oversight

GPRA: Managerial Accountability and Flexibility Pilot Did Not Work As Intended

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-04-10.

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

                United States General Accounting Office

GAO             Report to Congressional Committees




April 1997
                GPRA
                Managerial
                Accountability and
                Flexibility Pilot Did
                Not Work As Intended




GAO/GGD-97-36
             United States
GAO          General Accounting Office
             Washington, D.C. 20548

             General Government Division

             B-275511

             April 10, 1997

             The Honorable Fred D. Thompson
             Chairman
             The Honorable John Glenn
             Ranking Minority Member
             Committee on Governmental Affairs
             United States Senate

             The Honorable Dan Burton
             Chairman
             The Honorable Henry A. Waxman
             Ranking Minority Member
             Committee on Government Reform and Oversight
             House of Representatives

             Congress intended for the Government Performance and Results Act
             (GPRA) to fundamentally shift the focus of federal management and
             accountability from a preoccupation with rigid adherence to prescribed
             processes to a focus on achieving desired outcomes and results. In crafting
             GPRA, Congress recognized that if federal managers were to be held
             accountable for achieving results, they would need the authority and
             flexibility to achieve those results. GPRA provides for a series of pilot
             projects so that federal agencies can gain experience in using the act’s
             provisions and provide lessons to other agencies before GPRA’s
             governmentwide implementation, which is to begin in the fall of 1997. One
             set of these GPRA pilot projects focused on managerial accountability and
             flexibility.

             This report was developed in partial response to GPRA’s requirement that
             we report on the act’s implementation during the initial pilot phase—fiscal
             years 1994 to 1996—and on the prospects for its governmentwide
             implementation. Our objectives were to (1) determine whether the
             managerial accountability and flexibility pilot worked as intended and the
             reasons why it did or did not and (2) identify the lessons learned from this
             pilot and their possible implications for governmentwide implementation
             of GPRA.


             The experiences of foreign governments that are considered leaders in
Background   implementing results-oriented management reforms, such as such as
             Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, have suggested
             that substantial improvements in performance are possible when



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managers are provided with expanded authority over spending, human
resource, and other management functions while being held more
accountable for achieving results.1 Congress was aware of the experiences
of these foreign governments—and the similar experiences of some state
and local governments in the United States—when it developed GPRA.

As one avenue of providing managers with needed authority and
flexibility, GPRA allows agencies to propose, and the Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) to approve, waivers of certain nonstatutory
administrative requirements and controls. A waiver proposal must
describe and quantify any anticipated effects on an agency’s performance
and be endorsed by the agency that imposed the requirement or control.
These waivers could include the delegation of additional procurement
authority to line managers or the lifting of limitations on personnel
compensation and remuneration by central management agencies.
However, GPRA does not provide any new authority to waive statutory
requirements. 2 Finally, GPRA does not provide any new authorities to any
agency to waive requirements, nor does it restrict or redefine waiver
authorities already in existence. However, if an agency has authority under
a law other than GPRA to waive a statutory requirement or control, it may
do so and only needs to satisfy the requirements of that law.

Under GPRA, managerial accountability and flexibility waivers were to be
piloted during fiscal years 1995 and 1996. OMB was to select at least five
agencies to participate in the managerial accountability and flexibility pilot
from among the eligible GPRA performance planning and reporting agencies
during fiscal years 1994 to 1996. (See app. I for an overview of GPRA,
including the pilot phases.) Agency proposals to OMB were to identify the
requirement or control to be waived, quantify how relief from the control
or requirement was expected to affect performance, and compare the
anticipated performance improvements with (1) current performance
levels and (2) levels that could be expected without the waiver.

Agency proposals for participation in this phase of the GPRA pilot process
were to be sent to OMB for consideration. OMB would not approve a waiver
request unless it was endorsed by the agency that established the
requirement—for example, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the

1
 See Managing for Results: Experiences Abroad Suggest Insights for Federal Management Reforms
(GAO/GGD-95-120, May 2, 1995).
2
 The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs report that accompanied GPRA specified that the act
does not authorize waivers of any regulation promulgated in accordance with the Administrative
Procedures Act, unless the public notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedures
Act are satisfied (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.).



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                   General Services Administration (GSA), or the Department of the
                   Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS). OMB was then to use the
                   relevant central management agency’s endorsement of waiver requests in
                   deciding whether to designate a line agency as a managerial accountability
                   and flexibility pilot.3


                   The GPRA managerial accountability and flexibility pilot did not work as
Results in Brief   intended. OMB did not designate any of the 7 departments and 1
                   independent agency that submitted a total of 61 waiver proposals as GPRA
                   managerial accountability and flexibility pilots. For about three-quarters of
                   the waiver proposals, OMB or other central management agencies
                   determined that the waivers were not allowable for statutory or other
                   reasons or that the requirement for which the waivers were proposed no
                   longer existed. For the remaining proposals, OMB or other central
                   management agencies approved waivers or developed compromises by
                   using authorities that were already available independent of GPRA.

                   Three major factors contributed to the failure of GPRA’s managerial
                   accountability and flexibility pilot phase to work as intended. First,
                   changes in federal management practices and laws that occurred after
                   GPRA was enacted affected agencies’ need for the GPRA process. These
                   changes included the elimination of the bulk of the Federal Personnel
                   Manual, which provided instructions and guidance on virtually every facet
                   of government employment, and the enactment of the Federal Workforce
                   Restructuring Act. This act established a new personnel ceiling for all of
                   the executive branch, which had the effect of limiting OMB’s ability to
                   waive agency personnel ceilings established in the budget. With a statutory
                   cap on the number of executive branch employees being set, OMB believed
                   it would not be able to manage the federal government’s full-time
                   equivalent (FTE) reductions while ensuring that downsizing statutory
                   requirements were met if one or more agencies were given the authority to
                   exceed their FTE limits.

                   Second, GPRA was not the only means by which agencies could receive
                   waivers from administrative requirements, and thereby obtain needed
                   managerial flexibility. For example, as previously noted, a number of
                   waivers that were initially proposed as part of the GPRA process were
                   approved under authorities existing independent of GPRA. Moreover, under
                   the National Performance Review (NPR), about 185 reinvention labs were



                   3
                    For a more detailed description of GPRA’s requirements, see appendix I.



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created.4 The goal of the reinvention lab effort was similar to that of the
GPRA managerial accountability and flexibility provision—in essence, to
improve performance by providing managers with added operational
authority. However, obtaining a waiver as a reinvention lab was easier
than using the GPRA process. For example, in contrast to GPRA, agencies
obtaining waivers through the reinvention labs were not required to show
how, and the degree to which, program performance would be changed as
the result of receiving a waiver.

Third, OMB did not work actively with agencies that were seeking to take
part in the managerial accountability and flexibility pilot, in contrast to its
more proactive posture toward other GPRA requirements, such as the pilots
for the performance planning and reporting requirements. As of
November 1996, almost 11 months after OMB had received the
endorsements by the central management agencies, OMB had not formally
notified two of the eight agencies that nine of their requested waivers had
been approved outside of the GPRA pilot process or that a compromise had
been developed. According to officials in those agencies, in the absence of
formal notification from OMB, they continued to operate under the old
requirements, even though they were not required to do so. Overall,
officials in five of the eight agencies that submitted a waiver proposal to
OMB said that they never received (1) feedback from OMB on the status of
their waiver proposals; (2) notification of specific concerns that OMB may
have had about the quality and scope of the proposals; or, most important,
(3) explicit instructions from OMB on how their proposals could be
improved to better meet OMB’s expectations. However, under the
performance planning and reporting pilot, OMB assessed the strengths and
weaknesses of agency proposals and suggested ways to improve them.

Even though the pilot process did not result in any GPRA-authorized
waivers and thus did not work as intended, the process provided lessons
for agencies and may have important implications for governmentwide
GPRA implementation. While preparing their waiver requests, several
participating agencies learned that the burdens and constraints that
confronted their managers often were imposed by the agency itself or its
parent department and were not the result of requirements imposed by
central management agencies. The administration’s effort to develop
federal management “templates” that, in part, document the range of

4
 NPR is the administration’s major management reform initiative and has issued recommendations
intended to make the government “work better and cost less.” A key part of that initiative has been the
establishment of reinvention labs, which are designed to test ways that agencies could improve their
performance and customer service by reengineering work processes and eliminating unnecessary
regulations. See Management Reform: Status of Agency Reinvention Lab Efforts (GAO/GGD-96-69,
Mar. 20, 1996) for our assessment of the status of NPR’s efforts to encourage reinvention labs.



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                     flexibility agencies have under existing central management agency
                     requirements is a promising means for disseminating knowledge about
                     available flexibility among federal agencies.5

                     In addition, the pilot experience should provide useful information for
                     Congress to consider as GPRA is implemented governmentwide. The report
                     of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, which accompanied the
                     act, recognized that the limited nature of the flexibility waivers authorized
                     by GPRA may not be sufficient to enable managers to address barriers to
                     improved performance. However, the report stated that neither the Senate
                     Committee nor the agencies were able to identify the statutory and other
                     controls for which waivers should be considered. In addition, the report
                     urged OMB to develop (1) a list of possible statutory barriers to improved
                     program performance that Congress may wish to consider modifying or
                     abolishing and (2) an analysis of the performance benefits and other
                     effects that legislative changes would produce. The relatively large number
                     of proposals to waive statutory requirements should be helpful to OMB in
                     fulfilling these tasks.


                     To meet our two objectives of (1) determining whether the managerial
Objectives, Scope,   accountability and flexibility pilot worked as intended and the reasons
and Methodology      that it did or did not and (2) identifying the lessons learned from this pilot
                     and possible implications for governmentwide implementation of the GPRA
                     managerial accountability and flexibility provision, we first reviewed GPRA
                     and its legislative history to determine congressional intent. We
                     interviewed the OMB official who managed the GPRA waiver process and
                     OMB’s review of the 61 waiver proposals. At the other central management
                     agencies—GSA, OPM, and FMS—we interviewed officials and reviewed
                     documents to determine each agency’s role in the waiver process. We
                     reviewed guidance on the scope of allowable and unallowable waiver
                     proposals that OMB and the other central management agencies had
                     developed for line agencies. We also reviewed documents showing the
                     agencies’ proposals, management agencies’ decisions on the proposals,
                     and the reasons for those decisions. However, we did not assess the final
                     waiver determinations made by OMB and the other central management
                     agencies on whether the pilot agencies’ waiver proposals should or should
                     not have been approved.


                     5
                      These templates are being developed as part of the administration’s initiative to create Performance
                     Based Organizations (PBO). The PBO initiative is intended to give agencies that deliver measurable
                     services a greater degree of autonomy from governmentwide rules in exchange for greater
                     accountability for achieving results.



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We supplemented our work at the central management agencies by
interviewing officials from the 28 agencies participating as GPRA
performance planning and reporting pilots that were eligible to develop
waivers. An additional seven performance planning and reporting pilots
were designated too late to participate in the managerial accountability
and flexibility waiver pilot. The 28 eligible agencies had a total of 70
individual pilots or components that were involved in the performance
planning and reporting pilot phase. (See app. II for a list of these eligible
performance planning and reporting pilot organizations.) We interviewed
officials in 68 of these 70 organizations. (The remaining two organizations
could not identify a knowledgeable official for us to interview.) For the
majority of the performance planning and reporting pilots, our discussions
focused on identifying the reasons that a waiver proposal was not
submitted to OMB for consideration.

For the 14 of the 70 organizations, representing 8 agencies, that did submit
a waiver proposal, we conducted more in-depth interviews and reviewed
documents to determine how those agencies developed their proposals,
what were the characteristics of the waiver proposals, and how much
interaction agency officials had with OMB and the other central
management agencies after the proposals were submitted. (See app. III for
the results of these 14 organizations’ waiver proposals.)

We also reviewed our recent and ongoing work on GPRA and related
management reform efforts to help identify the implications of the GPRA
managerial accountability and flexibility pilot process for governmentwide
implementation of GPRA. A list of our recent reports related to these issues
is at the end of this report.

We conducted our review from December 1995 to February 1997 in
Washington, D.C., in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards. We obtained written comments on the draft of this
report from the Office of Management and Budget. These comments and
our evaluation are discussed on pages 17 and 18, and the OMB letter is
reprinted in appendix IV.




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                                        Of the 70 organizations participating in the performance planning and
OMB Did Not Select                      reporting pilot phase and eligible to participate as managerial
Any Agencies as                         accountability and flexibility pilots, 14—from 8 independent
Managerial                              agencies—submitted 61 waiver proposals to OMB. However, OMB did not
                                        designate any of the agencies as pilots for GPRA’s managerial accountability
Accountability and                      and flexibility provision. Figure 1 shows the results of the central
Flexibility Pilots                      management agencies’ decisions—including OMB’s—on the 61 GPRA waiver
                                        proposals.


Figure 1: Results of Waiver Proposals

                                                                                Not allowable under
                                                                                GPRA - 35

                                                                                Approved outside of
                                                                                GPRA - 9




                                                                                Compromise
                                                                                developed - 7



                                                                                Requirement
                                                                                eliminated - 5


                                                                                No decision - 4


                                                                                Proposal
                                                                                withdrawn - 1
                                         N = 61




                                        Sources: OMB, GSA, OPM, and FMS data.




                                        Of the 61 waiver proposals, OMB and the other central management
                                        agencies found 35 not to be allowable under GPRA for statutory or other
                                        reasons. (App. III provides a listing of the 61 waiver proposals and the
                                        decisions of the central management agencies.) Of the remaining 26 of the
                                        61 waiver proposals, 9 were approved by relevant central management




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agencies using authorities existing independently of GPRA. For example,
the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) had four waiver proposals approved by
GSA outside of the GPRA pilot process under GSA’s existing authority. Also,
Treasury’s FMS granted one waiver outside of the pilot, which was initially
proposed as part of the GPRA pilot, for the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing to convert disbursements to foreign currencies through
commercial banks rather than through U.S. embassies. For an additional 7
of the 26 waiver proposals, an office in OMB developed a compromise with
the proposing agencies. The compromises generally streamlined and
expedited, but did not remove, OMB’s review and approval of agencies’
customer surveys. For 5 of the remaining 10 waiver proposals, the
requirement for which the waiver had been proposed was eliminated
through other initiatives, making a waiver unnecessary. For example,
some of the proposals asked for a waiver of requirements that GSA
eliminated for all agencies. No decisions were made on four other waiver
proposals, and one proposal was withdrawn.

These 26 waivers and compromises were not carried out under the GPRA
process because the act does not require an agency to use its provision as
the exclusive means for obtaining a waiver for an increase in managerial
flexibility. As long as the separate authority exists, GPRA does not prevent
line and central management agencies from agreeing on waivers outside of
the GPRA pilot process. Therefore, central management agencies were able
to approve these waivers and compromises under their independent
authority, even though OMB believed that the line agencies’ proposals did
not satisfy the GPRA requirements because they did not (1) show
sufficiently how the waivers would help agency performance and
(2) quantify the degree to which performance would be changed.

Of the 35 waiver proposals that OMB and the other central management
agencies found not to be allowable under the GPRA pilot, the majority, or 25
proposals, sought waivers of statutory requirements. An additional 9 of the
35 waiver proposals were not allowable because the agencies were
requesting waivers from nonstatutory requirements that the central
management agencies were not authorized to grant. The remaining
proposal was denied because granting it would contradict the central
management agency’s policy. Figure 2 shows the reasons that the 35
proposals were not allowable under GPRA.




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Figure 2: Reasons That the 35
Proposals Were Not Allowable Under
GPRA                                                                            Statutory requirement - 25




                                                                                Not grantable by central
                                                                                management agencies - 9




                                                                                Not permissible by agency
                                                                                policy - 1
                                     N = 35




                                     Sources: OMB, GSA, OPM, and FMS data.




                                     According to the information furnished by the central management
                                     agencies, of the 25 proposals that sought waivers of statutory
                                     requirements, 8 requested waivers of human resource requirements that
                                     can only be waived as an OPM-designated demonstration project authorized
                                     under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.6

                                     An additional 9 of the 35 waiver proposals that OMB and the other central
                                     management agencies found not to be allowable under GPRA were not
                                     allowable because the agencies were requesting waivers from
                                     nonstatutory requirements that the central management agencies were not
                                     authorized to grant. Of these nine proposals, three were for waivers of
                                     Government Printing Office printing requirements that, according to OMB,
                                     could only be granted by the Congressional Joint Committee on Printing.
                                     OMB could not consider granting waivers from government printing


                                     6
                                      Demonstration projects are meant to allow agencies to use alternative ways to implement personnel
                                     functions, such as hiring, pay, and performance management, and to show the feasibility of the
                                     application of these alternatives to other agencies.



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                           requirements since GPRA’s managerial accountability and flexibility
                           provision applied only to executive branch agencies, not legislative
                           agencies. The remaining proposal of the 35 was denied by FMS because
                           granting a waiver that would create the appearance of currency
                           speculation is not permissible by FMS policy.


                           Changes to federal management practices that have been undertaken since
Continuing Federal         GPRA was enacted reduced the need for the GPRA waiver mechanism.
Management Reform          According to agency officials both in agencies that submitted waiver
Efforts Reduced the        proposals and those agencies that did not, these changes in federal
                           management practices, in some cases, addressed the central barriers to
Need for the GPRA          agencies’ improved performance. For example, as previously noted, five of
Waiver Process             the proposals submitted to OMB sought waivers from requirements that
                           were eliminated for all agencies, thereby making waivers unnecessary. The
                           following reform efforts are examples of changes in federal management
                           practices that limited the use of the GPRA waiver process.


The Elimination of the     OPM eliminated the Federal Personnel Manual as part of its NPR reinvention
Federal Personnel Manual   effort in January 1994. Before its elimination, the approximately
                           10,000-page manual provided instructions and guidance on virtually every
                           facet of government employment, including a section specifying how
                           federal employees should label file folders. The manual’s elimination and
                           other initiatives were designed to provide federal managers with the
                           flexibility needed to (1) determine the work processes that would enhance
                           the agencies’ performance and ability to meet their missions and (2) hire
                           the staff that would best implement those work processes.


Enactment of the Federal   About 22 percent, or 15, of the 68 organizations we contacted told us that
Workforce Restructuring    they had planned to seek waivers under GPRA from OMB’s administrative
Act                        controls over agencies’ FTE staffing ceilings.7 According to officials in the
                           GPRA performance planning and reporting pilot agencies, FTE controls
                           could be barriers to improving an agency’s performance because such
                           controls may limit its flexibility in allocating resources in the most
                           efficient way possible. For example, some agencies whose costs are
                           covered by fees collected for services said that the FTE controls prevented
                           them from hiring additional staff to help improve their agencies’
                           performance, even though they had the funds to pay the additional staff. In

                           7
                            An FTE consists of one or more employed individuals who collectively complete 2,080 work hours in
                           a given year. Therefore, both one full-time employee and two half-time employees equal one FTE.



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                    fact, GPRA specifically mentions “specification of personnel staffing levels”
                    as a possible area for waivers that could be available to pilot agencies.

                    However, the Federal Workforce Restructuring Act, which was enacted
                    after GPRA, established new FTE ceilings for the executive branch of the
                    federal government and required reductions in the federal workforce
                    totaling 272,900 FTEs by fiscal year 1999. Although the act did not set FTE
                    ceilings for individual agencies, an increase in the FTE levels of any one
                    agency would need to be met by offsetting reductions of FTEs in other
                    agencies. As a result, OMB concluded, at that time, that it could not manage
                    the governmentwide FTE reduction requirements if one or more agencies
                    were given the authority to exceed their FTE limits. Therefore, OMB’s
                    guidance discouraged agencies from seeking such waivers, and, as a
                    result, of the three waiver proposals requesting relief from the FTE
                    limitations, OMB did not approve the two proposals it received, and OPM did
                    not approve the one proposal it received from OMB. Officials from agencies
                    that did not submit any waiver proposals, as well as officials from those
                    agencies that did submit proposals, cited the exclusion of FTE ceilings as a
                    factor that limited the usefulness of the GPRA managerial accountability
                    and flexibility pilot process.


                    Since GPRA did not convey any new authority to waive rules or alter any
Agencies Used       existing authorities, agencies were able to use another mechanism to
Another Mechanism   obtain needed managerial flexibility. Under NPR, 26 federal departments,
to Obtain Some      agencies, and other federal entities were participating in about 185 NPR
                    reinvention labs. The reinvention labs, like GPRA’s managerial
Waivers             accountability and flexibility provisions, were to be agency-level efforts
                    designed to test ways agencies could improve performance and customer
                    service by reengineering work processes and eliminating unnecessary
                    regulations. Many of the waiver requests developed by the reinvention labs
                    were targeted at the same types of requirements that could be waived
                    under GPRA. From our review on the status of the reinvention labs, we
                    determined that about 32.4 percent, or 317, of 977 waivers that had been
                    requested by the labs were directed at obtaining relief from rules imposed
                    by central management agencies, including OMB, GSA, and OPM.8 Over
                    30 percent, or 97, of these 317 requests had been approved at the time we
                    did our review, and decisions on an additional 41 percent, or 130, were
                    pending.


                    8
                     About another 52 percent of the waiver requests were directed at agency-specific rules, while the
                    remaining 16 percent were directed at other sources (e.g., executive memorandums). See
                    GAO/GGD-96-69, page 39.



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                      An agency seeking a waiver generally found that it was much easier to
                      take another avenue, such as to become an NPR lab, than it was to obtain a
                      waiver under GPRA. Unlike the agencies submitting waiver proposals under
                      the GPRA pilot process, NPR reinvention lab agencies negotiated directly
                      with the central management agency that imposed a requirement, thereby
                      seeking relief under the management agency’s existing waiver authority
                      without OMB’s involvement in the process. Also, labs were not required,
                      before they could be approved, to show how and the degree to which their
                      performance would change as a result of receiving added flexibility.
                      Finally, labs were not required to subsequently report on the effectiveness
                      of their use of a waiver in improving performance and service to
                      customers.


                      OMB  did not actively work with agencies on their managerial accountability
OMB Contributed to    and flexibility proposals to (1) provide feedback, (2) notify the agencies of
Pilot Phase’s Not     specific concerns, or (3) provide explicit instructions, especially after it
Working as Intended   received those waiver proposals and concluded that they did not meet
                      GPRA requirements. According to an OMB official, the waiver proposals did
by Not Actively       not reflect well thought-out efforts on the part of the agencies to identify
Working With          requirements that significantly hindered their ability to achieve their
                      missions and goals. In addition, according to OMB, in some cases the
Agencies              agencies did not adequately research the requirements from which they
                      were seeking waivers. As evidence, OMB pointed to the relatively large
                      number of requests for exemptions from statutory requirements, which are
                      not allowable under GPRA. OMB believed that the calculations of projected
                      changes in performance either were lacking or, in many instances, were of
                      such minimal nature as to not merit, by themselves, designating a pilot.
                      Overall, OMB believed that the proposals it received were generally limited
                      to seeking waivers from minor annoyances rather than significant barriers
                      to improved performance.

                      However, OMB also did not consistently provide feedback to the agencies
                      that submitted waiver proposals. Officials from all eight of the agencies
                      that submitted waiver proposals requested feedback from OMB. Officials
                      from 5 of the 8 agencies—covering 45 of the 61 waiver proposals—said
                      that they never received (1) feedback from OMB on the status of their
                      waiver proposals, (2) notification of specific concerns that OMB may have
                      had about the quality and scope of those proposals, or (3) explicit
                      guidance from OMB on how their proposals could be improved to better
                      meet OMB’s expectations.




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OMB believed that an aggressive effort to work with the pilot agencies to
improve the quality and scope of the proposed waivers would not have
been fruitful. On the basis of its 1994 reviews of agencies’ initial GPRA
performance plans under the performance planning and reporting GPRA
pilot phase, OMB believed that most pilot agencies had made only limited
progress in setting program goals, developing performance measures, and
managing on the basis of those goals and measures. As a result, OMB
concluded, the pilot agencies were not in a position to successfully
undertake an added step of determining whether, and the degree to which,
changes in their processes would help the agencies better achieve
program goals. OMB’s conclusion, which was made, in general, without
attempting to work with the agencies to confirm that they could not
develop more comprehensive waiver proposals, was a major factor that
led OMB not to work with the majority of the agencies to try to produce
what it would consider to be a more acceptable set of proposals.

OMB’s approach to the waiver pilot process differed significantly from its
approach to the performance planning and reporting pilot process. For
example, under the planning and reporting pilots, OMB issued a summary
assessment of the agencies’ fiscal year 1994 performance plans. This
assessment included a discussion of the plans’ strengths and weaknesses
and additional actions the agencies needed to take to improve these plans.

In addition, as of November 1996, almost 11 months after receiving the
central management agencies’ endorsements, OMB had not formally
notified two of the eight agencies that for nine of their requested waivers,
the central management agencies had either approved them outside of the
GPRA pilot process, or a compromise had been developed. Therefore, the
relevant performance pilots in these two agencies—Treasury’s Internal
Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services’
Office of Child Support Enforcement—continued to operate under the old
requirements, according to officials.

In contrast, an official at DLA said that the agency learned that it had been
granted waivers outside of the GPRA pilot process when officials
questioned OMB in June 1996, which was about 8 months after GSA
approved the waivers, about the status of their proposals. The Department
of Commerce was notified that OMB offered compromises to (1) a proposal
to allow for (but not specifically expedite) a customer service survey
clearance and (2) a proposal concerning the change of an in-house
function to a contract. However, Commerce did not believe that these




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                            compromises provided the flexibility desired and decided not to
                            implement them.

                            According to OMB, it informally notified agencies when waiver proposals
                            were approved or compromises were developed outside of the GPRA
                            process. However, records of these informal contacts did not exist, and
                            officials in relevant agencies could not recall such informal notifications.
                            Some of these officials also said that they would have needed formal
                            approval before they would have felt comfortable varying from required
                            procedures.


                            Even if no waivers were approved under the GPRA pilot process, the GPRA
Waiver Pilot Process        waiver pilot process provided lessons for the agencies that submitted
Provided Lessons for        waiver proposals. Several agencies, in preparing waiver proposals for
Agencies and May            external requirements, found that they first had to identify (1) the burdens
                            and constraints that confronted their managers, which often were
Help Them Implement         primarily imposed by the agency itself and not by the requirements of
GPRA                        statutes or central management agencies, and (2) the authorities that were
                            already available. Furthermore, the relatively large number of proposals to
Governmentwide              waive statutory requirements should be helpful to OMB in identifying
                            statutory barriers to agency performance. In the report of the Senate
                            Committee on Governmental Affairs that accompanied GPRA, OMB was
                            encouraged to develop a list of statutory requirements for which Congress,
                            in future legislation, should consider authorizing waivers.


Waiver Pilot Process        The GPRA managerial accountability and flexibility pilot process showed
Highlighted the Need for    that agencies were not taking full advantage of existing authorities and
Agencies to Make Full Use   flexibilities. The experiences of agencies that proposed waivers
                            underscored the fact that the major burdens and constraints that
of Existing Authorities     confronted agency managers often were imposed by the agency itself and
                            not by central management agencies. For example, one agency found that
                            most of its waiver proposals concerned requirements that its parent
                            department had imposed. The department and the agency have since
                            worked together to more fully make use of existing flexibilities. In another
                            example, a Department of Defense agency, in preparing its GPRA waiver
                            proposal, also found that most of its needed flexibilities could be granted
                            by Defense and did not require the approval of a central management
                            agency. The Department has since implemented policies and procedures
                            to streamline the process its components should take to obtain relief from
                            internally imposed requirements. The experiences of the agencies



                            Page 14                      GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
B-275511




proposing GPRA waivers are more broadly confirmed by our work on the
NPR reinvention labs. We reported that over half of the waivers that the
labs requested were for relief from requirements imposed by a lab’s own
agency.9

Agency managers also said that, in many cases, they were not sure which
federal management requirements they had to follow by law, regulation, or
administrative requirement. The managers said that the rapid and
significant changes to federal management practices that Congress and the
administration were making compounded their confusion. Therefore,
managers were uncertain which management practices and procedures
were imposed by their own agencies, eligible for a waiver under GPRA, or
based in statute.

Efforts that are under way as part of the administration’s PBO initiative are
to assist agencies in identifying the requirements they now face. Under the
initiative, a series of templates is being developed for selected
management areas, such as human resources management and
procurement.10 These templates are to describe for agencies the current
requirements, the authorities that currently exist for agencies, and the
procedures for obtaining additional flexibility. For example, the human
resources management template, which has been developed, has three
parts. The first part presents governmentwide interests, such as
accountability for adherence to merit system principles, that must be
maintained even as additional authorities are provided to agencies. The
second part provides a detailed discussion of the existing personnel
flexibilities and authorities. The third part discusses how OPM’s existing
authority to establish demonstration projects under the Civil Service
Reform Act of 1978 can be used as a vehicle to waive existing laws and
regulations. In fact, for 8 of the 11 GPRA waiver proposals that OPM denied
because they asked for a waiver from statutory or other requirements that
were beyond the scope of GPRA, OPM expressed its willingness to explore
with the requesting agency the possibility of creating a demonstration
project.




9
 GAO/GGD-96-69, page 150.
10
  The PBO initiative is based on the approach that the United Kingdom has used to create and manage
its “Next Steps” agencies. For information on Next Steps and similar reform efforts, see
GAO/GGD-95-120.



Page 15                              GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                              B-275511




Possible Statutory Barriers   The report of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs that
Identified in Waiver          accompanied GPRA recognized that the establishment of improved
Proposals Provide Baseline    performance levels may be inhibited because the act does not allow the
                              waiver of statutory requirements or controls. However, the report states
for OMB in Developing         that neither the Senate Committee nor the agencies were able to identify
Future Report                 the specific statutory requirements or controls for which a waiver should
                              be considered. These unidentified requirements or controls are to be
                              addressed, in part, by a GPRA-required report from OMB, which is due by
                              May 1, 1997, on the performance planning and reporting and managerial
                              accountability and flexibility pilot phases of GPRA. As part of that report,
                              OMB is to discuss any significant difficulties that agencies experienced in
                              developing waiver proposals.

                              The Senate Committee report urged OMB to develop (1) a list of possible
                              statutory barriers to improved program performance that Congress may
                              wish to consider modifying or abolishing and (2) an analysis of the
                              performance benefits and other effects that legislative changes would
                              produce. The waiver proposals seeking relief from statutory requirements
                              should provide a starting point for OMB’s efforts. However, according to
                              OMB, it will need to undertake a significant amount of additional analysis
                              because the agencies requesting relief from statutory requirements did not
                              adequately provide an assessment of the benefits a waiver would yield.
                              Therefore, OMB plans to work separately with the agencies to develop this
                              information for its report.


                              The GPRA managerial accountability and flexibility pilot phase did not work
Conclusion                    as intended because it did not generate the experimental waivers from
                              administrative requirements that Congress sought in crafting this provision
                              of the act. Several factors contributed to this. For example, as recognized
                              when GPRA was passed, the GPRA waiver provision does not allow central
                              management agencies or OMB to waive statutory requirements that
                              agencies saw as impediments to their ability to better manage for results.
                              Waivers from statutory requirements were not allowable under GPRA. In
                              addition, line agencies were able to obtain waivers through another
                              avenue without meeting the GPRA requirement that agencies specify the
                              direct and quantifiable improvements in their performance that would
                              result from the proposal. Agencies’ need or opportunity for waivers also
                              decreased after GPRA’s enactment as the administration and Congress
                              initiated management reforms, such as altering personnel requirements
                              and adopting federal FTE ceilings, that expanded or limited the flexibilities
                              available to federal agencies governmentwide. Finally, in part through



                              Page 16                      GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                      B-275511




                      their efforts to obtain GPRA waivers, several agencies discovered that
                      restrictive rules often were their own creation and that these rules could
                      be altered without any external waivers. The management templates now
                      under development should, if widely disseminated, assist managers in
                      identifying the requirements they face and the sources of those
                      requirements.

                      OMB did not actively work with agencies to develop waiver proposals that
                      it would find acceptable, which also undermined the pilot effort. For
                      example, OMB’s feedback to agencies was very limited, and in some cases
                      in which a waiver had been approved or a compromise had been
                      developed outside of the GPRA process, the agency was not informed. As a
                      result, some agencies were operating under procedures that were no
                      longer required.

                      As shown by the number of waiver proposals requesting relief from
                      statutory requirements, agencies continued to believe that certain
                      statutory requirements limited their abilities to better manage and
                      effectively achieve their goals and objectives. The Senate Committee on
                      Governmental Affairs recognized the possibility that statutory barriers to
                      better program management exist, and, therefore, encouraged OMB to
                      include in its May 1997 report a list of statutes for which Congress should
                      consider authorizing waivers. The requirements identified in agencies’
                      waiver proposals provide a useful starting point for that effort.


                      For those GPRA waiver proposals that a central management agency has
Recommendation to     approved or for which a compromise has been developed, we recommend
the Director of OMB   that the Director of OMB formally notify the relevant agency of the waiver
                      approval or proposed compromise so that the new flexibilities, if still
                      available, can begin to be used.


                      We requested comments on the draft of this report from the Director of
Agency Comments       OMB or his designee. On February 27, 1997, the Deputy Director for
and Our Evaluation    Management provided us with comments on the draft. In general, OMB
                      found our review to be a useful resource as the agency prepares its own
                      report to Congress on the GPRA pilot projects and confirmed that the
                      managerial accountability and flexibility pilot process had yielded some
                      useful lessons. OMB generally agreed with the draft report’s content and
                      recommendation and, as a result, plans to send letters to the participating
                      agencies notifying them of the status of their waiver proposals.



                      Page 17                     GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
B-275511




OMB also elaborated on the reasons that it did not designate any pilots from
the waiver proposals it received, noting that many of them were narrow or
applied to entities too small to have a demonstrable effect on
performance. In retrospect, according to OMB, the managerial
accountability and flexibility pilots may have followed too closely on the
heels of the performance measurement pilots to permit a meaningful—and
required—relationship between the two sets of GPRA pilots. As noted in
this report, we did not assess the final waiver determinations made by OMB
and the other central management agencies or whether waiver proposals
should or should not have been approved. However, we did note that OMB’s
approach to the waiver pilot process differed significantly from its
approach to the performance planning and reporting pilot process. Under
the planning and reporting pilots, OMB issued a summary assessment of the
agencies’ fiscal year 1994 performance plans. This assessment included a
discussion of the plans’ strengths and weaknesses and additional actions
the agencies needed to take to improve these plans. Finally, OMB suggested
additional information, such as the quality of OMB’s initial guidance to
agencies on the managerial accountability and flexibility pilot process,
that would, in OMB’s view, make the report more useful. However, we did
not include this information because our review was not designed to
collect this systematically.


We are sending copies of this report to other interested Members of
Congress; the Director and Deputy Director of OMB; officials at FMS, GSA,
and OPM; officials at GPRA pilot agencies; and other interested parties. We
also will make copies available to others on request.

Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix V. Please contact
me at (202) 512-8676 if you have any questions concerning this report.




L. Nye Stevens
Director, Federal Management and
   Workforce Issues




Page 18                      GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Page 19   GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Contents



Letter                                                                                   1


Appendix I                                                                              22

Overview of the
Government
Performance and
Results Act
Appendix II                                                                             24

Performance Pilots
Eligible to Participate
in Managerial
Accountability and
Flexibility Pilot
Appendix III                                                                            28

Central Management
Agencies’
Determinations on 61
Waivers Requested by
14 Organizations
Appendix IV                                                                             34

Comments From the
Office of Management
and Budget
Appendix V                                                                              37

Major Contributors to
This Report




                          Page 20   GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                       Contents




Related GAO Products                                                                                 40


Figures                Figure 1: Results of Waiver Proposals                                          7
                       Figure 2: Reasons That the 35 Proposals Were Not Allowable                     9
                         Under GPRA




                       Abbreviations

                       DLA        Defense Logistics Agency
                       FMS        Financial Management Service
                       FTE        full-time equivalent
                       GPO        Government Printing Office
                       GPRA       Government Performance and Results Act
                       GSA        General Services Administration
                       IRS        Internal Revenue Service
                       NPR        National Performance Review
                       OMB        Office of Management and Budget
                       OPM        Office of Personnel Management
                       PBO        Performance Based Organization


                       Page 21                   GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix I

Overview of the Government Performance
and Results Act

              The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) is the primary
              legislative framework through which agencies will be required to set
              strategic goals, measure performance, and report on the degree to which
              goals were met. It requires federal agencies to develop, no later than the
              end of fiscal year 1997, strategic plans that cover a period of at least 5
              years and that include the agency’s mission statement; identify the
              agency’s long-term strategic goals; and describe how the agency intends to
              achieve those goals through its activities and through its human, capital,
              information, and other resources. Under GPRA, agency strategic plans are
              the starting point for agencies to set annual goals for programs and to
              measure the performance of the programs in achieving those goals.

              Also, GPRA requires each agency to submit to the Office of Management
              and Budget (OMB), beginning for fiscal year 1999, an annual performance
              plan. The first annual performance plans are to be submitted in the fall of
              1997. The annual performance plan is to provide the direct linkage
              between the strategic goals outlined in the agency’s strategic plan and
              what managers and employees do day to day. In essence, this plan is to
              contain the annual performance goals the agency will use to gauge its
              progress toward accomplishing its strategic goals and to identify the
              performance measures the agency will use to assess its progress. Also, OMB
              will use agencies’ individual performance plans to develop an overall
              federal government performance plan that OMB is to submit annually to
              Congress with the president’s budget, beginning for fiscal year 1999.

              GPRA  requires that each agency submit an annual report to the president
              and to the appropriate authorization and appropriations committees of
              Congress on performance for the previous fiscal year (copies are to be
              provided to other congressional committees and to the public upon
              request). The first of these reports, on performance for fiscal year 1999, is
              due by March 31, 2000, and subsequent reports are due by March 31 for the
              years that follow. However, the report for fiscal year 2001 is also to
              include actual results for the preceding 2 fiscal years, and the report for
              fiscal year 2002 and all subsequent reports are to include actual results for
              the preceding 3 fiscal years.

              In crafting GPRA, Congress also recognized that managerial accountability
              for results is linked to managers’ having sufficient flexibility, discretion,
              and authority to accomplish desired results. GPRA authorizes agencies to
              apply for managerial flexibility waivers in their annual performance plans
              beginning with fiscal year 1999.




              Page 22                      GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix I
Overview of the Government Performance
and Results Act




The authority of agencies to request waivers of administrative procedural
requirements and controls is intended to provide federal managers with
more flexibility to structure agency systems to better support program
goals. An example of increased flexibility would be to allow an
organization to recapture unspent operating funds because of increased
efficiencies and then to use these funds to purchase new equipment or
expand employee training. Another example might involve delegating
more authority to line managers to make procurement decisions. Agencies
must report in their annual performance reports on the use and
effectiveness of any GPRA managerial flexibility waivers that they receive.

GPRA  calls for phased implementation so that selected pilot projects in the
agencies can develop experience from implementing its requirements in
fiscal years 1994 through 1996 before implementation is required for all
agencies. As of January 1996, of the 77 pilot projects for performance
planning and performance reporting originally designated by OMB, about 68
were still under way across most major federal agencies. OMB also was
required to select at least five agencies from among the initial pilot
agencies to pilot managerial accountability and flexibility for fiscal years
1995 and 1996.

Finally, GPRA requires OMB to select at least five agencies, at least three of
which have had experience developing performance plans during the
initial GPRA pilot phase, to test performance budgeting for fiscal years 1998
and 1999. Performance budgets to be prepared by pilot projects for
performance budgeting are intended to provide Congress with information
on the direct relationship between proposed program spending and
expected program results and the anticipated effects of varying spending
levels on results.




Page 23                        GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix II

Performance Pilots Eligible to Participate in
Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Pilot

                                                                          Fiscal year organization was
                                                                            designated a performance
                Performance planning and reporting pilot                  planning and reporting pilot
                Department of Agriculture:
                  Animal and Plant Health Inspection                                               1994
                  Service—agricultural quarantine inspection
                  program
                  Cooperative Extension Service—selected national                                  1994
                  initiatives
                  Farmers Home Administration—single family                                        1994
                  housing program
                  Forest Service                                                                   1994
                  Natural Resources Conservation                                                   1995
                  Service—conservation operations programs
                  Office of Civil Rights Enforcement                                               1994
                  Office of Communications                                                         1994
                  Packers and Stockyards Administration—scales                                     1995
                  and weighing operations
                Department of Commerce :
                  Census Bureau, Patent and Trademark Office, and                                  1994
                  National Technical Information
                  Service—information dissemination
                  National Oceanographic and Atmospheric                                           1994
                  Administration
                Department of Defense:
                  Air Force Air Combat Command                                                     1995
                  Army Research Laboratory                                                         1995
                  Corps of Engineers—civil works operation and                                     1995
                  maintenance program
                  Defense Commissary Agency                                                        1995
                  Defense Logistics Agency                                                         1994
                Department of Education:
                  Office of Postsecondary Education—student                                        1994
                  financial assistance programs
                Department of Energy:
                  Energy Information Administration                                                1995
                  Morgantown Energy Technology Center                                              1994
                  Oak Ridge National Laboratory—technology                                         1995
                  partnership/transfer program
                  Office of Defense Programs—non-nuclear                                           1994
                  component production
                  Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy                                 1994
                                                                                            (continued)




                Page 24                          GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix II
Performance Pilots Eligible to Participate in
Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Pilot




                                                            Fiscal year organization was
                                                              designated a performance
Performance planning and reporting pilot                    planning and reporting pilot
  Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste                                      1994
  Management
Department of Health and Human Services:
  Child Support Enforcement Program                                                  1994
  Food and Drug Administration—prescription drug                                     1995
  program
Department of Housing and Urban Development:
  Office of the Chief Financial                                                      1994
  Officer—departmentwide debt collection
Department of the Interior:
  Bureau of Indian Affairs—forestry and ecosystem                                    1995
  restoration in the Pacific Northwest program
  Fish and Wildlife Service—North American                                           1994
  waterfowl management program
  Geological Survey—national water quality                                           1995
  assessment program
  Minerals Management Service—royalty                                                1994
  management program
Department of Justice:
  Federal Bureau of Investigation—DRUGFIRE                                           1994
  program
  Federal Bureau of Investigation—national name                                      1994
  check program
  Federal Bureau of Investigation—organized                                          1994
  crime/drug program
  Federal Bureau of Investigation—property                                           1994
  procurement and management
  Federal Bureau of Prisons—program review                                           1994
  division
  Office of Debt Collection                                                          1994
  Management—nationwide central intake facility
  Weed and Seed Program—new sites                                                    1995
Department of Labor:
  Employment Training Administration—economic                                        1994
  dislocation and worker adjustment assistance and
  trade adjustment assistance programs
  Occupational Safety and Health Administration                                      1994
Department of State:
  Bureau of Diplomatic Security—investigative                                        1995
  functions
  Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs—business                                  1995
  and trade promotion
                                                                              (continued)


Page 25                            GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix II
Performance Pilots Eligible to Participate in
Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Pilot




                                                            Fiscal year organization was
                                                              designated a performance
Performance planning and reporting pilot                    planning and reporting pilot
Department of Transportation:
  Federal Aviation Administration—airway facilities                                  1994
  Federal Highway Administration—Federal Lands                                       1994
  Highway Organization
  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration                                     1994
  United States Coast Guard—marine safety,                                           1994
  security, and environmental protection
Department of the Treasury:
  Bureau of Engraving and Printing                                                   1994
  Internal Revenue Service                                                           1994
  United States Customs Service—office of                                            1994
  enforcement
  United States Mint                                                                 1994
Department of Veterans Affairs:
  National Cemetery System                                                           1994
  Veterans Benefits Administration—loan guaranty                                     1994
  operations
  Veterans Benefits Administration—New York                                          1994
  regional office
Agency for International Development:a
  Sustainable development activities                                                 1995
Environmental Protection Agency:
  Leaking Underground Storage Tank Program                                           1995
Federal Emergency Management Agency:
  Emergency Management Information Systems                                           1995
General Services Administration:
  Information Resources Management                                                   1994
  Service—procurement of micro-computer
  workstations and related software
  Public Buildings Service—real estate activities                                    1994
National Science Foundation:
  Education and Training Program Evaluation                                          1994
  Electronic Proposals                                                               1994
  High Performance Computing and Communication                                       1994
  Program
  Science and Technology Centers                                                     1994
  Specialized Research Facilities                                                    1994
Office of Personnel Management:
  Retirement Adjudication Division                                                   1995
                                                                              (continued)



Page 26                            GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix II
Performance Pilots Eligible to Participate in
Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Pilot




                                                                   Fiscal year organization was
                                                                     designated a performance
Performance planning and reporting pilot                           planning and reporting pilot
Small Business Administration                                                             1994
Social Security Administration                                                            1994
Federal Communications Commission:
    Authorization of Service function                                                     1994
Merit Systems Protection Board:
    Adjudication and Alternative Dispute Resolution in                                    1994
    Appellate Cases
National Archives and Records Administration:
    Federal Records Center program                                                        1994
Railroad Retirement Board:
    Bureau of Survivor Benefits—survivor claims                                           1994
    processing
Tennessee Valley Authority:a
    Water Management                                                                      1994
National Endowment for the Humanities:
    Office of Publications and Public Affairs                                             1995

a
This agency could not identify a knowledgeable official for us to interview.

Source: OMB.




Page 27                               GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix III

Central Management Agencies’
Determinations on 61 Waivers Requested by
14 Organizations

                                                                         Central management agency determination
Agency/Number of                                                          Waiver
waiver requests     Waiver description                          Agency    decision         Reason for waiver denial
Department of Commerce:
  National          Waiver of requirements related to federal   FMS       No decision      Not applicable
   Technical        credit programs and collection of
   Information      nontaxable receivables
   Service
   (2 waiver
   requests)
                    Waiver of requirement for OMB approval      OMB       Compromise       Not applicable
                    of customer surveys                                   developed,
                                                                          no need for
                                                                          waiver
  Patent and        Waiver of requirement to complete a study OMB         Compromise       Not applicable
    Trademark       before converting an in-house function to             developed,
    Office          one performed under contract                          no need for
    (3 waiver                                                             waiver
    requests)
                    Waiver of requirements mandating the use GSA          Denied           GSA cannot grant waiver since
                    of GSA schedules for purchase of items                                 schedules are contractual
                                                                                           requirements that would be breached
                                                                                           if waiver request were granted
                    Waiver of requirements inhibiting the use   OPM       Denied           OPM cannot grant waiver under
                    of a special occupational pay system                                   Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
                                                                                           under demonstration project authority
Department of Defense:
  Defense           Waiver of requirement for bidder            GSA       Approved         Not applicable
   Logistics        inspection before selling excess property             outside of
   Agency                                                                 the GPRA
   (7 waiver                                                              pilot
   requests)                                                              process
                    Waiver of requirement to use Standard       GSA       Approved         Not applicable
                    Form 114C when selling excess property                outside of
                                                                          the GPRA
                                                                          pilot
                                                                          process
                    Waiver of requirements that prevent DLA GSA           Denied           GSA cannot grant a waiver from the
                    from charging sales preparation expenses                               Federal Property and Administrative
                    to the recipient of federally transferred or                           Services Act of 1949
                    donated property
                    Waiver of requirement limiting authority for GSA      Denied           GSA cannot grant a waiver from the
                    negotiated sales of property to sales of                               Federal Property and Administrative
                    $15,000 or less, and for negotiated firm                               Services Act of 1949
                    fixed price sales of property to sales of
                    $25,000 or less
                                                                                                                      (continued)




                                           Page 28                        GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                                             Appendix III
                                             Central Management Agencies’
                                             Determinations on 61 Waivers Requested by
                                             14 Organizations




                                                                           Central management agency determination
Agency/Number of                                                             Waiver
waiver requests      Waiver description                         Agency       decision         Reason for waiver denial
                     Waiver of requirement to give public       GSA          Approved         Not applicable
                     notice of property that is about to be                  outside of
                     abandoned or destroyed                                  the GPRA
                                                                             pilot
                                                                             process
                     Waiver of requirement to prepare an      GSA            Approved         Not applicable
                     Analysis of Alternatives and Market                     outside of
                     Survey before purchasing ADP equipment                  the GPRA
                     from a DLA or interagency contract using                pilot
                     delivery order                                          process
                     Waiver of requirement that limits DLA from GSA          Denied           GSA cannot waive dollar limitation on
                     selling property (valued at $15,000 or                                   negotiated sales per the Federal
                     less) back to the original equipment                                     Property Act
                     manufacturer, at negotiated prices rather
                     than original dollar value, when such
                     property cannot be resold elsewhere
Department of Energy:
  Morgantown         Waiver of requirement to establish         GSA          Requirement      Not applicable
   Energy            qualified manufacturer lists and product                eliminated,
   Technology        lists                                                   no need for
   Center                                                                    a waiver
   (4 waiver
   requests)
                     Waiver of requirements hindering the       OPM          Denied           OPM cannot grant waiver under
                     ability to direct hire employees                                         Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
                                                                                              under demonstration project authority
                     Waiver of requirements related to the      OPM          Requirements     Not applicable
                     procedures and sequence of actions to                   eliminated,
                     be followed before terminating a poorly                 no need for
                     performing employee                                     a waiver
                     Waiver of requirements related to the      GSA          Requirements     Not applicable
                     donation of surplus property to public                  eliminated,
                     agencies and eligible nonprofit agencies                no need for
                                                                             a waiver
Department of Health and Human Services:
  Office of Child    Waiver of OMB approval of proposed data OMB             Compromise       Not applicable
   Support           collection and reporting effort                         developed,
   Enforcement                                                               no need for
   (1 waiver                                                                 waiver
   request)
Department of Transportation:
  Federal Aviation   Waiver of requirements that preclude     OPM            Denied           OPM cannot grant waiver under
    Administration   establishing a new performance appraisal                                 Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
    (1 waiver        system                                                                   under demonstration project authority
    request)
                                                                                                                         (continued)




                                             Page 29                         GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                                              Appendix III
                                              Central Management Agencies’
                                              Determinations on 61 Waivers Requested by
                                              14 Organizations




                                                                            Central management agency determination
Agency/Number of                                                              Waiver
waiver requests      Waiver description                            Agency     decision         Reason for waiver denial
  National           Waiver of requirements limiting the ability   OMB        Compromise       Not applicable
   Highway Traffic   to conduct customer surveys                              developed,
   Safety                                                                     no need for
   Administration                                                             waiver
   (3 waiver
   requests)
                     Waiver of requirements mandating that         OMB        Denied           OMB does not have the authority to
                     printing be done through the Government                                   grant waivers from GPO requirements
                     Printing Office (GPO)
                     Waiver of requirements impeding the           OMB        Denied           Small Business Administration
                     agency from negotiating and contracting                                   requirements are statutory
                     directly with 8a firms
Department of the Treasury:
  Internal           Waiver of requirements specifying             GSA        Denied           Mechanism to obtain relief from
    Revenue          UNICOR (Federal Prisons Industries) as a                                  mandatory requirements of UNICOR
    Service (IRS)    source for procuring system furniture                                     requires a petition to the Department
    (16 waiver                                                                                 of Justice for clearance
    requests)
                     Waiver of requirements impeding IRS and GSA              Denied           GSA is mandated by law to provide
                     state tax agencies from being housed in                                   space and related services to federal
                     the same building                                                         activities
                     Waiver of selected requirements that          GSA        No decision      Not applicable
                     prolong the awarding of Outside Fee
                     Appraisal contracts
                     Waiver of requirements providing for          GSA        No decision      Not applicable
                     procurement and legal office review of
                     uses of commercial/vendor equipment or
                     software for no-cost test/evaluation
                     purposes
                     Waiver of requirement prescribing that        GSA        Approved         Not applicable
                     GSA issue a negative availability                        outside of
                     statement before obtaining commercial                    the GPRA
                     lease authority for an indefinite                        pilot
                     assignment lease for multiple motor                      process
                     vehicles
                     Waiver of requirement that IRS report on      GSA        No decision      Not applicable
                     GSA-leased vehicles in annual energy
                     report
                     Waiver of requirement that a government       GSA        Approved         Not applicable
                     bill-of-lading be used when using small                  outside of
                     carriers for shipments greater than $250                 the GPRA
                                                                              pilot
                                                                              process
                     Waiver of requirement that envelopes be       GSA        Requirement      Not applicable
                     purchased through GSA                                    eliminated,
                                                                              no need for
                                                                              a waiver
                                                                                                                          (continued)


                                              Page 30                         GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                                            Appendix III
                                            Central Management Agencies’
                                            Determinations on 61 Waivers Requested by
                                            14 Organizations




                                                                          Central management agency determination
Agency/Number of                                                            Waiver
waiver requests    Waiver description                          Agency       decision         Reason for waiver denial
                   Waiver of requirement precluding IRS        OMB          Denied           Granting of this waiver would be in
                   from charging fees after service is                                       violation of the Budget Enforcement
                   rendered or product is delivered                                          Act
                   Waiver of requirement for clearance of      OMB          Compromise       Not applicable
                   surveys and focus groups, particularly                   developed,
                   those related to completion rates, and                   no need for
                   honoraria caps                                           waiver
                   Waiver of requirements preventing release OPM            Approved         Not applicable
                   of Standard Form 52 directly into the                    outside of
                   automated personnel system                               the GPRA
                                                                            pilot
                                                                            process
                   Waiver of requirement to reduce internal    OMB          Denied           OMB does not have the authority to
                   regulations by 50 percent by 1996                                         waive executive order requirements
                   Waiver of requirement that OMB approve      OMB          Compromise       Not applicable
                   all form revisions, including minor ones                 developed,
                                                                            no need for
                                                                            waiver
                   Waiver for biennial GSA approval for        GSA          Approved         Not applicable
                   monitoring incoming customer calls                       outside of
                                                                            the GPRA
                                                                            pilot
                                                                            process
                   Waiver of competition requirements under GSA             Denied           GSA cannot grant waiver since
                   Federal Acquisition Regulations for all                                   competition requirements are statutory
                   items under $25,000
                   Waiver of requirement to use GPO for        OMB          Denied           OMB does not have authority to grant
                   printing                                                                  waivers from GPO requirements
 U.S. Mint         Waiver of requirements specifying           GSA          Denied           Small Business Administration has
   (8 waiver       external review of small business                                         denied waiver with GSA concurrence
   requests)       set-aside decisions
                   Waiver of requirements for processing       GSA          Denied           GSA does not have the authority to
                   service contract wage determinations                                      grant the waiver (authority belongs to
                                                                                             the Secretary of Labor)
                   Waiver of requirement for separate equal    GSA          Denied           GSA does not have the authority to
                   employment opportunity clearances for                                     grant the waiver (authority belongs to
                   recurring contracts with the same                                         the Secretary of Labor)
                   contractor
                   Waiver of FTE ceilings                      OMB          Denied           OMB cannot grant waivers from the
                                                                                             Federal Workforce Restructuring Act
                   Waiver of budget object class and budget OMB             Denied           Statutory requirements mandate
                   activity controls                                                         information in budget by object class
                   Waiver of budget obligation accounting      OMB          Denied           Statutory requirements mandate
                   and reporting requirements for                                            accounting and reporting by fund
                   Numismatic Public Enterprise Fund
                                                                                                                        (continued)



                                            Page 31                         GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                                           Appendix III
                                           Central Management Agencies’
                                           Determinations on 61 Waivers Requested by
                                           14 Organizations




                                                                         Central management agency determination
Agency/Number of                                                           Waiver
waiver requests    Waiver description                           Agency     decision         Reason for waiver denial
                   Waiver of limitations on conducting          OMB        Compromise       Not applicable
                   customer surveys without prior OMB                      developed,
                   approval                                                no waiver
                                                                           needed
                   Waiver of requirements inhibiting the Mint   OPM        Denied           OPM cannot grant waiver under
                   from using term appointment employees                                    Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
                   other than those on OPM registers                                        under demonstration project authority
 Bureau of         Waiver of requirement specifying travel      GSA        Denied           GSA cannot grant waiver because of
  Engraving and    voucher must be submitted after travel is                                statutory requirement in Title 31,
  Printing         complete                                                                 U.S.C., which mandates that all
  (10 waiver                                                                                claims against the government must
  requests)                                                                                 be in writing, and requires
                                                                                            submission of a voucher
                   Waiver of FTE ceiling                        OPM        Denied           OPM cannot grant waivers from the
                                                                                            Federal Workforce Restructuring Act
                   Waiver of requirement to report by budget OMB           Denied           Statutory requirements mandate
                   object class and for obligation accounting/                              information in budget by object class
                   reporting
                   Waiver of requirements covering the          OPM        Denied           OPM cannot grant waiver under
                   lengths of appointment and benefits                                      Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
                   available to temporary employees                                         under demonstration project authority
                   Waiver of requirements inhibiting agency     OPM        Denied           OPM cannot grant waiver under
                   from receiving direct-hire authority                                     Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
                                                                                            under demonstration project authority
                   Waiver of requirements impeding the          OPM        Denied           OPM cannot grant waiver under
                   establishment of pay-banding for general                                 Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
                   schedule employees                                                       under demonstration project authority
                   Waiver of requirements specifying that      OPM         Requirement      Not applicable
                   personnel performance appraisal systems                 eliminated,
                   have a minimum of three rating levels for               no need for
                   each critical element and three summary                 a waiver
                   rating levels for each critical element and
                   three summary rating levels, thus
                   precluding introduction of a “pass/fail”
                   system
                   Waiver of requirements that all foreign      FMS        Approved         Not applicable
                   disbursements be processed through the                  outside of
                   Department of State                                     the GPRA
                                                                           pilot
                                                                           process
                   Waiver of requirements impeding the          FMS        Denied           FMS cannot grant the waiver since its
                   ability to purchase insurance against                                    policy does not allow granting
                   negative fluctuations in exchange rates                                  waivers that would create the
                   when contracting with foreign vendors                                    appearance of currency speculation,
                                                                                            thereby contravening Treasury
                                                                                            Financial Manual section 9050.10
                                                                                                                       (continued)




                                           Page 32                         GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
                                              Appendix III
                                              Central Management Agencies’
                                              Determinations on 61 Waivers Requested by
                                              14 Organizations




                                                                               Central management agency determination
Agency/Number of                                                                 Waiver
waiver requests       Waiver description                           Agency        decision           Reason for waiver denial
                      Waiver of requirements precluding the        FMS           Denied             Denied under Title 31, U.S.C., section
                      Bureau from using accumulated cash to                                         5142
                      make short-term investments in
                      government securities
  U.S. Customs        Waiver of FTE ceiling                        OMB           Denied             OMB cannot grant waivers from the
    Service (1                                                                                      Federal Workforce Restructuring Act
    waiver request)
Department of Veterans Affairs:
  New York            Waiver of requirement prescribing an       OPM             Denied             OPM cannot grant waiver under
   Regional           evaluation/approval timeline for personnel                                    Chapter 47, Title 5, U.S.C., except
   Office             compensation demonstration projects                                           under demonstration project authority
   (3 waiver
   requests)
                      Waiver of requirement mandating the use      GSA           Waiver             Not applicable
                      of GSA contract guard service in federal                   withdrawn
                      office buildings
                      Waiver of requirement that employee W-2      OMB           Denied             OMB does not have the authority to
                      forms be adjusted to reflect the use of                                       grant waivers from statutory
                      government vehicles by employees                                              requirements
                      conducting government business
  Benefits            Waiver of administrative costs definition to OMB           Denied             Granting this waiver would be in
   Administration     allow for certain costs to be categorized                                     violation of the Budget Enforcement
   (1 waiver          as program costs                                                              Act
   request)
  National            Waiver of requirement to use GPO for         OMB           Denied             OMB does not have the authority to
   Endowment for      printing                                                                      grant waivers from GPO requirements
   the Humanities
   (1 waiver
   request)

                                              Note: Fifteen organizations in eight agencies submitted waiver proposals to OMB. One
                                              managerial accountability and flexibility nominee—the Department of Health and Human
                                              Services’ Bureau of Health Professions—was ineligible since it had not been previously
                                              designated as a performance pilot. Two other organizations—the Department of Commerce’s
                                              Patent and Trademark Office and the National Technical Information Service—submitted
                                              individual waiver proposals for the same pilot—Department of Commerce’s Information
                                              Dissemination.

                                              Sources: Data from OMB, GSA, FMS, and OPM.




                                              Page 33                            GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix IV

Comments From the Office of Management
and Budget




              Page 34   GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix IV
Comments From the Office of Management
and Budget




Page 35                       GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix IV
Comments From the Office of Management
and Budget




Page 36                       GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Appendix V

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Michael Brostek, Associate Director, Federal Management and Workforce
General Government         Issues, (202) 512-9039
Division, Washington,   J. Christopher Mihm, Assistant Director, (202) 512-3236
D.C.                    Joseph L. Santiago, Evaluator-in-Charge, (202) 512-7813
                        Marshall W. Barrett
                        Thomas M. Beall
                        Kathleen M. Peyman
                        Kiki Theodoropoulos




                        Page 37                   GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Page 38   GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Page 39   GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
Related GAO Products


              Managing for Results: Using GPRA to Assist Congressional and Executive
              Branch Decisionmaking (GAO/T-GGD-97-43, Feb. 12, 1997).

              Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the Government Performance
              and Results Act (GAO/GGD-96-118, June 1996).

              Acquisition Reform: Regulatory Implementation of the Federal Acquisition
              Streamlining Act of 1994 (GAO/NSIAD-96-139, June 28, 1996).

              Management Reform: Completion Status of Agency Actions Under the
              National Performance Review (GAO/GGD-96-94, June 12, 1996).

              Paperwork Reduction: Burden Reduction Goal Unlikely to be Met
              (GAO/T-GGD/RCED-96-186, June 5, 1996).

              Management Reform: Status of Agency Reinvention Lab Efforts
              (GAO/GGD-96-69, Mar. 20, 1996).

              Managing for Results: Achieving GPRA’s Objectives Requires Strong
              Congressional Role (GAO/T-GGD-96-79, Mar. 6, 1996).

              GPRA   Performance Reports (GAO/GGD-96-66R, Feb. 14, 1996).

              Managing for Results: Status of the Government Performance and Results
              Act (GAO/T-GGD-95-193, June 27, 1995).

              Managing for Results: Experiences Abroad Suggest Insights for Federal
              Management Reforms (GAO/GGD-95-120, May 2, 1995).

              Government Reform: Goal-Setting and Performance (GAO/AIMD/GGD-95-130R,
              Mar. 27, 1995).

              Managing for Results: State Experiences Provide Insights for Federal
              Management Reforms (GAO/GGD-95-22, Dec. 21, 1994).

              Management Reform: Implementation of the National Performance
              Review’s Recommendations (GAO/OCG-95-1, Dec. 5, 1994).




(410007)      Page 40                      GAO/GGD-97-36 Managerial Accountability and Flexibility
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