Coast Guard:

Acquisition Program Staff Were Funded Improperly

RCED-93-123: Published: Apr 27, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Coast Guard's funding of its acquisition, construction, and improvements (AC&I) staff during fiscal year (FY) 1992.

GAO found that the: (1) Coast Guard improperly used its operating expense (OE) account to support staff on AC&I projects; (2) Coast Guard did not have adequate policies and procedures for proper funding of AC&I staff; (3) Coast Guard used OE-funded staff on AC&I projects because OE-funded activities made up all or most of the work assignments, no AC&I-funded staff was available, or a project's workload was too large or too small for the number of staff provided; (4) Coast Guard's failure to shift funding sources prevented it from accurately identifying the costs of staffing its activities; (5) Coast Guard did not have sufficient funds in its FY 1992 AC&I account to reimburse its OE account for improperly charged funds; and (6) Coast Guard lacked adequate internal controls to ensure that AC&I staff are funded from the appropriate account.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard has developed criteria for use in determining the appropriate funding source at units responsible for executing operating expense and acquisition, construction, and improvement programs. To improve these policies and procedures, a change to the Coast Guard's Financial Resources Management Manual has been made. This change includes information that addresses proper procedures for use of all appropriations.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to develop and promulgate formal policies and procedures to ensure that the Coast Guard's use of appropriated staffing funds is consistent with the agency's annual appropriations acts and with the general principles governing the proper use of all appropriations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard analyzed its staff use to ensure that the agency's budget request for fiscal year 1995 accurately reflects AC&I staffing needs. As a result of this review, 63 positions were transferred from its operating expense appropriation to its AC&I appropriation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to use these formal policies and procedures to analyze the Coast Guard's use of staff in order to revise the agency's annual budget request to more accurately reflect the actual need for AC&I-related staff.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard analyzed the use of funds from the OE and AC&I accounts during fiscal year 1992 to determine precisely the extent to which staffing costs were covered by the appropriate account. Because sufficient funds were not available to reimburse the OE account for positions that were incorrectly funded, the Coast Guard reported to the President and Congress as required on August 13, 1996.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to apply the unobligated FY 1992 AC&I personnel funds to reimburse the OE account for the positions that were funded improperly during FY 1992. If sufficient funds are not available to fully reimburse the OE account, the Secretary should prepare and submit the reports to the President and Congress on the improperly used funds, as required by the Anti-Deficiency Act and OMB Circular A-34.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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