B-181254(1), B-181254.L/M, FEB 28, 1975

B-181254(1),B-181254.L/M: Feb 28, 1975

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WHOSE MAIN TASK IS DEALING WITH THE PRESS. YOU ALSO REQUESTED THAT WE ASCERTAIN WHETHER THERE IS ANY VIOLATION OF TITLE 5. FEA'S OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS IS THE ONLY OFFICE WITHIN FEA WITH THE MAIN TASK OF DEALING WITH THE PRESS. THE BASIC MISSION OF THIS OFFICE IS TO CONTINUALLY MAKE PUBLIC INFORMATION CONCERNING FEA'S DECISIONS AND ACTIVITIES FOR RESOLVING ENERGY PROBLEMS. GS SERIES CLASSIFICATION AND GRADE ARE SHOWN IN APPENDIX II. IT WAS REORGANIZED INTO AN OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR AND SIX SEPARATE DIVISIONS. THE ONLY NEW DIVISION CREATED AT THIS TIME WAS THE COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND PUBLIC EDUCATION DIVISION. THE STAFF FOR THIS NEW DIVISION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM OTHER DIVISIONS WITHIN THE OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS.

B-181254(1), B-181254.L/M, FEB 28, 1975

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

JOHN E. MOSS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1974, REQUESTED THAT WE DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF FEDERAL ENERGY ADMINISTRATION (FEA) EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING THOSE TEMPORARILY ASSIGNED FROM OTHER AGENCIES, WHOSE MAIN TASK IS DEALING WITH THE PRESS, PUBLIC RELATIONS, AND PUBLIC INFORMATION. YOU ALSO REQUESTED THAT WE ASCERTAIN WHETHER THERE IS ANY VIOLATION OF TITLE 5, U.S.C. SECTION 3107, WHICH STATES: "APPROPRIATED FUNDS MAY NOT BE USED TO PAY A PUBLICITY EXPERT UNLESS SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR THAT PURPOSE."

FEA'S OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS IS THE ONLY OFFICE WITHIN FEA WITH THE MAIN TASK OF DEALING WITH THE PRESS, PUBLIC RELATIONS, AND PUBLIC INFORMATION. THE BASIC MISSION OF THIS OFFICE IS TO CONTINUALLY MAKE PUBLIC INFORMATION CONCERNING FEA'S DECISIONS AND ACTIVITIES FOR RESOLVING ENERGY PROBLEMS. AS OF FEBRUARY 3, 1975, THE OFFICE EMPLOYED 127 EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING 12 NONPERMANENT EMPLOYEES. SEE APPENDIX I FOR AN ORGANIZATIONAL CHART. BREAKDOWNS OF THESE EMPLOYEES BY OFFICE, STATUS, AND GS SERIES CLASSIFICATION AND GRADE ARE SHOWN IN APPENDIX II, III, AND IV.

PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 12, 1974, THE OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS HAD 133 EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO 10 DIFFERENT OFFICES. ON NOVEMBER 12, 1974, THE FORMER FEA ADMINISTRATOR IMPOSED A STAFFING CEILING OF 129 ON THIS OFFICE, AND IT WAS REORGANIZED INTO AN OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR AND SIX SEPARATE DIVISIONS, EACH HEADED BY AN ASSISTANT DIRECTOR. THE ONLY NEW DIVISION CREATED AT THIS TIME WAS THE COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND PUBLIC EDUCATION DIVISION, RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING LIAISON BETWEEN FEA AND THE COMMUNITY, SCHOOLS, AND PUBLIC ADVERTISING. THE STAFF FOR THIS NEW DIVISION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM OTHER DIVISIONS WITHIN THE OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS.

AS APPENDIX II SHOWS, 30 OF THE 127 EMPLOYEES WERE ASSIGNED TO THE EDITORIAL AND PUBLICATIONS DIVISION. OF THESE 30 EMPLOYEES, 20 ARE ASSIGNED TO PUBLIC INQUIRIES AND CORRESPONDENCE, WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR RESPONDING TO INQUIRIES FROM THE PUBLIC, THE WHITE HOUSE, AND THE CONGRESS. IN FEBRUARY 1974, THIS OFFICE HAD 65 EMPLOYEES WHO RESPONDED TO A MONTHLY AVERAGE OF ABOUT 8,500 LETTERS FROM FEBRUARY TO APRIL 1974. THEIR CURRENT WORKLOAD AVERAGES ABOUT 2,000 RESPONSES A MONTH WITH A BACKLOG OF 3,190 LETTERS AS OF JANUARY 16, 1975.

THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS BELIEVES THE STAFFING LEVEL WAS JUSTIFIED, CONSIDERING THE AMOUNT OF OVERTIME WORKED. RECORDS OF OVERTIME WORKED BY GS-13S AND ABOVE WERE MAINTAINED, BUT THE OVERTIME WORKED BY GS-12S AND BELOW DURING THE MONTHS OF APRIL AND MAY 1974 AVERAGED ABOUT 15 HOURS PER PAY PERIOD PER PERSON. FROM MID-AUGUST TO MID-OCTOBER 1974, OVERTIME WAS REDUCED TO AN AVERAGE OF ABOUT 7 HOURS PER PAY PERIOD PER PERSON FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS. ACCORDING TO A COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICIAL, THE DIRECTOR IS CURRENTLY PHASING OUT MUCH OF THE OVERTIME.

THE DIRECTOR PLANNED TO HAVE ALL 12 NONPERMANENT EMPLOYEES CONVERTED TO PERMANENT STATUS BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. HOWEVER, AT THE DIRECTION OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, THE STAFF IS TO BE REDUCED TO 100 BY JUNE 30, 1975. MUCH OF THIS REDUCTION WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED BY SENDING EMPLOYEES BACK TO THEIR ORIGINAL AGENCIES.

AS OF FEBRUARY 3, 1975, 21 EMPLOYEES, ONE OF WHICH WAS ASSIGNED TO THE EDITORIAL AND PUBLICATIONS DIVISION, WERE CLASSIFIED AS PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICERS. ACCORDING TO THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION CLASSIFICATION OF THIS POSITION, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICERS OR SPECIALISTS

"PERFORM WORK INVOLVED IN DISSEMINATING INFORMATION

ABOUT GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND

TO ESPECIALLY AFFECTED OR INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS BY

MEANS OF PUBLIC INFORMATION CHANNELS SUCH AS

NEWSPAPERS, RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS, AND

MAGAZINES OF GENERAL CIRCULATION." OUR OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL IS CURRENTLY REVIEWING FEA'S USE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICERS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES TO DETERMINE WHETHER THERE IS ANY POTENTIAL VIOLATION OF TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 3107, AND WILL MAKE A FURTHER RESPONSE TO YOUR REQUEST.

WE REALIZE THAT FEA WAS CREATED UNDER EMERGENCY CONDITIONS AND THAT THERE WAS A GREAT NEED TO KEEP THE PUBLIC INFORMED OF THE ENERGY SITUATION, ESPECIALLY DURING THE MONTHS OF THE GASOLINE SHORTAGE. WE BELIEVE THAT THE OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS DID A NOTEWORTHY JOB OF DISSEMINATING INFORMATION DURING THIS TIME AND THAT THE STAFFING LEVEL WAS REASONABLE, CONSIDERING THE ADVERSE CONDITIONS BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE ENERGY CRISIS. FOR EXAMPLE, DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE ENERGY CRISIS, THE OFFICE WAS RECEIVING THOUSANDS OF LETTERS WEEKLY FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, BUSINESSMEN, AND CONSUMERS AND ABOUT 2,000 PHONE CALLS DAILY. THE NUMEROUS INQUIRIES, ALONG WITH THE OTHER PUBLIC AFFAIRS FUNCTIONS, RESULTED IN THE STAFF, WHICH HAS AVERAGED ABOUT 130 EMPLOYEES, HAVING TO WORK EXCESSIVE OVERTIME.

WE DISCUSSED THE CONTENTS OF THIS REPORT INFORMALLY WITH THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, AND HE INDICATED GENERAL AGREEMENT WITH OUR FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS.

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