Information on the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service's Reorganization Due to 1982 Budget Reductions

HRD-82-68: Published: Apr 30, 1982. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1982.

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GAO was asked for information concerning the possible impact of fiscal year 1982 budget reductions on the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service's (FMCS) effectiveness. Of specific concern were the: (1) reductions in the number of regional offices, personnel, office space, and equipment; and (2) cutbacks in the Houston, Texas, office and their impact on that office's effectiveness.

After being informed that its budget allocation for fiscal year 1982 was to be reduced, FMCS developed a reorganization plan to permit the agency to operate within the budget without adversely affecting the mediation program. The plan consolidated eight regional offices into four, eliminated the managerial staff of the four closed offices, and transferred supervision of the mediators to the remaining four offices. This resulted in the elimination of two professional and eight support positions from headquarters, and several vacant positions were abolished. At the regional offices, 17 professional and 80 support positions were eliminated. No mediator positions were lost. In June 1982, the Houston office staff will be reduced from five mediators to three. FMCS officials stated that, if the Houston office caseload warrants another mediator after the reorganization has been assessed, another will be added. Because the reorganization has been in effect only since January 1982, officials believe that it is too early to assess its effectiveness. Mediators in Houston believe that the budget cuts have: (1) caused untimely case assignments, (2) increased use of outside facilities, (3) created the potential of decreasing caseload and increasing strikes, and (4) lengthened turnaround time for processing travel vouchers.

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