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LIBRARY ADJUSTMENT OF FTES BETWEEN ORGANIZATIONS

Mr. TAYLOR. I have a question for the Congressional Research Service, that can be answered by Mr. Mulhollan or yourself, Dr. Billington. The library's justification, part I, page 930, reflects a deduction of 25 FTEs for CRS with redistribution of those FTEs to the Copyright Office and the Books for the Blind. In this budget request CRS has requested an additional 17 FTEs, costing $3.5 million, to strengthen its capacity to provide research and analysis to the Congress. As you are aware every day it becomes more difficult to attract skilled employees to the Library as well as other parts of the Legislative Branch. How do we plan to attract and retain the needed expertise of the employees that you are recruiting for, and if CRS needs additional FTEs, why were 25 of them shifted to other parts of the Library? It seems like you are double functioning.

Mr. MULHOLLAN. Sir, the 25 positions were a reallocation FTE's, reflecting the amount of money available and lack of funding of all mandatories in some previous years. The Library's proposed transfer is not a shift in money. The Library regularly evaluates the amount of money available to fund FTEs. The proposed shift is less than 1 percent of the total FTEs. Should the Congress approve funding for the 17 FTEs CRS has requested, the Library would reduce its proposed decrease for CRS to reflect that, and would reallocate only 8 FTEs.

CRS STAFF RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION

With regard to retaining employees, you are quite right. It is a real challenge, but I think it is one that we can surmount. First and foremost, what we have found in our ongoing relationship with the graduate schools across the country is that CRS' greatest selling point is the actual work. The opportunity to work with the Congress to write the laws of the Nation is what draws applicants to us. We cannot of course pay what the private sector can pay, as already mentioned, but what we can do is try to meet the salaries that other government agencies are paying. We are aggessively establishing ongoing relationships with the policy and graduate schools to make sure that in fact they know of us, because there was the long period of time during downsizing when we didn't have that ongoing relationship.

We have established research relationships with the schools as well, including Columbia, Syracuse, UCLA, and Texas, where we get to see what the students can do on their research process, and they see the kind of work that they can be involved in with Congress itself. And, of course we are looking at other items, including professional development, career training and student loan forgive

ness.

QUESTIONS FOR THE RECORD FROM MR. HOYER

Mr. TAYLOR. We have some questions submitted by Mr. Hoyer to be answered for the record.

SUCCESSION INITIATIVE

Question. Congress has supported the CRS succession initiative for the last few years. How is the program proceeding and what successes have you had?

Response. We are very grateful for the support Congress provided to assist CRS with its succession initiative. This support came in response to CRS' strategic planning to ensure that CRS can maintain and strengthen its capacity to provide policy and legal analytic services for the Congress despite the fact that by 2006 more than sixty percent of CRS' staff of analysts, attorneys, and information specialists will be eligible to retire.

WHY CRS NEEDED A SUCCESSION PLAN-BACKGROUND

Two factors, in combination, created this significant risk of lost expertise and research capability. First, the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 expanded CRS' mission and staffing, and mandated that "It shall be the duty of the Congressional Research Service, without partisan bias—to develop and maintain an information and research capability." Based on an underlying belief that it could most effectively and efficiently meet its research needs through a nonpartisan, shared, pool of experts, Congress provided appropriations for a significant increase in CRS staff capacity to implement the Act. Many of the staff hired between 1971 and 1975 are now, or will soon become, eligible to retire.

Second, between fiscal 1992 and 1998, CRS staffing decreased by 122 full-time equivalents (FTEs) as a result of government-wide budget reductions. Consequently, CRS was unable to fill behind many of the resignations, deaths or retirements of its professional staff, and therefore did not have a normal distribution of senior and junior staff, which would otherwise have provided an orderly transfer of institutional knowledge when experts retire.

IMPACT OF PROJECTED RETIREMENTS

CRS conducted risk assessments through staff surveys in 1996, 1999, and 2000 to determine the a anticipated number and timing of retirements, and to assess the risk those retirements would pose to CRS' analytical and research capacity. Response rates have ranged from 80-95 percent. More than half of those eligible to retire intend to do so within a very few years.

As a result of these retirement projections, CRS identified future diminished capacity in such areas as antitrust law, crime and drug control, election law, energy, environmental and natural resources, foreign policy, government finance and tax policy, health insurance, immigration programs, medicaid and medicare, military forces, prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals, social security and trade. Unless replaced, this loss in senior policy and legal experts will result in a loss of Congress' pool of shared experts who provide unbiased and nonpartisan support to Members and Committees at all stages of the legislative process.

In many types of positions, management can wait until one staff member leaves before hiring a replacement. In fact, funding levels for agencies are usually based on the assumption that there is some lag time between the departure of the experienced staff member and the arrival of the replacement, who is expected to be able to operate at the full performance level very quickly. For policy analysts and information specialists in CRS, however, it takes much longer to replace the expertise lost when a senior staff member leaves. To work independently, entry-level staff, who are already well-trained in their disciplines, must build their capacity to (1) understand legislative/budget procedures as practiced in the legislative environment; (2) examine issues from a nonpartisan and unbiased perspective; (3) present analysis and research in a manner and form that best meets the Congress' legislative needs; and (4) develop and maintain contacts with subject experts in academia, government agencies, and elsewhere.

Under CRS' succession plan, newly hired staff work closely with senior analysts who share knowledge and experience in their discipline within the legislative context. CRS found during the period since the 1970 Legislative Reorganization Act that it takes a number of years for an entry level analyst to develop subject expertise and knowledge of the legislative environment in order to handle complex issues in the way a manner comparable to that of a senior analyst.

SUCCESSION POSITIONS FILLED

To ensure continuity and sustain services to the Congress, CRS asked Congress to fund a small number of additional staff who could work with on board experts before they retire. Thus, current staff will be able to transfer institutional memory

tivity, timeliness, accuracy, and responsiveness. Congress funded two phases ($724, 183) in fiscal years 1999-2000, permitting CRS to hire 15 entry-level staff. In addition, CRS devoted positions from its base to strengthen succession planning and incorporated risk assessments into quarterly workforce decision-making.

As of the beginning of July 2001 CRS has filled a total of 52 permanent positions using three recruitment programs-the Graduate Recruit Program, the Law Recruit Program, and the Presidential Management Intern Program.

Twenty-three percent of the hires are minorities. Since the beginning of the program, CRS has experienced a 92% retention rate for staff who accepted permanent positions.

ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES

Although CRS is no longer conducting a formal Succession Plan, the Service has built the principles of succession planning into its overall workforce planning. All hiring decisions now take into account succession planning needs. Also, in the course of recruiting for its succession plan positions, CRS targeted top graduate schools with high concentrations of minority students. The relationships forged through this targeted recruitment effort have since led to other opportunities for CRS, including:

• Research partnerships with graduate schools of public policy: CRS has initiated, on a pilot basis, research partnerships with the following universities: Columbia, Harvard, Syracuse, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Rochester, and University of Texas. Under these partnerships, graduate students conduct research on select public policy topics under the supervision of senior CRS staff.

• CRS Internship Program for Students of the Atlanta University Center: This program (currently being conducted on a pilot basis) provides internship opportunities for college seniors at Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College.

• United Negro College Fund/Institute for International Public Policy Internship Program: As part of its succession plan recruiting, CRS made contact with numerous minority education associations, including the United Negro College Fund/Institute for International Public Policy (UNCF/IIPP). This effort has enabled CRS to establish a working relationship with the UNCF/IIPP, through which CRS hopes to gain status, on a pilot basis, as a participating agency in the UNCF/IPP internship program.

CRS has also implemented other initiatives to build research capacity within current resources. These include professional development details; visiting scholar and professional volunteer programs; realignment of CRS' divisions and offices, and contracting for skills and knowledge not currently resident in the Service.

FUTURE CHALLENGES RECRUITING AND RETAINING STAFF

Retention of our new hires, and the ability to continue to attract a high caliber of graduate student are very high priorities. Because both recruitment and retention are so critical to future success in ensuring the continuation of high quality services to the Congress, we have been thinking about ways that student loan forgiveness might help us attract and retain good candidates for public service. We have been working with the Library on a draft regulation, and are pleased that other government agencies are now beginning to design and implement such programs. We note that in recent budget requests our sister agencies, CBO and GAO, have also discussed the challenge of recruiting and retaining staff, and have identified the value of such student loan forgiveness programs to help in attracting good candidates. We expect to develop more specific plans to include CRS in any Legislative Branch funding initiatives to ensure that the Congress itself, and its policy support agencies, can replenish their staffs with highly qualified and talented people who see public service as a good career.

In fiscal 2001, we have continued to ensure that our priorities for new hires are aligned with the most critical policy areas where recent and future retirements place our capacity at risk. This year, however, we face a particular challenge in filling positions because of the Library's transition to a new selection process which was developed by the Library to reach a court-ordered settlement. This new system requires significant up-front training of administrative staff and selecting officials and we are working intensively with the Library to help work out many of the implementation problems. We hope that the system can be made to work as quickly as possible as CRS faces high risk if we remain unable to fill our positions with

TECHNOLOGY: THE AFFECT ON CRS' RESEARCH AND DELIVERY OF

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Question. You note that technology has changed the way Congress works, which in turn requires changes in the way CRS supports the Congress. How has technology changed the way Congress requests CRS assistance, and how has it affected the way you conduct and deliver your research?

Response. Technology has changed both what Members ask about and how you ask for it; both factors are impacting the way we conduct and deliver our research to you.

With respect to what you ask about, Congress has introduced hundreds of bills, held many hearings, and enacted significant legislation on issues arising from information technology (such as: tax moratorium, child pornography protections, provision of electronic signatures) and will continue to do so. Virtually all committees are considering legislation to address policy concerns such as privacy, security, fraud, taxation, sovereignty and antitrust concerns for commercial, government and private electronic-based activities, as well as for medical and financial transactions, and for government transactions in agriculture, welfare, tax, social security, law enforcement. Your demand and need for high-level analysis is a crucial element in assisting you as you frame and debate legislation and conduct oversight.

But at present, CRS cannot provide consistent in-depth service on many of these issues for too many requests we can only provide information and tracking documents and occasional syntheses of research on these topics as the issues in information policy are not typically direct or natural extensions of issue area responsibilities of our current staff. Similarly, we do not have the capacity to support our analysts in developing and sustaining unique datasets and applications thereby crippling our ability to provide reliable quantitative analysis to you. We must have tools to provide rapid, sophisticated, authoritative, and integrated legislative support.

With respect to how Members are asking for our assistance, you are accessing our research and analysis in a different manner because you are operating in an environment of intense immediacy. You are making extensive use of electronic services such as the Legislative Information System, the CRS home page, our electronic briefings books, and the online file of CRS products. But we have had to limit the number of products prepared specifically for the online setting because of information technology resource constraints.

Every member and committee maintains a web page and, with rare exception, each page offers an e-mail contact. Congress is asking CRS to both except requests via e-mail and to use E-mail to transmit our research and analysis to you. But we are unable to respond to these requests because resources have not permitted a thorough and systematic assessment of our security concerns, as well as the challenging issues of security, electronic tracking, and record keeping.

We have identified two major areas where CRS capacity is seriously deficient and prevents us from responding with the analysis needed and in making the necessary technology changes which reflect changes in your environments and work methodologies. These form the basis for the $3.49 million program increase sought in CRS' fiscal 2002 budget request to the Congress. The request will enable CRS to: 1. Acquire capacity to better analyze complex information and technology policy issues.

CRS does not have adequate staff expertise to provide high-level analysis on sophisticated information and technology policy issues. Nor can we "home-grow" this expertise. Policy areas such as cyber terrorism requires significantly different spheres of understanding than are needed for dealing with most traditional forms of terrorism. Privacy issues and potential solutions in a market-drive, internet setting are radically different than issues surrounding government information as addressed in the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Freedom of Information Act.

The request will allow CRS to hire five senior analysts who will provide high level expertise and Service-wide leadership on technology policy issues and implications as they affect various legal areas (such as privacy, fraud, intellectual property), government information policy, national security, telecommunications technologies, and economic issues of the technology and information industries.

2. Equip ourselves with the leadership and technical staff, skills and tools necessary to address serious and significant gaps in the capacity to analyze complex technology policy issues, to conduct collaborative research, and to apply technology to work and communication processes.

This information technology investment will enable CRS to make significant progress in improving interactive communications with Congress and its access to us and to our products as well as in transforming our research work to 21st century

More specifically, the funds requested will be used to: improve protection of confidential congressional information; provide secure access to CRS for district offices; support the delivery of innovative interactive products and services through the CRS web site; move innovative electronic research products (e.g., electronic briefing books, e coverage of current legislative issues) from pilot products into full-fledged products. This request will also support implementing on-line document creation and editing to facilitate team research projects such as the Electronic Briefing Books and our new Legislative Issues Service on the CRS web site; laying a foundation for managing CRS electronic data and information for as long as needed; developing new multi-user quantitative databases, and modifying and documenting existing databases that are at-risk due to inadequate documentation; and expanding our capacity for critically-needed electronic storage.

TELECOMMUTING PROGRAM

Question. You have decided a telecommuting program is not appropriate for CRS. Why not?

Response. I do not believe that it is in the best interest of Congress, given the level of support it needs and deserves, to implement a telework policy more elaborate than currently permitted by the existing Library regulation, which provides managers the flexibility to allow employees to work at their place of residence under certain circumstances. CRS has successfully used, and will continue to use this option on a case-by-case basis as events and conditions warrant. However, I believe that an expanded teleworking policy would pose a significant risk to the current relationship the Service has with the Congress. Members of Congress consider CRS both a shared pool of experts and an extension of their own staff. Teleworking would seriously undermine CRS' mission and service qualities, especially those related to accessibility. Congress' expectation is that CRS staff are readily accessible for inperson briefings and to work along side Members and staff at every stage of the legislative process. Our staff must be available at a moment's notice particularly in a Web-dominated environment with expectations that are nearing 24 hours a day, seven days a week-to support directly Congress' enormous workload.

PREPARED STATEMENT OF REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS

Mr. TAYLOR. We have the prepared statement of the Register of Copyrights that will be inserted in the record at this time. [The prepared statement follows:]

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