Reorganization of the Office of Surface Mining, Department of the Interior

CED-82-32: Published: Jan 18, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 1982.

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GAO was requested to review the proposed reorganization of the Office of Surface Mining (OSM), Department of the Interior. OSM stated that the reorganization would save $5.7 million annually by reducing its staff level from 795 to 628 positions, resulting in a more effective and efficient operation. Under the reorganization, most States would assume primary responsibility for implementing the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.

GAO could not determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the reorganization at this time for the following reasons: (1) until it is known whether the 10 States that have not yet assumed primary responsibility for implementing the Act will do so, there will be uncertainty as to what the role of OSM will be and where its presence will be needed the most; and (2) the reorganization is not expected to be completed until the latter part of fiscal year 1982. Operating experience under the reorganization will be needed to determine whether the new structure has serious problems. In most reorganizations the size that affecting of OSM, uncertainty exists as to whether the new organizational structure will be effective, and considerable anxiety can be expected on the part of the affected staff. OSM officials stated that OSM can overcome this uncertainty and, if future workload indexes change, it will make the necessary changes, including establishing offices in other locations.

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