Problems in Archives Personnel Practices

FGMSD-80-29: Published: Feb 11, 1980. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 1980.

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GAO provided comments on certain practices at the National Archives and Records Service (NARS) regarding the hiring and utilization of employees. The National Archives Trust Fund Board is empowered to hire employees without regard to civil service laws and pays these employees with monies from the National Archives Trust Fund. The history of the authorizing legislation shows that this direct hire authority was granted so that highly qualified technical persons could be hired for short periods of time.

The intent of the enabling legislation is not being followed because most of the approximately 240 people employed by the Trust Fund are full-time employees who hold positions requiring no special skills or knowledge. Many employees held Trust Fund positions and later held the same or very similar positions under competitive appointments. Such assignments are prohibited without the approval of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Due to an intermixture of Trust Fund and appropriated activities at NARS, numerous employees from both categories have duties which involve working partly on Trust Fund projects and partly on appropriated activities. In some cases, Trust Fund employees supervise competitive service employees, and vice versa, without the required OPM approval. In congressional hearings on the Fund's operation, GAO has expressed its belief that there may no longer be a need for the direct hire authority. GAO continues to believe that if the direct hire authority is eliminated, many of the current problems will be resolved.

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