Delegated Personnel Management Authorities:

Better Monitoring and Oversight Needed

FPCD-82-43: Published: Aug 2, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 1982.

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As part of its continuing evaluation of major aspects of civil service reform, GAO reviewed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) delegations of personnel authorities to Federal agencies. The objectives of the review were to: (1) determine whether personnel actions were being expedited by the delegations of authority; (2) determine whether OPM was effectively managing and monitoring delegations; and (3) evaluate the appropriateness of agency uses of the delegated authorities.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 encouraged OPM to delegate personnel functions to other Federal agencies to expedite appointments and other personnel actions. The Act required OPM to establish standards and maintain an oversight program to protect merit system principles. The lack of data made it difficult to determine the extent to which the delegation of personnel management authorities has reduced processing times. Those authorities that are rarely used may not be contributing to reducing processing times. Considering this and the time needed for monitoring such authorities, GAO found that the benefit of delegating minimally used authorities became questionable. Generally, agencies were using the authorities appropriately; however, some misuses occurred. To effectively curtail future misuses, OPM needs to improve the scope of its monitoring efforts.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should enforce the recordkeeping requirements.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency claims that this has always been an ongoing policy.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should review annual reports and investigate possible misuses promptly.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should enforce the existing requirement that regional offices include reviews of delegated personnel authorities in their personnel management evaluations.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency does not believe that usage should be the primary selection factor. It believes that subjective judgement should be used.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should systematically select, based on usage, agency locations for oversight reviews.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The agency does not believe there is a problem significant enough to warrant a special study. It believes problems are identified during periodic studies.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should determine the extent of the various misuses of delegated authorities discussed in this report and correct them.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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