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The Joint Committee approved the purchase and installation of a second VAX computer system to modernize GPO's composition area. This system will allow GPO to have its information on one computer system instead of fourteen that were unable to communicate with each other. When operational early in FY 1992, the new system will streamline and speed up the processing of the Congressional Record and other key Congressional documents. The second VAX will also provide an electronic backup system for GPO.
The Joint Committee continues to manage the activities of the Congressional Record Index Office. Semi-monthly indexes are consistently issued on a current schedule and the backlog of annual indexes has been reduced. Annual indexes are now published and distributed approximately every six months. Processing earlier back issues at this same rate may not be maintained when data bases have to be reconstructured due to lack of previous procedures.
In an effort to take advantage of technological advances and the GPO recently improved methods of typesetting the Congressional Record, PC's have been installed at the Congressional Record Index Office to replace the ATEX system. Processing software is being rewritten to fully implement the new equipment.
The 1986 bound Congressional Record was distributed to all offices and Regional Depository Libraries. The decision to publish the volumes in CD-ROM is pending the results of the survey distributed as part of the CD-ROM pilot project November 1990.
GAO Audits on Financial Operations and Management
The Joint Committee has asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct in Fiscal Year 1992, the tri-annual audit of GPO's financial operations as required by Title 44. GAO's 1989 audit found incomplete records and the Agency was unable to express an opinion on GPO's financial status. At the same time, GAO was asked to followup and verify that the recommendations made in their 1989 General Management Review have actually been
Joint Committee Review and Analysis of GPO Procurement
At the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing, the Government Printing Office administers the Federal Printing Program which employs competitive bidding among commercial printers to effectively provide Government printing requirements at the lowest possible cost. The Joint Committee continually reviews the operation and effectiveness of this program to assure its efficiency and effectiveness. The Joint Committee routinely provides recommendations to improve both the internal procurement operations at GPO as well as to enhance the level of service to the agency customers. This past summer, the JCP initiated an audit of GPO's printing and paper procurements to assure that the programs are being conducted soundly and honestly.
8. Continuing Policies to Minimize Government Printing Costs
The Joint Committee has noticed several trends among Executive and Congressional agencies that unnecessarily increase the cost of Government printing. First, annual reports to Congress were becoming expensive through unnecessary decorative embellishments. The Joint Committee issued and has aggressively enforced a policy letter of February 1989, that specifically limits the printing attributes of annual reports to Congress to assure that costs are controlled without limiting the information required by the Congress.
Secondly, the JCP has refused to grant authority for agencies to pay for the printing of personalized business cards in all but the most necessary cases. Many agencies have sought authority for such personalized printing for large portions of their employees at astonishing costs.
Additionally, the Committee has worked closely with the General Accounting Office during its recent review of this issue and has obtained support with the issuing of a Comptroller General's Decision that upholds the Joint Committee's policy.
The Joint Committee has also noted a trend for agencies to request the use of papers that are not in concert with the Government Paper Specifications Standards and that cost additional monies and/or serve to limit competition among commercial printing firms bidding on such work. The JCP has advised the GPO to not process any requisitions that cite a nonstandard paper, unless a specific waiver has been obtained after
The Joint Committee on Printing continues to discharge its responsibility under Section 305 of Title 44, United states Code, commonly referred to as the Keiss Act. Under the provisions of this act, the Joint Committee acts as the final appeal authority on disputes over rates of wages. During the past year, the Joint Comunittee approved three. wage agreements and is in the process of considering the appeal of a fourth.
In April, the JCP approved a three-year wage agreement effective January 1, 1991, between GPO and AFGE Local 2738 representing GPO's uniformed special police officers. The agreement grants a 6% pay increase each year. The agreement represented an effort to bring the pay of GPO's 62 uniformed police officers into parity with similar government police forces in Washington, DC.
In July, the JCP approved a four-year wage agreement between GPO and the Joint Bargaining Committee of GPO Unions effective June 18, 1991. Ten trade unions are covered by this agreement which calls for wage adjustments of 48 in the first year, approximately 3.7% in the second and third years (with a CPIbased cap of 4.1%) and 4% in the fourth year (with a CPI-based cap of 4.2%). The agreement also includes a mid-term bargaining mechanism, subject to JCP approval under the Keiss Act, to consider new pay rates where new equipment or processes are introduced during the term of the agreement.
After a lengthy period of negotiation between the AFGE Printing Crafts Joint Council (PCJC) and the GPO and the filing of impasse by both parties, the JCP employed a factfinder/arbitrator through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
The AFGE PCJC represents approximately 1300 white collar GPO employees. During the fact-finding/arbitration process, the parties reached agreement and on October 22, 1991, the JCP approved a four-year agreement effective January 1, 1991. The agreement grants an increase of 4.1% in the first year, 4.2 % in the second year and a CPI-based increase in the third (capped at 4.2%) and fourth (capped at 4.1%) years. In addition, the agreement grants a 1% cash bonus in each year.
Wage negotiations between GPO management and the fourth group, the International Association of Machinists, have continued after a period of impasse in August, September and October. Once reached, the agreement will be effective as of June 18, 1991 and will apply to 36 employees.
The wages of non-bargaining employees, set pursuant to Title 44 U.S.C. section 305 by the Public Printer, were adjusted approximately 1 to 1.2% in January of 1991 and another 3% in
Oversight of the Public's Right of Access to Government
A. Depository Library Program
The Congress established the Depository Library Program to provide free Government publications for the use of the public in libraries across the country. There is at least one depository library in every Congressional District. The Joint Committee is responsible for the oversight of this program and has taken several steps to improve it, including the following:
Electronic Pilot Projects
The Joint Committee on Printing has urged the Government Printing Office and the General Accounting Office to complete the evaluation of five electronic pilot projects. The projects include three CD-ROM (Compact Disc--Read Only Memory) and two on-line projects.
Since September of 1988 some 75 CD-ROM publications have been distributed to depository libraries. A user survey covering the nine Census titles was conducted of some 360 randomlyselected depositories in the summer of 1991. A similar study was conducted of some 275 randomly-selected depositories selecting the Toxic Release Inventory Data base (EPA). All 1400 depository libraries received the Congressional Record (final) on CD-ROM and were asked to respond to a survey. The results of all of these studies should be available early in 1992.
The production and distribution of CD-ROM discs follows the same procedures as the traditional printing arrangement. That is, the publishing agency decides to publish on CD-ROM to meet its own or its audience's needs, and GPO rides the order for additional copies to be distributed to depository libraries. The appropriation for the depository library program pays for these additional copies.
Replication and distribution to the depository libraries in CD-ROM offers cost savings over printed and microfiche products. The Joint Committee on Printing believes that provision of information on CD-ROMs has already provided substantial financial savings to the Government. It has made it possible to provide large statistical and geographical data bases, which in the past would have been prohibitively expensive in paper or even microfiche, in a format that allows the public to manipulate the
There were two on-line projects, the Commerce Department Economic Bulletin Board, and the Department of Energy bibliographic data base.
The Department of Commerce paid for the collection, preparation and maintenance of the Economic Bulletin Board data, and for its own equipment which allows direct access by user libraries.
The Department of Energy pilot is the second on-line project. Energy pays for the ongoing development and maintenance of its Integrated Technical Information System (ITIS) data base. Energy also designed the pilot proposal, conducted a three-day training session in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and is providing telephone support to the library participants.
The Joint committee on Printing held a series of hearings in 1991, on government information as a public asset and on new technology available to GPO. As a result of those hearings Chairman Rose introduced H.R. 2772 "The GPO Wide Information Network Data Online Act" (GPO WINDO). WINDO is intended to establish the U.S. Government Printing Office as a single point of public access to a wide range of federal electronic data bases. It would initially offer access to a number of existing on-line products, and gradually expand to offer additional products as they are created and made available. In some cases GPO would maintain the data bases, in others GPO would simply provide a gateway into on-line information systems maintained by other agencies. The information available through WINDO would be priced at approximately the incremental cost of dissemination for sales customers, and would be provided without charge through the depository library program.
The Joint Committee continues to be concerned about the backlog of approximately 7,100 publications waiting for conversion to microfiche for the depository library program.
The Joint Committee asked GPO to evaluate the reasons for the backlog and institute steps to eliminate it. GPO conducted a study late in the summer of 1991, took steps to streamline the process, and now projects that the backlog will be eliminated by early 1992.
D. Cataloging Backlog
As the microfiche production backlog is reduced and those titles are sent to be cataloged, they become part of the cataloging backlog. The Joint Committee is concerned that due to