-l United States ‘lr A0 General Accounting OffIce Washington, D.C. 20548 Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division B-277262 June 24, 1997 The Honorable Charles W. Stenholm Ranking Minority Member Committee on Agriculture House of Representatives Subject: U.S. Denartment of Agriculture: Undate on Reorganization and Streamlining Efforts W’ Dear Mr. Stenholm: As requested, we are providing you with (1) information on the US. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) progress in meeting mandated reorganization and streamlining changes required by the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-354, Oct. 13, 1994) and (2) the results of our analysis to identify common support or staff functions performed by agencies within USDA. USDA’S PROGRESS IN MEETING MANDATED REORGANIZATION AND STREAMLINING GOALS USDA has made progress in achieving the four primary goals set forth in the 1994 act: (1) reducing the number of full-time equivalents (FTE) by at least 7,500 by the end of fiscal year 1999, (2) reducing the number of Fl’Es so that the percent reduction in headquarters is at least twice the percent reduction in the field offices, (3) consolidating headquarters offices, and (4) combining field offices and jointly using field office resources. Regarding the first goal, as of September 1996,’ USDA had reduced the number of FTEs by 15,956. Concerning the second goal, at the end of fiscal year 1996, the number of FTEs had been reduced by 18.8 percent in headquarters and by 11.7 percent in the field. As to the third goal, according to USDA, the number of agencies has been reduced ‘These are the most current data available on FTE reductions at USDA. GAO/WED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining B-277262 from 43 to 30, most of which have been restructured into seven mission areas2 Finally, as of April 1997, the number of county offices had been reduced from over 3,700 to about 2,800. Under its streamlining plans, USDA also required its agencies to consolidate administrative functions in those mission areas that had more than one agency. Administrative consolidation has been completed in four of the five mission areas with more than one agency.3 Only the Natural Resources and the Environment mission area, which includes the Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, has not consolidated administrative functions. This is because the Forest Service has not yet received congressional approval of its reorganization plan. However, we found that opportunities may exist for further administrative streamlining. For example, the Rural Development mission area is the only area that consolidated budget and civil rights functions. According to the mission area’s Deputy Administrator for Management, the mission area could not justify separate civil rights and budget offices for an allocation of fewer than 8,000 Fl’Es. Other mission areas, however, have continued to maintain separate offices for these two functions even though they have FlX allocations that are similar to those of the Rural Development mission area. In addition, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has contracted with USDA’s Office of Operations to procure and deliver office supplies to its approximately 4,000 locations nationwide. By consolidating its procurement functions into one location, FSIS will benefit from improved services, save more than $1 million annually, and need only 5 FTEs instead of 15 to 18 for this task, according to an FSIS official. USDA has made little progress in streamlining administrative functions at the state office level. The county-baaed service agencies-the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources and Conservation Service, and the agencies in the Rural Development mission-have each maintained their own state office in almost every state. These state offices employ 4,782 USDA employees, some of whom provide administrative services. USDA’s Deputy Secretary has asked these 2(1) Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; (2) Rural Development; (3) Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; (4) Natural Resources and the Environment; (5) Food Safety; (6) Research, Education, and Economics; and (7) Marketing and Regulatory Programs. 3The four mission areas are (1) Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; (2) Marketing and Regulatory Programs; (3) Research, Education, and Economics; and (4) Rural Development. 2 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining B-277262 agencies to pursue a more aggressive approach to combine administrative functions at the state level. ANALYSIS OF COMMON SUPPORT OR STAFF FUNCTIONS PERFORMED BY AGENCIES WITHIN USDA Using USDA’s organization charts, we identified 15 support or staff functions performed within multiple USDA agencies or offices. Our analysis showed that 6 of these 15 functions appeared on at least 13 agency/office organization charts. These functions include work related to legislative/legal affairs; public information/community a%irs; human resources; financial/budget; program support, management or executive services; and administrative services. In analyzing data on USDA employees, we found that the percentage of administrative employees was greater in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area than in the non-Washington, D.C., metropolitan area-about 42 percent compared with about 14 percent. We further found that USDA’s 105,036 employees span a total of 361 occupational series.4 Of these series, 46 were repeated in about a third of USDA’s agencies/offices. Moreover, 22 of these 46 series were classified as administrative. Enclosure I contains additional data on those administrative and clerical/technical occupational series having more than 500 USDA employees. SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY We reviewed USDA documents and interviewed cognizant officials to obtain information on USDA’s reorganization and streamlining efforts. To identify common support or staff functions performed by agencies within USDA, we analyzed the most current and available organization charts and personnel data from USDA’s National Finance Center for March 1997-the most current data that were available. The National Finance Center provides financial and administrative management services to USDA agencies. We performed this work during May and June 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. However, we did not verify the accuracy or reliability of the National Finance Center’s data. We provided a 4As stated in the Office of Personnel Management’s Handbook of OccuDational Grouns and Series. 3 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining B-277262 draft of enclosure I to USDA and incorporated minor technical changes where appropriate. Major contributors to this report include Anu Mittal, Andrea Brown, Paul Pan&i, and Roberto Piiiero. Please contact me on (202) 512-5138 if you or your staff have any questions. Sincerely yours, Director, Food and Agriculture Issues Enclosure GAOIRCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I Update on USDA’S Reorganization and Streamlining Efforts 5 GAOIRCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Changes Mandated by the Reorganization Act of 1994 l Reduce the number of USDA full-time equivalent (FTEs) positions by at least 7,500 by the end of FY 1999. l Reduce the percent of1headquarters _ employees by twice the rat& of field’ . employees. l Consolidate headquarters offices. l Combine field offices and jointly use field office resources. GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w USDA’s Progress in Meeting Mandated Changes l FTEs reduced by 15,956 (2,204 in headquarters and 13,752 in the field). a Headquarters FTEs reduced by 18.8% and field FTEs by 11.7%. l Seven mission areas established and the number of agencies reduced from 43 to 30. 0 Number of county office locations reduced from 3,700 to 2,800. 7 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GQ Mission Area Administrative Consolidation l Administrative consolidation completed in four of the five mission areas with more than one agency Mission area Number of agencies Lead agency for . . - administrative functions Farm and Foreign 3 Farm Service Agency Agricultural Services Marketing and 3 Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Programs Inspection Service Research, Education, 4 Agricultural Research and Economics Service Rural Development 3 Rural Housing Service 8 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GB+I Mission Area Administrative Consolidation (cont.) l Unique examples of administrative consolidation: l Rural Development is the only mission area that has consolidated civil rights and budget functions. l The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is now contracting with USDA’s central facility in Landover, Md., to purchase office supplies for its 4,000 U.S. locations at a lower cost . 9 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GAs[)State Office Administrative Streamlining l FSA, NRCS, and the RD mission area each have a separate state office in almost every state: l FSA has 51 state offices, . .. . < 8 l NRCS has 52 state offices, and l RD has 47 state offices. l These agencies proposed maintaining separate administrative structures, with some consolidation. 10 GAOI’RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w State Office Administrative Streamlining (cont.) l Deputy Secretary has asked the three agencies to develop a more aggressive approach to combining administrative functions at the state level. l 1998 budget request includes a proposal to require USDA to study options for streamlining program delivery and administrative support, as well as the optimum number of service centers. 11 GAOIRCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Common Functions According to GAO’s Analysis of Organization Charts l The following 15 support/staff functions are performed in several USDA agencies and offices: l Civil Rights .. l Legislative/Legal Affairs l Public Information/Co mmunity Af‘fairs l Human Resources l Procurement 12 GAOIRCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Common Functions (cont.) Information Systems/ADP Compliance/Audit/Investigation/Evaluation Financial/Budget Research Program Support/Management or Executive Services Administration 13 GAOIRCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Common .Functions (cont.) l Property Management l Regional; State, District, County Off ices l Economic or Policy-Analysis l Planning and Coordination 14 GAOiRCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I Number of Staff in Offices Performing Common Functions l Six of the 15 functions appeared most often on agencies/off ices charts (charts did not generally reflect functions performed at non-D.C. locations) I I - Total 2,678 1,703 4,381 15 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GFQ Data on Total USDA Personnel as of March 1997 Hission Area Agency Number in Number not in Total number the D.C. the D.C. of employees metro metro area area -arm and Foreign Agricultural Farm Service Agency 856 5,257 6,113 blvices Foreign Agricultural Service 642 118 780 Risk Management Agency 72 489 541 Wral Development Rural Utilities Service 287 97 384 Rural Housing Service . I ” 419, 6,412 6,831 Rural Business 136 9 145 Cooperative Services Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Food and Consumer Service 586 1,165 1,751 Services Natural Resources and the Forest Service 682 35.662 36,344 Environment I I Natural Resources Conservation Service 1 411 1 12,751 1 13,162 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service 709 9,759 10,468 Research, Education, and Agricultural Research Service 2,174 6,008 8,182 Economics Cooperative State Research, Education, 346 38 384 and Extension Service Economic Research Service 546 3 549 National Agricultural Statistics Service 402 677 1,079 Marketing and Regulatory Programs Agricultural Marketing Service 609 5,186 5,795 Animal and Plant Health Inspection 925 6,509 7,434 Service Grain Inspection. Packers and Stockyards 128 773 901 Administration 16 GAO/WED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Data on Total USDA Personnel as of March 1997 (cont.) Mission Area Agency Number in Number not in Total number the D.C. the D.C. of employees metro metro area area Other agencies and offices Alternative Agricultural Research and 7 0 7 Commercialization Center ental Administration Management Office of Inspector General 196 1 553 1 749 Off ice of Communications 117 0 117 Office of Budget and Program Analysis 74 0 74 National Appeals Division 28 104 132 Office of the Chief Economist 41 0 41 Office of the Secretary 62 1 63 Policy Analysis and Coordination Center 206 11 217 Office of Executive Secretariat 18 0 18 Total Number of USDA Employees 11,439 93,597 105,036 17 GAO/WED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Occupational Groups for 105,036 USDA Employees, as of March 1997 Administrative 17.1% Professional 8.3% 0.8% Technical 39.5% 18 GAO/RCED-97-I86R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I Occupational Groups for D.C. Metro Area Employees (11,439), as of March 1997 Technical 12.9% Clericat 13.4% Professional 28.3% \ / Blue collar 2.5% Other 1.1% Administrative 41.8% 19 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Occupational Groups for Non-D.C. Metro Area Employees (93,597), as of March 1997 Administrative 14.1 'A Blue collar 4.7% Professional 30.0% Clerical 7.7% Oth& 0.7% Technical 42.8% 20 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w Most Common Occupational Series l 46 out of 361 occupational series at USDA are repeated in about a third of the agencies: l 40 of the 46 occupational series are support/staff functions, which include administrative and clerical series. i 21 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w IO Administrative Occupational Series with at least 500 employees Support Services 12 31 541 572 Administration Administrative 17 43 493 536 Officer Public Affairs Staff 16 147 389 536 Budget Analysis Staff 23 230 294 524 General Arts and 13 31 482 513 Information Staff 22 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE1 w 7 Clerical/Technical Occupational Series with at least 500 employees Occupational I Number of I Staff in the D.C. serieS agencies metro area General business 14 114 and industrv Misc. clerk and 28 455 2,078 2,533 assistant I Secretary 29 1,075 Office automation 24 271 clerical and assistance Accounting 12 34 913 947 technician I I Computer clerk and 1 17 1 37 assistant Personnel clerical 14 140 and assistance (150727) 23 GAO/RCED-97-186R USDA Reorganization and Streamlining % ’ - Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. 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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Update on Reorganization and Streamlining Efforts
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-06-24.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)