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[The questions and responses follow:]
QUESTION FOR THE RECORD FROM MR. HOYER
Question. Please describe GAO's present and planned efforts to help eastern-bloc and other countries fight government corruption, for which you request $250,000. Response. The increased funding is needed to support GAO initiatives to enhance the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions' efforts to combat government-related corruption around the world. INTOSAI is the professional organization of national audit institutions in countries that belong to the United Nations or its specialized agencies. These institutions play a major role in auditing government accounts and operations and in promoting sound financial management and accountability in their governments. Citizens, international donors and others have increasingly higher expectations of national governments. These governments depend on the national audit institutions to help ensure public accountability. INTOSAI supports its members in this task by providing opportunities to share information and experiences about the auditing and evaluation challenges facing them in today's changing and increasingly interdependent world. As the internationally recognized leader in public sector auditing, INTOSAI issues international guidelines for financial management, internal control and other areas; develops related methodologies; provides training; and promotes the exchange of information among members.
GAO is a member of the governing board of INTOSAI and takes a leading role in its activities. In connection with these duties, GAO seeks to enhance INTOSAI efforts to combat government-related corruption around the world. In fiscal year 2002, GAO has requested $250,000 to:
• Support a multilateral training effort with Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, and perhaps others to provide a mid-level course on how to prepare for and then execute an effective performance audit;
• Provide bilateral technical assistance to the Russian Chamber of Accounts;
• Collaboratively undertake one joint audit effort with the Russian Chamber of Accounts; and
• Support the Latin American Supreme Audit Institutions in developing and delivering technical training, probably related to information technology and/or addressing issues of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. GAO will be part of a multinational team that includes the Inter-American Development Bank.
GAO plans to involve graduates of GAO's International Fellowship Program in these initiatives. These graduates hold important positions in their own national audit offices.
Question. Please describe in detail any actions taken to-date, or planned, using human capital provisions enacted for the GAO by the last Congress in Public Law 106-303.
Response. Following enactment of the human capital legislation, we established priorities addressing the publication of regulations implementing the new authorities granted GAO by this legislation. In developing and issuing the human capital
SENIOR LEVEL POSITIONS
We developed GAO Order 2319.1, Senior Level Positions, to incorporate the provisions related to senior level positions. An individual serving in a Senior Level position must meet critical scientific, technical, or professional needs of GAO. Senior Level incumbents are subject to the laws and regulations applicable to GAO's SES with respect to rates of basic pay, performance awards, ranks, carry-over leave, benefits, performance appraisals, removal or suspension, reductions-in-force, and rights of appeal to the GAO Personnel Appeals Board. Senior Level positions generally do not include managerial or supervisory duties.
In developing these regulations, we consulted with and obtained comments from GAO staff and the Employee Advisory Council (EAC). Draft regulations were provided to the EAC in December 2000, and to all GAO employees for a 30-day comment period on January 2, 2001. Following consideration of comments received during this period, the draft order was finalized and issued on March 22, 2001. All GAO employees were notified of the availability of the final regulations on GAO's Intranet, along with a summary of the changes incorporated in the regulations based upon comments received. Our first competitive announcement for Senior Level Technologists closed on April 23, 2001. Under this new authority, to date we have filled 7 Senior Level positions: 3 staff were reclassified from SES to Senior Level, and 4 staff were selected under competitive announcements.
VOLUNTARY EARLY RETIREMENT AUTHORITY
We also published regulations related to the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority provisions. The regulations were provided to the EAC in December 2000, and to all GAO employees for a 30-day comment period via the Intranet on January 8, 2001. Over 60 comments were submitted by employees and fully considered. The final regulations, along with an explanation of the changes made as a result of comments received, were issued on April 27, 2001. We provided a briefing to GAO's Managing Directors and EAC in June 2001 to seek input on the proposed early retirement opportunity period and related criteria. In addition, we have announced a 45-day period from July 16, 2001 until August 30, 2001 during which time employees can apply for a voluntary early retirement.
The voluntary early retirement offer is designed to support our strategic plan to serve the Congress in the 21st century, while maintaining the resources necessary to deliver on our current commitments to the Congress. The specific objectives of this opportunity are to better align our workforce, correct selected skill imbalances, and reduce high-grade, supervisory and managerial positions. The criteria to be used for offering early retirements will be based on selected occupational group and series, unit, and performance appraisal average, as consistent with the law. These criteria focus eligibility for early retirement on organizations and skill groups that we do not expect to grow in the future and on adjusting the shape of the organization by encouraging retirements among higher-graded and managerial staff. Individuals not in a group covered by the criteria may apply as volunteers and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account individual facts and circumstances. Individuals accepting retirement offers will be expected to leave the agency between October 1, 2001-January 3, 2002.
VOLUNTARY SEPARATION INCENTIVE PAYMENTS AND REDUCTIONS-IN-FORCE
We also are developing regulations to implement the provisions related to Voluntary Separation Incentive payments and Reductions-in-Force. We plan to publish these regulations in fiscal year 2002 in order to have them available if needed. Authority to offer separation incentive payments is limited each year to no more than 5 percent of the onboard staff at the beginning of the fiscal year and is available through December 31, 2003. However, due to the high cost to the agency of contributions to the retirement fund for staff receiving a separation incentive payment, we
In addition to permitting the Comptroller General to conduct a reduction-in-force in response to budget reductions, the legislation also permits use of the authority to realign the agency workforce, correct skills imbalances, and reduce high-grade, managerial or supervisory positions. To date this authority has not been used, and we do not anticipate any involuntary layoffs through next fiscal year.
We are required to include in each annual report to the Congress during a 5-year period a review of all actions taken pursuant to this Act relating to buy-outs, voluntary early retirements, and reductions-in-force. We must also submit to the Congress within 3 years a report on the implementation and effectiveness of the Act including any assessment or recommendation of the GAO Personnel Appeals Board or any interested groups or associations representing GAO officers and employees. This report will include our recommendations for continuation of the buy out and early out authorities as well as a summary of the portions of the annual reports required by the Act.
Mr. TAYLOR. We will now take up the Fiscal Year 2002 budget request of the Congressional Budget Office. We have Director Dan Crippen and also Barry Anderson, the Deputy Director, with us today. We welcome you both.
Given the CBO's continued positive protection of the tax surplus, I would say that there is one office that does have a very high return on every dollar, provided, of course, the surplus is continuing. We might want to get into that.
The budget request that will be considered for the Congressional Budget Office for the Fiscal Year 2002 is $30.7 million. This is an increase of $2,250,000 or 7.9 percent above the enacted level and includes a request to increase the FTEs from 228 to 232. I know, Mr. Crippen, your statement has been prepared and submitted. We can go directly into questions unless there is some comment you would like to make.
[The prepared statement of the Director of the Congressional Budget Office follows:]