duties      and
Now on pp, 7,27, and 26.   supervisors are the same as those approved by OPM.
See comment 24.            -:            Our comments   on the text of pages 14-16 of the draft
                           report    demonstrate   that   Fish   and Wildlife Service Schedule C
                           positions   are in compliance    with guidelines.

                           Recommendation:        When changes in the duties      and supervisory   or
                           reporting   relationships    of Schedule C appointees     must be made, we
                           recommend that       the Secretary   instruct the Director      to request
                           approval  from OPM of the changes, as required        in OPM guidance.
See cbmment 25             -:               Approvals           will  be requested from the Office   of
                           Personnel      Management         for changes in Schedule   C positions when
                           required     by regulatory         guidance.




                                                                                                           Enclosure       (1)




                                   Page 37                                                         GAO/GGB90-43      Personnel        Practices




                                                                                                                                 ‘I
               Appendix VII
               Comments From the Department   of
               the Interior




               The following are GAO'S supplemental comments on the Department of
               the Interior letter dated November 2, 1989.


GAO Comments   Greenwalt’s tenure.

               2. Report has been revised on page 3 to clarify the Qualification Review
               Board’s approval authority.
               3. Report has been revised on page 4 to clarify that data were not avail-
               able for a portion of Mr. Greenwalt’s tenure.

               4. Information has been added to the report on page 21 to show that
               agencies,with specific justification, may share costs on other than a rel-
               ative benefits basis.
               6. While the provisions of 16 USC. 661 and 742f(a)(4) provide general
               authority for the Secretary of the Interior to carry out the JTWSmission,
               including assisting and cooperating with other organizations, we do not
               believe these provisions cover assignmentsto nonfederal organizations
               for extended periods of time. Instead, Congressprovided specific
               authority for such assignmentsin the IPA. (For information on the legis-
               lative history of the IPA and its overall use by federal agencies,see Inter-
               governmental Personnel Act of 1970: Intergovernmental Purpose No
               Longer Emphasized [GAOIGGD-89-96, June 19891.)The former director tried
               to get the Executive ResourcesBoard to approve the assignment as a
               detail under the IPA. He then made, in essence,an IPA-typedetail without
               having obtained required Interior approval and without the controls and
               protections provided by the act, its implementing regulations, and OPM
               guidance. Interior policy requires the assignment of any FWSsenior exec-
               utive outside the Department for any length of time to be approved in
               advance by Interior’s Executive ResourcesBoard.
               6. Report has been revised on page 22 to clarify when the employee is
               eligible to retire.
               7. We revised the report to show that agenciesmust clearly explain in
               assignment agreementsif factors other than, or in addition to, relative
               benefits are used as a basis to share costs. The assignment agreement
               for the Special Assistant for Alaskan issues did not indicate that other
               factors were used. Rather, the agreement and supporting documents
               indicate that the benefits to FWS and the nonfederal organization were


               Page 38                                       GAO/GGDBO48   Personnel   Practices
Appendix VII
Cbenuptienr%om   the Department   of




the basis for the assignment. Yet, costs were not shared according to the
benefits that each organization would derive from the assignment.
8. We have clarified the retirement eligibility date of the special assis-
tant on page 22 of the report. The comments regarding the special assis-
tant’s retirement plans were provided by FWSofficials, namely the acting
director, a regional director, and a former regional director.

9. We do not believe that a limited term or a limited emergency appoint-
ment authority was appropriate for assigning the former FWS director to
the director position at the Fort Collins ResearchCenter. Limited term
appointments may be made when the position is not a continuing one.
This does not appear to be the case with the position of Director of the
Fort Collins ResearchCenter. Limited emergency appointments may be
made to meet a bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. FWS did not show
what events created such a need. in fact, the Fort Collins position had
been vacant for about 10 months during which time FWSdid not attempt
to fill the position on a permanent basis.
10. Interior’s comments address the geographical problem which was
identified by the employee and his supervisor. Other examples of what
they thought neededto be revised in the position description included
funding, major duties, and scope and effect of the position. Interior did
not comment on discrepancies in the associateregional director and the
program officer positions that had been occupied for several months.
11. We do not question the overall need for senior biologist positions in
FWS.Rather, our basic concern is that some of the incumbents of certain
positions were not being used in their assignedpositions, and some
supervisors did not believe the positions were needed or represented the
best use of FWSresources.FM%could possibly identify other positions
which better fit the needs of the organization and assign the employees
to these positions. If such positions cannot be identified, a reduction-in-
force action is an alternative.
12. Report has been revised on pages 7,27, and 28 to clarify      OPM'S    guid-
ance on reporting relationships of ScheduleC employees.

13. We agree that, on paper, the assistants were organizationally
assignedto the director’s immediate office and that he or the deputy
director signed their ratings. But, in reality, based on interviews with
the special assistants and an FWSofficial, the special assistants, for sig-
nificant periods of time, worked in another office and were supervised


Page 39                                        GAO/GGD-9043   Personnel   Practices
Appendix VII
Chnmenta From the Department   of
the Interior




on a daily basis by a GM-15 career employee in the competitive service.
Given the nature of these daily supervisory relationships, we question
whether FWS complied with OPM'S criteria for approving ScheduleC
positions.
 14. The confidential assistant did not work in the position of confiden-
tial assistant to the director that OPM approved. As we note on pages 7
and 28 although he worked in other positions including one at the White
House, OPM approved the position on the basis of its confidential rela-
tionship with the former FWSdirector. We earlier reported on the detail-
ing of ScheduleC employeesto the White House and commented on the
inappropriate use of the ScheduleC hiring authority for this purpose.
(For more information, see Personnel Practices: Detailing of Federal
Employees to the White House [GAO/GGD-w-~O~BR, July 19871and Person-
nel Practices: Federal Emulovees Detailed From DOD to the White House
[GAO/GGD88-33, March 19881.)”

15. Our comments are based on interviews with 27 top-level officials at
FWS, including  the acting director, deputy director-line, most assistant
directors, selected regional directors, and other selected regional offi-
cials, at the SF&GM-15 and GM-14 level. As requested by the Subcom-
mittee, we summarized both their positive and negative views on Mr.
Dunkle’s managementpractices. Twenty-two of these officials had con-
cerns about certain of those practices.
16. We have revised the report on pages 8 and 9 to reconcile our data
with FWS’  data. Our analysis, however, still shows that the majority of
the reassignmentswere made to existing positions and not to positions
resulting from the reorganization, We have also revised the report on
page 8 to show that the executives’concerns dealt more with attracting
well-qualified people to the SES than with losing people.
17. Report has been revised on page 18 to clarify   WS’   use of one Sched-
ule A special assistant.
18. One enclosure, a FWSorganizational chart provided by Interior, was
not used in this report. Rather, we included an FWSorganizational chart
which included all SES positions as of August 1989.

19. Interior said the assignment of the FWSsenior executive to the
Coastal Conservation Association in Alabama was proper becauseOPM'S
guidance permits IPA assignment,coststo be shared by federal and
nonfederal organizations for reasons other than the relative benefits to


Page 40                                      GAO/GGD-3043    Personnel   Practices
.

    Appendix M
    Comments From the Department   of
    the Interior




    each. While we agree with Interior’s interpretation of the guidance, the
    guidance also provides that, if a basis other than relative benefits is
    used, the assignmentagreement must show the other factors that were
    used. The agreement in question did not indicate that a basis other than
    relative benefits was used. Rather, correspondencesupporting the
    assignmentindicates that the Association would benefit from the assign-
    ment. Based on OPM guidance, if the Association is benefiting from the
    assignment,it should share someportion of the assignmentcost.
    20. Interior said the former director acted with proper authority under
    16 USC. 661 and 742f(a)(4) when assigning a senior executive to the
    American Fisheries Society. These statutory provisions provide Interior
    with general authority to protect fish and wildlife, including assisting
    and cooperating with other organizations in carrying out this mission.

    We do not believe these basic authorities should be used to assign
    employeesto nonfederal organizations for extended periods of time.
    Rather, Congressenacted the IPA to authorize such assignments,and we
    believe Fws should have followed the IPA and its implementing OPM regu-
    lations and guidance in assigningthe senior executive to the American
    Fisheries Society. Moreover, in the act making appropriations for fiscal
    year 1988, Congressspecifically precluded Interior from using any
    funds to detail any employee to an organization unless the detail was in
    accordancewith OPM regulations (Public Law No. 100-202, 101 Stat.
    1329, 1329-235[1987]). This provision appeared for the first time in
    Interior’s fiscal year 1985 appropriation. The legislative history of the
    provision indicates that the House Committee on Appropriations also
    directed Interior to submit a report to the Committee each month, by
    agency, on employeesdetailed outside the agency. The reports include
    (1) the employee’sname, title, and grade; (2) the name of the organiza-
    tion to which assignedor detailed, (3) the purpose of the action; (4) the
    planned duration; and (5) whether the assignmentor detail is reimburs-
    able or nonreimbursable. (H.R. Rep. No. 886,98th Cong., 2d Sess.63
    [ 19841.)
    We believe the former director acted without proper authority in mak-
    ing the above assignment and that the assignmentwas a detail. In addi-
    tion, had he executed an IPA assignmentagreementwith the American
    Fisheries Society as dictated by OPM regulation and guidance, the Society
    may have properly assumeda portion of the assignmentcost commensu-
    rate with the benefits it derived. In short, the government probably lost
    money, and Interior needs to make sure that, in the future, assignments
    of this type conform with the IPA and related OPM guidance.


    Page 41                                      GAO/GGD90-43   Personnel   Practices
Appendix VII
Comments From the Department   of
the Interior




21. Interior agreedto review existing special assistant positions and
determine within 60 days whether the positions are necessaryto accom-
plish FWS’mission, and if so, whether they are properly defined.

22. Interior did not specifically address the three positions we identified
as being inaccurately defined. Rather, Interior said that duties and
responsibilities of newly created positions evolve over time and that
managers are not expected to update the descriptions unless they gener-
ally do not reflect the actual duties, We agree that position descriptions
cannot always be current. However, the three positions in question had
been occupied for periods ranging up to 10 months, and various FWSoffi-
cials questioned the accuracy of the descriptions of record. The discrep-
ancies described by these officials were significant, and unless FWS has
complete and accurate descriptions, it cannot be sure that the duties and
responsibilities are classified properly and that pay is appropriate.
23. Interior agreed with the thrust of our recommendation that FWS
determine whether the regional biologist positions represent the best use
of Fws resources.

24. Interior said ScheduleC special assistants’duties and reporting rela-
tionships complied with guidelines. It said the assistants were organiza-
tionally assignedto the former directors’immediate office, and the
assistants carried out general assignmentson the former director’s
behalf. Available documentation supports Interior’s comments regarding
the general relationships between the former director and the special
assistants. However, according to a FWSofficial, for significant periods
of time, the assistants worked in the legislative services area and were
actually supervised by a GM-15 official in the competitive service. Both
assistants confirmed that they had worked in the legislative services
area. Given the nature of these daily supervisory relationships, we ques-
tion whether FWScomplied with OPM’S criteria for approving ScheduleC
positions.

26. Interior agreed that it would request approval from OPM when
changesoccur in ScheduleC positions as required in the future.




Page 42                                      GAO/GGD-9042   Personnel   practices
 AppenQix VIII
       ,
 Cobments From the Office of
 Pekonnel Management


                             --
                                                             UNITED     STATES
                                                 OFFICE   OF PERSONNEL       MANAQEMENT



                  OlvK‘E “P T!,E 0,Hi%‘1‘0H




                       Mr. Rernard L. Ungar
                       Director,   Federal Human Resource
                          Management Issues
                       U. S. General Accounting   office
                       Washington,   D. C. 20401
                       Dear Mr. Ungar:
                       This responds to a recommendation    made in the GAO Draft Report
                       on Personnel  Management Issues in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Now on p.   IO.        Service  (page 20) that OPM review the propriety    of a limited
                       emergency appointment   authority granted   for the appointment  of
                       Mr. Frank Dunkle.
                       The justification           submitted    by the Department of the Interior               with
                       the request       for a limited       emergency appointment         authority     stated:
                       "Secause of the rapidly             changing events related         to the Fish and
                       Wildlife     Service,      we could not anticipate        the urgency and Immediate
                       need to fill        this position       at this time."     A bona fide emergency
                       may be based upon whether an organization                 can function        effectively
                       for a period of time without              a particular    position.         In this case,
                       filling    the Director        of the Fort Collins       Research Center,          the key
                       Center position,          through a limited       emergency appointment          during
                       the transition         period appeared valid.
                       I have therefore         determined  that       the authority     granted for      the
SeeConiment 1          limited     emergency appointment       of      Mr. Dunkle is appropriate          and
                       will    continue   until     the 18 month       expiration    date or when
                       Mr. Dunkle leaves the position,                whichever   occurs    first.




                                                                      Constance    Berry     Newman
                                                                      Director




                                  Page 43                                                 GAO/GGD9043   Personnel   Practices
               Appendix    VIII
               Cmnmenta From the Office of
               Personnel   Manaeement




               1. OPM said that the limited emergencyappointment of Mr. Dunkle to the
G&O Comments   Fort Collins position appeared valid, It said a bona fide emergency may
               be based upon whether an organization can function effectively for a
               period of time without a particular position. It is unclear, however, how
               or whether the vacancy at Fort Collins had resulted in a bona fide,
 I             unanticipated, urgent need. To the contrary, information gathered dur-
 I             ing our review shows that the position at Fort Collins had been filled by
 (             nine acting directors from May 1988 to March 1989, during which time
 I             Interior and FWShad not tried to fill it on a permanent basis.
               We are also troubled by OPM'S comments made during our review that
               the limited emergency appointment authority had been used to accom-
               modate departing political appointees during the Presidential transition.
               We question whether this is a proper use of the authority, unless the
               facts indicate that an emergency exists. Thus, we expanded our recom-
               mendation to cover use of this authority beyond the circumstances sur-
               rounding Mr. Dunkle’s appointment.




               Page 44                                      GAO/GGD-90-43   Personnel   Practices
Appengix IX

Co#nmentsFrom the Former Director of the U.S
Fish and Wildlife Service



                           United States Department                   of the Interior
                                          FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
                                    NATIONAL     ECOLOGY   RESEARCH    CEN’I ‘ER                 -     7
                                             4512 McMurray Avenue
                                   Fort    Collins.   Colorado   80525-3400
                                           Commerc;al 303-226-9398
                                                    FTS 323-5398




                                                  October 31, 1989




              U.S. General Accountiq Office
              Attn:  Mr. James Campbsll
                     Assistant Director
                     GeneralGevemnw!n t Division
              441 G Street NW, F&em #3150
              Washirqbn, D.C. 20548
              Dear Mr. Campbell:
              Thank you for the opportunity to cxnmentonthe Draft Report xeguestedby
              chairman Studds to review personnel policies and actions by me during my
              tenure as Dire&or of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
              'lhe allegationsrradeintheGA0       reportcxnmtbe   separated frmthe
              envim-mntinwhich         I foundmyself as I assmwzd leadership of the U.S. Fish
              aud WilciIife Service on May 7, 1986. Iherefore, Iwouldliketotakea         few
              manwIts to clarify the situation that existed in the Service and that led to
              my initiation    of significant  managementand personnel changes in that agency.
              An important area of cmsiderationnotreviewedornotedbyyour
              investigators   in this report is that portion of the law that states:      Yhe
Seepag&3.     Director, who shall be subject to the supervision of the Assistant Secretary
              for Fish and Wildlife.lt   The Assistant Secretaries during Director Jantzents
              tenure a&the Assistant Secretariesdurirgmytenure         requireddiscussion     and
              appruval of all new positions, transfers, arxI prmotions.      IIence,personnel
              actions that were remmended involving all GsGM/14's through senior
              Executive positions were discussed with and approved by the Assistant
              secretary.    Most GS/Ql-15 actions reguired attention and appruval by
              Department personnel: in addition, all typee of actions for Senior Executive
              amsideration required Departmental and inmc&instancesO~appruval.
              Thus, it would be impossible for me to have taken whimsical, hasty, or
              hiproper actions.




                      Page45                                                       GAO/OGIMJO43PemonnelPractices
                      Appendix IX
                      CmnmenC From the Former Director      of the
                      U.S Fish and Wildlife Service




                                                        Page 2   of 12


                 The Service had operated under a Prcgrm Managemnt System frun 1973-1986
Se& comment 1.   wherebysevenseparatebodieswithintheSemicehadpmgmnmnageInent
                 authoritycmxal1Semic.e         functions, whichresulted     inthelackofability
                 Of~Servicetomeetthedeadlinesorneedsofpermitissuingand
                 mmagme&oftheresaurces           and thus there was much criticism      of the Service.
                 ~ofmyprimaryd3j~ivesasDirectorwastoabolishthissystem~
                 replace itwithaline-staff        organization, which1 successfully
                 accunplished.     lhis action was widely reccgnizedasaneeAedinpxwvementt0
                 theserVice;    itwaswell     reoeivedbymostoftheaver7000Service~loyeea
                 withintheagency,as~intheGAoreport.~~,changeiaMt
                 withart rqemussicm in any organization.         Individualsthatpreviouslyhad
                 programmaMgerment~lostthat~,andthestatusquowasupsetwlthin
                 theagency-aneededcharqethatwas~by                      scxneofthosethatlcst
                 their power. mo~to~lementachangeofthismagnitude,Ineeded
                 Bubstantidlshort-tennassistancefmmindiv~dualsthatsupportedand
                 understoodtheline-staffmaMgementsystem,andnerdedtofMnewpositi~
                 for others to best make use of their managementcapabilities.
                 meaboli~toftheProgram~gement~~resultedintheaboli~t
                 of 57 UMecessary paper shuffling and staff positions in the Washbqtun
See comment 1.   Office, which saved $4.2 million of Se&ice resaurcemaMgementfunds.       ?hese
                 positions and soms of the individuals wee transfenxd to tb field.      The
                 Sexvice did not receiveReduction    inFomeauthority,    so inscm cases
                 special amcessionswere~~deto      ensurethatthe&angefrcmtheProgram
                 Managment to line-staff  organization oazarrd as smoothly as possible.
                 Themajoroqanizational~e             noted abovewas recognizedboth inside aM
                 uat8idetheService      as apositivear%Aneededaction.       Hcmever, theG?Grepcrt
See comment 1,   fails to reccgnize the significance of this reorganization as it relates to
                 thepersomelactionskeirx~questioned         inthe report.    For example, the
                 Program Managers had their special staff assistants, but these positions are
                 mtcxmsideredinthe~ardataand                analysis providedintheGAOrepcrt.

                 !Ihaf+Ompcrtcontains         a surprising lack of factual information, anda
                 confusirrgardconflictingpresfmta          tion of the little     infonnaticm available.
                 Sinca the investigators      could find little     factual information, they resorted
                 to speculation, and mbmquently treat this speculation as though it was
                 factual.    !mis is evidenced by the exce5sive use of #mses su& as (lit
See comment 2.             It "it wculd appear,*t %e beliewP and other premm@ms s&kemnts
                 r&ide           little  infomtion      but prwnotas a very biased attitude.           In an
                 efforttobeunbiafxd,         thereport     shculdclearlyseparate        speculation frun
                 fact, and deal only with factual information.            opinions, both of the
                 immstigators      and those int-emiewed, have little        relevance to the allegation
                 thatpemmnelpmctices           initiat&duringmyadininistrationwem               illegal or
                 inpmper.




                     Page 46                                                    GAO/GGD-8043 Personnel Practices
                             Comments From the Former Director      of the
                             US Fish and Wildlife Service




                                                             Page   3   of 12


                      Fortherecoxd,     alltheactions    inveatigat&intheGA0reportwem,           in
See cohment   3.      fact, legal and proper. Allwereapprwedbyeithera              I+?Bamd specialist
                      in the Service, or by officials    at the Deparhnentlevel.      Therefore, if
                      inprcprietiesamprcperlydehmimd             thentheG?~0repxtshaildfocuson
                      amzctirrJthesepmcticesatthe&pkmant                of Interior or Office of
                      Persomel Managemsnt levels.
                      The m             negative bias of this report is evidenced further in the
                      m&hod used to obtain the speculative information.                  Uniform and unbiased
                      informaticn was not obtained. RAherthanrardaninterviews,selective
                      intervia~swemheldwith           only27 of the 7OOOSemiceen@oyees,mc&ofWhan
                      mrenegativelyinpactedbythechangefruntheFmgramKinagemnttoline-
                      8taff;manyoftheindividudlsirrtervi~~dnatsupportthis~~
                      ~i~~ereforep~idedthenegative                          info~tiondesiredbythe
See comment 4.                           Inaddltlon,     thetypEs      of questlomasled,        thetone  ofthe
                      questioner,&theenvinmment                inwhichtheintemiemmrehelddidbiasto
                      the infoltnlaticn Ts-eszeived. Likewise, themethodinwhichthemspcmeswere
                      mcordedandtheselectionof             informationonwhichtobasethereport
                      hcmasedthepcssibilityofmisrep               resentationandmisin~retationof
                      emplcyes pfxceptions.
                      Ofgreatconcem         tomearetbe      llumxmsewnples~,eVeninthe-
                      ofevidence      ofinprcpriety,orwlaen~GPL)investigatons~tthatthe
                      evidenceisunclear,thecADinvestigatorsinplyorconcludethatI                        acted
                      iqroperly.        IneveryinstancewhereFederal~ationsorcongressional
                      authorities weal discussed, theGA0investigators&osetointerp~tho@
See comment 5.        daa.mmU inthenr.mtrestrictivemanner,                even thaqh alternative
                      interprMxitionsareusedbyothers.               Severalofthealleged       inp3rcperactions
                      tbkt-e not taken by me; for maple,           their questioning    of the swior   Executive
                      eintment        to Ft. Collins was initiated       at W Department level, and ths 12
                      Senior Biologist positions wlere totally under the purview of the respective
                      rCegionalDirectors(PlppendixV).           !I& entire discussion on page 9 of the
Now on pp. 5 and 23   Drarr~~isunrela~tomyactions,yetitremainsaspartof~
                      loport.     !ihxe sectionsthatdonotrelatetomyactions                 shculdbedeleted
                      franthed-t.
                      IheplrpaseofaGAOreportshculdbetoshedli~toncertainissues.
                      Unfortunately, thesubjectreportdoesjusttheopposite.                   Insectionafhr
                      section the investigators     state that *@it is unc1ea.P (Page 8, last line: Page
See comment 6.        11, 1st paragraph; pase 12, 1st line), We believel* (page 11 1st mph)
                      or %e questioner (page 6, 2nd paragram; page 10, 3rd line), "in cur cpinion"
                       (page 10 line l), %e believe are guesLionablef~ (page 10, 2nd paragraph), and
                      soonthmqhmtthedocmen            t. If these sections of the report cannotpmvide
                      factual data orreachunbiased       conclusions, theyshouldkedeleted.              If the
                      GPISimmtigatms       cannotreacha    coriclusionaftertheir        reviewofthe
                      legislation   and da=uments, of what value is this information in the report
                      except to unfairly bias the reader? Theseju&mentalopinionsbytheGA0
                      invfzstigators are inapprupriateandunwarranted.            IneachcaseMxxethe
                      corclusionisunclear,      *GA0     investigatomassume        guilt on my part and this
                      is grossly unfair.




                            Page 47                                                    GAO/GGD9O43      Personnel   Practices
                              Appendix    IX
                              Cmnnenta From the Former Director       of the
                              U.8 Fish and Wildlife   Service




                                                                Page 4   of 12


                    Acational         detailed     n?spamBtotheallegationsara~inedinthe
See Comment 7       atbdmmk.              Iiahevw,     I will  EJlmnarizebyBtatilythatthep~ofthe
                    report:
                                          failed to understand or cmdck           the inpact that a major
                                          reo~zationhasonperscmaalacticme;
                                          failedtofindanybodyoffaobudldatatosubstantiatetheir
                                          allegations of inpmper pemonml action;
                                  -       made exteneive uee of epeculatim         and peseptions     in lieu of
                                          factual infonnation;ard
                                  m       therefomhavedmwn          ircormctand      inagiprcpriateconclusions
                                          inmoainstances.
                    Aftermadingyourdmftreport,1canCmlyanc1udethattheGpD
                    investigato~hwe       foummthingof      suktarm     ard, failing to fM          anythiq
                    ofsuhtmoe,have        insteadfocueedonspeculativejaur.naliem.              I sincerely
                    hcpethatyouwillremve          the speczulaticmandcpinicm      frunyourreport,           and
                    ackke6e only factualinfomationrelatedtotho6epemond.                    actionsthat
                    factual informationconcludeewereilleqal         andthatwere       initiatdbyme.
                    FUrtber, please restrict     your ccmentstothosreactiaEs,fortichIwasthe
                    responeible official.      Fexhapewiththese    revir3icm3, ycur repoztwillbemo~
                    accurate and more nbwhgfd.




                    Attachments:
                       1 742b. USFWS(b) JBtabliehmmt
                           of Director
See comment 8         2 Official    chart of USFWS
                      3 Wcammdd substitution       for
                           GWAppendixII
                      4 F%smmxM Substitution for
                           GAOmix         III
                      5 CmmntsonAppedxIV




                Y




                              Page 48                                                     GAO/GGD-90-43 Personnel Practices
               Appendix IX
               Comments From the Former Director   of the
               U.8 Fish and Wildlife Service




               The following are GAO'S supplemental comments on the Former Director
               of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s letter dated October 31, 1989.

               1. We agree that the 1986 FWSnational office reorganization was a sig-
GA6 Comments   nificant change. According to the FWSofficials we interviewed, the
               change was generally well received in FWS, and we recognizethis at vari-
               ous places in the report. At the same time, many of the 22 positions of
               concern to us and many of the personnel practices of concern to various
               top-level FVVS officials were unrelated to the national office reorganiza-
               tion In fact, only 1 of the 22 positions resulted from that reorganization.
               2. We based our report both on a review of testimonial evidence and
               pertinent supporting documentation. Where testimonial evidence was
               the best evidence available and therefore was used, it represents the
               views of FWS’ top-level officials, including the acting director, deputy
               and assistant directors, and various regional directors and their assist-
               ants. We did, nonetheless,appropriately qualify our observations and
               conclusions to make them consistent with the evidence available and to
               recognizethat the creation of new positions is a matter of discretion of
               an agency head, subject to relevant laws, regulations, and guidance.

               3. Although we generally agree that most of Mr. Dunkle’s personnel
               actions were legal and within his discretion as an agency head, we do
               not agree that the assignment of a senior executive to a nonfederal
               organization received required Interior approval. In addition, the assign-
               ment was made without the controls and protections set forth in the IPA,
               its implementing regulations and OPM guidance. Also, we question cer-
               tain assignmentsof ScheduleC political appointees who were super-
               vised daily by a career employee.
               4. Our comments are based on interviews with 27 top-level officials at
               FWS,including the acting director, deputy director-line, most assistant
               directors, selected regional directors, and other selected regional offi-
               cials at the SES,GM-15 and GM-14 level. As requested by the Subcommit-
               tee, we summarized both their positive and negative views on Mr.
               Dunkle’s managementpractices. Twenty-two of these officials had con-
               cerns about certain of those practices.
               5. On the basis of evidence we gathered, we do question the propriety of
               certain actions taken during Mr. Dunkle’s tenure. We agree that Mr.
               Dunkle’s appointment to the Fort Collins position was initiated by Inte-
               rior and approved by OPM. We do not agree, however, that the regional


               Page 49                                          GAO/GGD-99-43   Personnel   Practices




                                                            .
Commenta From the Former Director   of the
U.8 F’ish and WildlIfe Service




directors initiated the action to establish senior biologist positions.
Rather, Mr. Dunkle specifically directed, in August 1988, that the
regional directors create senior biologist positions to accommodatethose
individuals who would not be selected for associatemanager positions,
as we state on pages 6 and 27 of the report.
6. Seeour comment 3 above. Also, the pages cited by Mr. Dunkle have
changed and can now be found in appendix V.
7. On the basis of evidence we gathered and for the reasons given in our
comments 1 through 6 above, we disagree with Mr. Dunkle’s summary
comments.
8. We have not included the attachments to Mr. Dunkle’s letter in our
report, Attachments 1 through 3 provided information already included,
in different form, in the report. Attachment 4, a suggestedcomparison
of special/confidential assistant positions created by Mr. Dunkle and his
two immediate predecessors,excluded all new SESpositions resulting
from the 1986 national office reorganization. While we agree that the
total number of positions did not increase, we believe these positions
should be included becausethey were newly created and becausewe
have included similar positions for the previous two FWSdirectors.
Attachment 6 provides Mr. Dunkle’s detailed comments on the 22 posi-
tions of concern to us. Mr. Dunkle’s comments are similar to those made
by Interior, which are evaluated in appendix VII. In addition, he pro-
vided reasons for creating certain positions and the procedures he fol-
lowed in doing so, which we recognizeat the appropriate places in our
report.




Page 50                                      GAO/GGD90-43   Personnel   F%acticea
Appetdix X

M#or Contributors to This Report


                          James T. Campbell, Assistant Director, Federal Human Resource
Genbral Government          ManagementIssues
Divjsion, Washington,     James J. Grace, Evaluator-in-Charge
DLL                       Carrie Watkins, Evaluator
                          Don D. Allison, PersonnelSpecialist
                          Nellie Shamlin, Secretary

                          Jill Sayre, Attorney-Adviser
Office of the General
Counsel, Washington,
DC,

                          Aurelio P. Simon, RegionalAssignment Manager
Seattle Regional Office




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