Public Relations Personnel Costs in 20 Federal Agencies and Various Other Costs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-06-10.

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

                          DOCUMENT BESUME       72      /27

02488 - [A1732741] ARea    ~e< -

[Public Relations Personnel Costs in 20 rc4eral Agencies and
Various Other Costs]. LCD-77-424; E-161939. June 10, 1977. 11
pp. + 2 enclosures (2 pp.).

Report to Sen. William L. Scott; by Elmer B. Staats, Comptroller

Contact: Logistics and Communications Div.
Budget Function: General Government: other General Government
Organizaticn Concerned: Department of Defense; Department of
    Agricultare; Civil Service Commission; General Services
congressional Relevance: Sen. William L. Scott.
Authority: Food Ztamp Act of 1964, as amended. P.L. 94-419. 44
    U.S.C. 1905. 44 U.S.C. 1718. 44 U.S.C. 1301. 7 U.S.C. 417.
         Much of the data requested on the costs associated with
various specific Federal programs is not available in any
centralized form. GAO investigated the following areas: the
number of Federal employees in public affairs and congressional
relations in the 20 largest Government agencies; the amount
spent for recruitment by the mil.tary; Gov6rnment audiovisual
costs; the development and printiu; costs of the Agricultural
Yeerbook bicentennial issue and the farmers' bulletin cost; the
cost of the Department of Agriculture's Food Stamp Outreach
program for fiscal year 1976; and advertising costs in the
Federal Government. Findings/Conclusions: Information submitted
by the 20 agencies indicated that total personnel expense.s for
public affairs and congressional relations totaled about $82
million in FY 1976. According to the Department of Defense,
about $516 million was spent for military recruitment during FY
1976. Limited information is available on Government audiovisual
costs, and agency accounting systems are not generally designed
to report the information. The total cost for the 1976 Yearbook
produced by the Department of Agriculture was about $577,000.
The Department also spent about $578,000 on production of the
farmers' bulletins in fiscal year 1976. Both the Yearbook and
the bulletins are published primarily for delivery to, or
distribution for, Mebhers of Congress. The Department of
Agriculture reimbursed State agencies $968,604 for costs
incurred in the Food Stamp Outreach program iz FP 1976. No
current information is available on Government advertising
costs. 'SC)
                       COMPTROLXH" GENIRAL Of THC UNITED                STATES

                                      WASHINTON. O.C

                   RKSTRICTED --             '-      - ---   4       ~.t"Ide the General
                   Accounttng Offce     -'                       '      specific   app@oval
 ED   B-161939     by the Off-ce oa          /J577
it    The Honorable William L. Scott
      United States Senate                                                 JUN 10 1977
      Dear Senator Scott:
           By letter dated November 29, 1976, you requested that
      we obtain information on costs associated vith various Fed-
      eral programs such as public relations and audiovisual ac-
      tivities. After meeting with your office, we agreed to

           -- The number of Federal employees in public affairs and
              congressional relations and the salaries for these
              employees in the 20 largest Gove.:nment agencies.
           -- The amount spent for recruitment by the military.
           -- Government audiovisual costs, if available from the
              General Servicee Administration.
           -- The development and printing costs of the Agriculture
              Yearbook bicentennial iss:ue, and the farmers' bulle-
              tins cost, and the number of copies of both distrib-
              uted free by the Government.
           -- The cost of the Department of Agriculture's Food Stamp
              Outreach program for fiscal year 1976.
           -- Advertising costs in the Federal Government.
           Agency-supplied data is presented below. As agreed
      with your office, we did not verify the accuracy of informa-
      tion furnished by the various agencies.
           Since there is no Government-wide definition of public
      affairs, each agency defined public affairs and congressional
      relations itself to determine which employees to include in
      each category. We requested that the agencies include support
      staff as well as professional employees.


     Information submitted by the 20 agencies is:

                        FY 1976                  FY 1977
                        (Actual)               (Budgeted)
                 Personnel    Sala        Pesonnel     Sao-lary
Public affairs    3,496     $62,414,557     3,366    $65,464,085
  relations         950     $19,693,888       934     20,126,275
     Enclosure I is an index of the agencies, their personnel
and salaries. The number of public affairs and congressional
relations employees reported by the agencies and shown in the
index varied widely. For example, the Department of Trans-
portaticn, which had a $4.3 billion fiscal year 1976 budget,
reported 281 public affairs employees for fiscal year 1976
while the Department of Agriculture, with a $11.8 billion
budget in fiscal year 1976, reported only 8 employees in
public affairs.

Department of Agriculture

     A previous GAO report on public affairs costs (B-161939,
Sept. 30, 1975) explained the Department of Agriculture's
philosophies that distinguishes public affairs from public
information activities. At that time, Agriculture had
21 offices (which varied from 1 to 123 employees) which dis-
seminated information to the public. Agriculture refers to
these offices as public information, not public affairs ac-
tivities, because these offices explain agriculture programs
to the pLblic.  Therefore, public information activities em-
ployees are not included in Agriculture's public affairs costs.

Department of Defense

     For both fiscal years 1976 and 1977 the Department of
Defense reported over $20 million for public affairs costs.
This figure included employee benefits as well as straight
salary costs. Public Law 94-419 imposes a $24 million ceiling
on the Defense Department's Fp:blic affairs expenditures.  In
view of the small difference between the 1976 expenditure
and the legal limitation we asked the Defense Department for
total public affairs costs for fiscal year 1976. The Defense
Department reported that total public affairs expenditures--
prcgrams and people--exceeded $23 million.


      Our previous report to the Senate Foreign   Relations
Committee, "Expenditures for Public Affairs   Activities"
                                                     did not
(B-161939, July 30, 1973), reported that Defense
                                            activities in
include operating costs for all promotionrecord   all person-
public affairs expenditures, nor did it
nel costs for such activities.    We reviewed selected activi-
ties which were at least partly promotional   and found that
                                  military ceremonial    bands,
costs for special aerial teams,
                                   exhibits, the Defense Forces
service museums, service-related   College of  the  Armed
formation School, and Industrial                    affairs costs.
seminars were not reported by Defense as public
      We recommended that the Defense Department reexamine
                                                         since   many
position on what it considered public affairs           definition
activities mentioned in our report met the Defense  We also sug-
of public information and community relations.           the types
gested that the Foreign Relations Committee clarify   under the
of Defense activities it expected to be reported
                                                      that they
       In commenting on our report, Defense statedthese
                                              for          other
 believe their decision to not report costs       as  puilic  af-
 activities to the Foreign Relations Committee         that  the.
 fairs costs is proper. Defense further explained      of the De-
 Congressional Appropriations Committees are awaresuggested
 fense definition of public affairs but have not
 broadening its scope.

       The Civil Service Commission  and General Serrices Admin-
 istration also reported  few employees   in these categories.
 We asked officials in these agencies if theyto had these   offi-
 all employees in their figures.    According
                                                 relations    em-
 cials, all public affairs and congressional
 ployees had been reported.
       As a matter of interest to you, there is no requirement
 that agencies specifically identify public affairs
                                                  exists   in the
 programs and people--so no central location
 Government where this information   can be obtained. Total
 Government public affairs  costs  have  previously been obtained
  by special studies or one-time reporting    with the criteria for
                                                             To our
 methods and definitions established by each report.         was re-
  knowledge, the last special study for public affairsin  1970,  which
  quested by the Office of Management   and Budget
                                             $153  million    in fiscal
  showed public affairs obligations to be


year 1969. These costs included supplies, materials, and
equipment, as well as personnel services and travel costs.

     According to the Department of Defense, about $516 mil-
lion was spent fo.L ilitary recruiting during fiscal year
1976. This amount. &ncludes recruiting costs for both active
duty and reserve forces.

     A Defense official stated that the recruitment expendi-
tures were:
       Active forces recruitment                     (millions)

Military salaries for recruiters and
headquarters-level employees who monitor
the recruitment program                                $182.6

Salaries for civilian support                            25.9

Recruiting support, such as travel, printing,
auto leasing, utilities                                  71.4

Leasing facilities for recruiting stations               25.1

Costs for recruitment advertising                        68.8

Enlistment bonuses presently offered by the
Army and the Marine Corps                                68.5

Travel and per diem costs for recruiter aides,
who are sent to their home neighborhoods for
a few weeks to assist recruiting                          6.2


 Reserve forces recruitment

 Military salaries                                       36.4
 Civilian salaries                                        8.7
 Recruiting support, including leasing facilities        22.6

                                                       $ 67.7

     Total                                             $516.2



     Audiovisual activities are defined in this report as
those functions which produce and distribute audiovisual
products such as motion picture films, still photos, tele-
vision services, and audio services.

     The General Services Administration and the Office of
Management and Budget have limited Information on Government
audiovisual costs. Neither agency has information on annual
operating costs requested by your office. An Office of Man-
agement and Budget official stated that the agencies' annual
operating costs cannot be obtained because the agency account-
ing systems are not designed to report the information.

     However, the Office of Management and Budget provided
some information on audiovisual costs which they obtained
from studies completed in 1974 and 1977.  The first study
was prepared by the Office of Telecommunications Policy and
reported cost data for fiscal year 1972 from the 15 largest
users of audiovisual media in the Federal Government. The
second study, prepared by the Office of Management and Bua-
get, shows costs for fiscal year 1976 and includes informa-
tion on 19 Federal agencies.

     Both reporcs contain information on the cost of obtain-
ing audiovisual services from outside sources and the volume
of in-house and contract production for different audiovisual
media. We extracted data on 15 agencies from both reports
so you may compare audiovisual production for fiscal years
1972 and 1976. In-house audiovisual production, contract
production, and contract costs for the 15 audiovisual users


                  Inhouse           Contract
                  Running           Running                   '
                Time (min.)       Time (min.)            Contract cost
               1972     1976     1972     1976b         I972       1976

  tions       22,338   126,212      651   47,105 $      309,000 $11,377,356
Motion pic-
  ture pro-
  ductions    7,453     9,249    1',192   22,100     17,555,000   16,999,361
Mixed media
  tions         (a)    273,404     (a)    101,219     1,4'4,900    2,899,413

    Total                                           $19,308,000 $31,276,130

a/Mixed media running time not reported in fiscal year 1972 data

         In addition to these contract costs, tne Office of Tele-
    communications Policy reported in January 1974 that the ac-
    quisition value of equipment owned by the 15 agencies included
    in their study was $431 million as of June 30, 1972.

         In a December 1975 report, the General Services Adminis-
    tration estimated the total Government investment in audio-
    visual facilities equipment and inventories to be $1 billion
    and annual operating costs to be $500 million. We could not
    obtain this report's backup information and therefore cannot
    comment on the accuracy of these estimated costs.

         Our current audit plans include reviewing the utiliza-
    tion and effectiveness of audiovisual activities managed by
    agencies and the feasibility of consolidating audiovisual
    activities in certain geographic areas.


         The Department of Agriculture produces both the Agricul-
    ture Yearbook and farmers' bulletins. The Agriculture Year-
    book is published yearly and is part two of the annual report
    of the Secretary of Agriculture. The 1976 Agriculture Year-
    book, "The Face of Rural America," is a hard cover publication
    284 pages long.  In contrast to prior yearbooks which con-
    tained reports and papers on various agricultural subjects,


the 1976 yearbook mainly contained photographs of American

      Farmers' bulletins are reprints of articles on different
agricultural subjects written mainly by Agriculture employees.
Farmers' bulletins cover many subjects, such as home and
garden bulletins, or leaflets such as "How to Raise Straw-
berries," "Foundations For Farm Buildings," and "Home Canning
of Fruits and Vegetables." TbA bulletins vary from one to
several pages long and are produced in single page or pamphlet

     Both the Agriculture Yearbdok and farmers' bulletins are
published primarily for delivery to, or distribution for, Mem-
bers of Congress.

Agriculture Ycarbook

     The cost of the 1976 yearbook consists of both the ma-
terials development cost and the printing cost. Total cost
is approximately $577,000.

     Agriculture o.'ficials stated that the development cost
of the 1976 yearbook was $56,000, which is the salary cost
for the 3 employees who put together the yearbook material.
According to these officials, the reason why only employee
salaries were considered development costs was that the year-
book is a collection of materials that have previously been
produced by the Department or donated by land grant colleges.
The Agriculture Department stated it would have reproduced
this data even if no yearbook were published.

     Printing cost was the major production cost of the 1976
yearbook. Actual yearbook printing was procured from a com-
mercial printer by the Government Printing Office. According
to Government Printing Office records, 286,763 yearbooks were
printed costing $520,807. This includes freight costs.   The
yearbooks were printed for the Department of Agriculture, the
Superintendent of Documents, and other Government agencies.
The number of copies and billed costs were:


                                     Number of       Billed cost
            Billed to                 copies          (note a)
Depar'ment of Agriculture:
     .opies for the Congress          233,450         $442,434
    Copies for Agriculture             30,000           41,682
Superintendent of Documents:
    Copies for sales                   15,000          24,434
    Copies for Depository
      Libraries                         1,175           1,937
    Copies for International
      Exchange                           135              205
Other agencies                         7,003           10,115
    Total                             286,763        $520,807
a/This includes freight costs.

     The Superintendent of Documents and the other agencies
paid less per copy of the yearbook than the Department of
Agriculture. This is because of differences in freight costs
and a cheaper printing add-on rate, which the contractor
charges for printing additional copies.

     The majority of yearbooks were distributed to recipients
free of charge. As shown, 271,763 yearbooks were distributed

      (100 members and 3 Senate
        officers--550 copies each)          56,650
    House of Representatives
      (435 members, 4 delegates, and
        3 House officers--400 copies
        each)                             176,800
Department of Agriculture                               '30,000
Superintendent of Documents                               1,310
Other agencies                                            7,003
    Total free copies                                   271,763


     Yearbook distribution to the Congress and copies retained
by the Department of Agriculture is permitted by 44 U.'S.C.
1301, which allows printing up to about 470,000 yearbooks for
the Congress and 30,000 yearbooks for the Department of Agri-
culture. The minimum number of copies for the Congress for
fiscal year 1977 must be no less than 232,250.

     The copies made available to Members of Congress are for
distribution to constituents. The copies retained by the De-
partment of Agriculture are distributed to the press, visiting
dignitaries, and various department bureaus, who in turn dis-
tribute the yearbook to land grant colleges, Department of
Agriculture and Future Farmers of America libraries, and other

     The Superintendent of Documents distributed 1,310 year-
books free of charge, as required by law. Depository li-
braries and the Library of Congress received 1,175 and 135
respectively. The Superintendent of Documents is required
by 44 U.S.C. 1905 to distribute copies of Government pFbli-
cations to designated depository libraries throughout the
country, and 44 U.S.C. 1718 directs that copies of Govern-
ment publications be furnished to the Library of Congress
for official use in the District of Columbia and for publica-
tions exchange with other nations.

     Yearbooks printed for other agencies were for distribu-
tion overseas or internal use. The United States Information
Agency had 5,000 copies printed for distribution overseas to
give key contacts in other countries a pictorial view of
American agriculture. The Department of Interior required
1,113 yearbooks, which were distributed to various depart-
ment offices and bureaus. Many other agencies had small
quantities of the yearbook printed for their internal use.

     Only 15,000 yearbooks were not given away or used
internally by agencies. These were printed for sale by the
Superintendent of Documents. These yearbooks are sold at
the Government Printing Office bookstores cr by mail by the
Superintendent of Documents for $7.30 per copy.


     Funds are appropriated annually to the Department of
Agriculture for production of farmers' bulletins. As author-
ized by 7 U.S.C. 417, four-fifths of the bulletins are to be
made available to, or sent out for, Members of Congress.


According to Department of Agric ilture officials, in fiscal
year 1976 the Department spent about $578,000 on bulletin
production, however, this cost does not include distribution
and mailing costs, which we were unable to obtain.

     The farmers' bulletins are distributed free by the Agri-
culture Department for the Congress, in response to letters
requesting information and through the Department Extension
Service and Visitors Center. During fiscal year 1976,
9.3 million farmers' bulletins were distributed. Although
four-fifths of these were available to the Congress, only
3.3 million were delivered to or sent out for Members of
Congress. According to Agriculture officials, 3.3 million
represented the total publications requested by the Congress.
The remaining 6 million publications were made available for
distribution to the public through:

     -- The Department's Extension Service, where County agents
        and State universities give the publications to in-
        dividuals requesting information.

     -- The Department's Visitors Center, where the general
        public can obtain publications in person.

     -- Responding to letters from individuals.


     The Food Stamp Outreach Program was authorized as part
of the Food Stamp Act of 1964 as amended. The act states
      "* * * the State agency shall undertake effective
      action, including the use of services provided by
      other federally funded agencies and organizations,
      to inform low-income households concerning the
      availability and benefits of the food stamp pro-
      gram and insure the participation of eligible
      households * * *."

      To achieve the Outreach Program's purposes, the State
 agencies initiate and monitor efforts to reach all poten-
 tially eligible households and provide eligible households
 with reasonable and convenient access to the program.  In
 fiscal year 1976 all States, plus the Distrigt of Columbia,
 Guam, Puerto Rico, and, the Virgin Islands participated in
 the Outreach Program.


     The Outreach P-ogram's cost is divided between the
Federal Government and participating States. The act states

     "* * * the Secretary is authorized to pay to each
     State agency an amount equal to 30 per centur of
     all administrative costs including * * * the out-
     reach * * * requirements of Section 10 of this
     Act * * *

According to Department of Agriculture officil$s, the Depart-
ment reimbursed State agencies $968,604 for costs the State
agencies incurred during fiscal year 1976.  These payments
partially reimbursed State agencies for the salaries of pro-
gram coordinators and employees working on Outreach.

     We asked Agriculture officials how they control the
funds given to the States in the Outreach Program. We were
told that the States must submit to Agriculture a semiannual
plan of Outreach activities and a semiannual performance
report. Agricu'ture also performs an annual financial man-
agement review of each State's use of funds.


     The information you requested is not readily available
and would require gathering data from each Gove'nnent agency
and bureau. To answer a similar congressional inquiry in 1975,
we obtained, from 31 agencies (see enclosure II), their total
advertising cost. We trust this data will meet your needs.
     These 31 agencies spent $141.6 million for advertising
by private agencies in fiscal year 1974 and estimated that
$145.5 million would be spent in fiscal year 1975.   In addi-
tion, the agencies spent $47.5 million for in-house advertis-
ing during fiscal year 1974 and estimated $53.3 million in
costs for in-house advertising for fiscal year 1975. There-
fore, these 31 agencies spent about $189 million and
$199 million for fiscal years 1974 and 1975.

                              Sincery yours,

                             Comptroller General
                             of the United States
Enclosures - 2

ENCLOSURE                                        I                                                                                                                                                                                             ENCLOSURE I

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-ENCLOSURE II                                   ENCLOSURE II

                 AGENCIES QUESTIONED IN 1975

                   ABOUT ADVERTISING COSTS
  1. Department of Agriculture
  2. Department of Commerce
  3. Department of Defense
  4. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
  5. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  6. Department of the Interior
  7. Department of Justice
  8. Department of Labor
  9. Department of State
10. Department of Transportation
11. Department of the Treasury
13. American Revolution Bicentennial Administration
14. Commission on Civil Rights
15. Consumer Product Safety Commission
16. Council on Environmental Quality
17. Energy Research and Development Administration
18. Environmental Protection Agency
19. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
20. Federal Communications Commission
21. Federal Energy Administration
22. Interstate Commerce Commission
23. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
24. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
25. Selective Service Commission
26. Small Business Administration
27. Smithsonian Institution
28. United States Civil Service Commission
29. United States Information Agency
30. United States Postal Service
31. Veterans Administration