Closing the Department of Labor's Brooklyn Wage and Hour Area Office

HRD-84-85: Published: Aug 21, 1984. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the effects on worker protection of the closing of the Employment Standards Administration's (ESA) wage and hour area office in Brooklyn, New York.

The ESA Wage and Hour Division investigates firms to determine their compliance with various labor acts and has the authority to investigate and gather data on wages, hours, and other employment conditions or practices. The Brooklyn Area Office, one of nine wage and hour area offices under the New York Regional Office, was closed in February 1984. The Department of Labor had justified closing the office on the basis of cost savings and maintained that this action would not result in a reduction of worker protection. ESA had estimated that closing the office would save about $93,000 annually in personnel costs and office space and equipment rental costs. GAO believes that the estimated annual savings are overstated by almost $17,000 because they do not take into consideration additional costs that will be incurred for office space rental for the Manhattan office, where most of the Brooklyn staff were transferred. Further, in developing its projected savings, the agency did not consider parking costs in Manhattan for three government vehicles which had been parked free in Brooklyn. However, ESA officials stated that, to avoid these costs, they would continue to park the vehicles in Brooklyn. GAO stated that, although two fewer compliance officers are available to cover the Manhattan and Brooklyn areas than were previously available, it is unclear how this will affect enforcement activities.

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