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    Subject Term: Pay

    10 publications with a total of 22 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Brown Barnes, Cindy S
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, should take steps to help workforce boards readily find and share information on promising practices related to serving gig workers by, for example, cross referencing promising practices on self-employment and other relevant practices in WorkforceGPS with terms commonly used to describe the gig economy, by creating a community of practice on this topic, or other mechanisms, as appropriate. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Labor: Employment and Training Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed with this recommendation. The department stated that it will continue to explore the dynamics of the gig economy and make resources available to the workforce system, employers, workers, researchers, policymakers, and others. We will monitor the progress of DOL's efforts.
    Director: Courts, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Allowances (ALS) should clearly document how the conditions at relevant posts meet the criteria for Director Points to ensure that hardship pay rates for overseas posts are consistently determined across posts and tenures of ALS Directors. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report State concurred with the recommendation. We are awaiting evidence of their documentation to ensure the consistent determination of Director points.
    Recommendation: The Undersecretary of Management should assess the cost-effectiveness of State's policies and procedures for stopping and starting hardship pay for employees who temporarily leave their assigned overseas posts. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report State concurred with the recommendation. We are awaiting evidence of their review and assessment of the cost-effectiveness of policies, procedures, and processes for stopping and starting hardship pay for employees who temporarily leave their assigned post.
    Recommendation: The Department's Comptroller should analyze available diplomatic cable data from overseas posts to identify posts at risk of improper payments for hardship pay, identify any improper payments, and take steps to recover and prevent them. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, State concurred with the recommendation. We are awaiting evidence of their efforts to enhance analytical tools to ensure posts are properly identifying and reporting starts and stops for hardship pay, and to identify, recover, and prevent improper payments.
    Director: Kathleen M. King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve available data about the direct care workforce, the Acting Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration should take steps to produce projections of direct care workforce supply and demand and develop methods to address data limitations in order to do so.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Health Resources and Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation, agreeing that developing projections of the direct care workforce is timely and important. Since the release of the report, HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) published a fact sheet presenting national demand projections for nursing assistants and home health aides. HRSA also reported awarding a contract to develop a projection model for the supply, demand, and distribution of long-term service and support providers. The agency expects reports from this model to be available in 2018.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the necessary information to provide effective oversight over DOD's workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, to address ongoing requirements in section 955 and include this information in status reports that accompany the President's budget request for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The information to be included in future status reports includes (1) a comprehensive description of a plan to achieve savings for the civilian workforce and contractor workforce for fiscal year 2012 through fiscal year 2017; (2) a description demonstrating that the plan is consistent with policies and procedures implementing workforce-management laws and steps the department is taking to ensure that no unjustified transfers between workforces take place as part of the implementing plan; (3) status reports to be included in the President's budget request for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 describing the implementation of the plan in the prior year; (4) the cost of covered civilian personnel and military basic pay for fiscal years 2012 through 2017, and an assessment of these costs in regard to their compliance with the statutory requirements set forth in section 955; and (5) an explanation for any shortfall in its reductions for the civilian and contractor workforces, and a description of actions DOD is taking to achieve the required savings.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Update September 2016: In DOD's most recent status report issued in February 2016, DOD did not fully address our recommendations.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Income-Based Repayment, Pay As You Earn, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness serve their intended beneficiaries to the greatest extent possible, the Secretary of Education should take steps to consistently and regularly notify all borrowers who have entered repayment of income-driven repayment plan options, including Income-Based Repayment and Pay As You Earn.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education generally concurred with our recommendation, stating that it is committed to ensuring that federal student loan borrowers have the information they need to manage their debt, including details regarding income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. However, Education stated that it is not clear that providing information on repayment options to all borrowers is the most efficient or effective way to achieve this goal. Beginning in 2015, Education directed its loan servicers to start sending detailed income-driven repayment information, such as projected monthly payment amounts and total amounts paid over the life of the loan under each plan, on a quarterly basis to all borrowers who are in school or in the 6-month grace period after leaving school. Education reported that in 2016 its loan servicers also began sending an email to borrowers in the fifth month of their grace period with information about applying for income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Education also reported that in December 2016 it began sending emails about the Revised Pay As You Earn plan directly to certain groups of borrowers, including those who expressed interest in income-driven plans during exit counseling, were less than 227 days delinquent, or had Federal Family Education Loans. While these are positive steps, we maintain it is important for Education to notify all borrowers in repayment of these options to support its goal to provide superior information and service to borrowers.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DHS components have sustained effective and appropriate use of AUO in accordance with law and regulation, Congress should consider requiring DHS to report annually to Congress on the use of AUO within the department, including the extent to which DHS components have made progress remediating AUO implementation deficiencies and information from annual third-party AUO audits or other department AUO oversight efforts.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, three DHS components continue to use administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO) to compensate employees for time worked beyond the standard 8-hour workday. The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014 (BPAPRA), passed in December 2014, established a new overtime compensation system for Border Patrol agents (the majority of former AUO-users). Further, an amendment to Title V, enacted in December 2016, expanded law enforcement availability pay to U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Air and Marine Operations. However, CBP continues to use AUO to compensate other employees, such as those within in the Office of Field Operations. Also, both U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Secret Service (USSS) continue to use AUO to compensate employees with AUO. Though the negative effects of implementing AUO incorrectly have been mitigated to some extent through the deauthorization of over 20,000 Border Patrol agents, in addition to other deauthorizations and alternative compensation mechanisms, three DHS components continue to utilize AUO. Therefore, DHS still needs to consider a holistic approach to ensuring those components use AUO correctly and our matter for congressional consideration will remain open.
    Recommendation: To better position DHS to monitor components' progress remediating AUO deficiencies, the Secretary of DHS should develop and execute a department-wide oversight mechanism to ensure components implement AUO appropriately on a sustained basis, and in accordance with law and regulation.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took actions toward addressing our recommendation by developing a department-wide oversight mechanism described in a directive and instruction on administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO). DHS's AUO directive defines responsibility for Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO) that includes establishing AUO policy and guidance, providing program oversight and evaluating component AUO compliance, and administering an AUO training program, among other things. The directive also requires component heads to develop component-specific AUO policies that must be reviewed by DHS OCHCO for concurrence and also submit to OCHCO the results of an independent, third-party audit of compliance with applicable AUO law and policy no later than 18 months after the date of the directive (i.e., by December 2016) and annually thereafter . In March 2016, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) completed its annual financial audit, conducted by a separate office within DHS, which now incorporates audit of ICE's use of AUO. As of May 2017, the other DHS components that continue to use AUO--U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection--have not yet submitted results of third-party audits of AUO to OCHCO. To ensure that the AUO directive has been fully and appropriately executed across the department, the recommendation will remain open until USSS and CBP have submitted their first independent, third-party audit to OCHCO. At that point we will we review the remaining audits to determine if the recommendation has been addressed, and can therefore be closed.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the classification system and to strengthen OPM's management and oversight, the Director of OPM, working through the Chief Human Capital Officer Council, and in conjunction with key stakeholders such as the Office of Management and Budget, unions, and others, should use prior studies and lessons learned from demonstration projects and alternative systems to examine ways to make the GS system's design and implementation more consistent with the attributes of a modern, effective classification system. To the extent warranted, develop a legislative proposal for congressional consideration.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, OPM officials said they continue to meet on a regular basis with the Interagency Classification Policy Forum group to inform strategies and action plans for implementation of general schedule system best practices. As a result, they have made changes for conducting occupational studies through various actions, including streamlining their process for conducting occupational studies. These actions include the cancellation of 21 occupational series with minimal agency use (25 or fewer Federal employees reported) and upcoming policy issuances - the Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families and the Interpretive Guidance for Cybersecurity Positions and 17 Professional Medical and Health occupational series. In addition, they have developed a methodology to streamline studies for occupational series with 1,000 or less Federal employees. OPM officials said any further action to develop a legislative proposal for congressional consideration would be contingent upon having permanent OPM leadership in place. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the classification system and to strengthen OPM's management and oversight, the Director of OPM should develop cost-effective mechanisms to oversee agency implementation of the classification system as required by law, and develop a strategy that will enable OPM to more effectively and routinely monitor agencies' implementation of classification standards.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, OPM officials said the agency had designed several efforts to improve the classification system and strengthen oversight: (1) OPM is reviewing occupational series post studies to assess whether agencies are implementing classification policy updates and new issuances. (2) Decisions from the classification appeals program are issued to monitor implementation of classification standards. (3) The classification policy group has formalized the participation of the Merit System Accountability and Compliance group to discuss best practices in monitoring and overseeing classification policies and is planning a related classification forum. We will continue to monitor these efforts. Specifically, OPM officials said they were conducting occupational series post studies of custodians, public affairs, financial management, sustainability and other White House initiatives. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To effectively manage fee basis care spending, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should revise the beneficiary travel eligibility regulations to allow for the reimbursement of travel expenses for veterans to another VAMC to receive needed medical care when it is more cost-effective and appropriate for the veteran than seeking similar care from a fee basis provider.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, VA has taken some actions to address this recommendation, but additional actions are needed to fully implement it. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information from VA.
    Recommendation: To effectively manage fee basis care wait times and spending, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to analyze the amount of time veterans wait to see fee basis providers and apply the same wait time goals to fee basis care that are used as VAMC-based wait time performance measures.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2014, VHA established a new wait-time goal, which is that veterans should be seen within 30 days of the date that an appointment is deemed clinically appropriate by a VA health care provider, or if no such clinical determination has been made, the date a veteran prefers to be seen for hospital care or medical services. While VHA has been monitoring the timeliness of VHA-based care according to this standard, it has not been applying the same standard to community-based care, including care delivered through the Veterans Choice Program. Therefore, VHA cannot determine whether veterans are receiving care in the community sooner or later than they otherwise would receive care at VA medical facilities. To fully implement this recommendation, VHA needs to take steps to ensure that its wait-time policies and procedures for both VHA-based care and community-based care (fee basis care) are aligned.
    Recommendation: To ensure that VA Central Office effectively monitors fee basis care, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Health to ensure that fee basis data include a claim number that will allow for VA Central Office to analyze the episode of care costs for fee basis care.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, VA has taken some actions to address this recommendation, but additional actions are needed to fully implement it. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information from VA.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Finance at Commission headquarters to monitor monthly cash reconciliations for all Fund Balance with Treasury accounts Commissionwide to ensure their completeness and accuracy.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During fiscal year 2012, the Commission contracted with the Interior Business Center (IBC) to perform its monthly cash reconciliations with Treasury. During our testing, we found that IBC effectively reconciled cash on hand to Treasury records. However, we found that ABMC did not effectively monitor IBC's reconciliations. Specifically, ABMC did not document its review of the FMS-224 and Fund Balance with Treasury reconciliations performed by IBC. To fully address this recommendation, ABMC needs to document its review of the IBC prepared reconciliations to ensure they are accurate and complete. During fiscal year 2017, the Commission informed us that they plan to develop and implement corrective actions to address our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Commission headquarters to maintain a consolidated Active Contracts List, or require the Paris Overseas Office to maintain a separate list, with information on each contract including the name of the contact person; the status of work completed; whether retainage amounts had been paid; and whether any amounts were pending due to disagreements on work performed.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2012 audit, although the Commission provided GAO with active contract lists, we determined that these lists were not consolidated nor were they adequately maintained by the director of Engineering. We also continued to find instances where the Commission did not properly close contracts and deobligate funds. In addition, the Commission could not identify any specific actions taken to address this recommendation. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to implement an automated procurement system that will meet the intent of our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Commission headquarters to ensure that the Active Contracts List is reconciled to contracts on the undelivered orders report produced by the Commission's accounting system.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2012 audit, we found that the Headquarters active contracts list had not been reconciled to the undelivered orders account. In addition, we concluded that these lists were not adequately maintained. We also continued to find instances where the Commission did not properly close contracts and deobligate funds. In addition, the Commission could not identify any specific actions taken to address this recommendation. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to develop and implement procurement-related standard operating procedures to address our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow-up on this recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Finance at Commission headquarters to follow existing budgetary procedures to ensure that contracts are officially agreed to and executed as of or before the date of obligation.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2011 audit of the American Battle Monuments Commission's financial statements, the Commission informed us that this recommendation was implemented with FMS and that ABMC now follows commitment accounting which prevents contracts from being signed before funds are reserved. During our 2012 testing we continued to monitor and we found no related issues. However, the Commission was unable to provide documentation or support for the corrective action instituted with FMS. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to implement an automated procurement system that will meet the intent of our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources at the Commission's Paris Overseas Office to follow existing policy to prepare, approve, and file current forms to support pay changes in foreign employee's official personnel file.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2012 audit, we tested a sample of payroll transactions and found that not all personnel files contained accurate forms to support current payroll information. In one sample, the ABM-87 was not approved by a Director or designee. In another sample, the salary for the grade and step did not match that of the employee's local compensation plan. In a third sample, the employee's salary was not updated for a General Schedule step increase until almost a year later. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that they plan to implement an automated HR system that will meet the intent of our recommendation. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Director of Human Resources at the Commission's Paris Overseas Office to establish a consistent policy for Paris and Rome offices to support changes in employee's official personnel files by using an SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, for all employees.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During fiscal year 2012, we determined that the Commission's policy is to use two forms for payroll actions. The headquarters office processes SF-50s for General Schedule (GS) employees and the Paris office uses SF-50s for GS employees and ABM-87s for foreign employees. We did not find any exception with this policy as the SF-50 is a required form for processing payroll actions for GS employees and the ABM 87 is a standard form for processing payroll actions for foreign employees. However, this policy is not documented. To clarify the intent of this recommendation, which is for the Commission to be consistent in processing payroll actions, we issued a subsequent recommendation that calls for the Commission to direct appropriate officials to establish written policies and procedures outlining the key tasks, roles, and responsibilities of both the Human Resources Directorate and the Finance Directorate, including a formal mechanism for communicating all decisions and actions related to processing payroll for foreign employees. This would include the processing of payroll actions. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that training was provided to employees in the proper production of personnel documentation, however, no policy was provided. Therefore, we will follow up on this open recommendation at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Commission should instruct the Finance Directorate's Finance Officer at the Commission's Paris Overseas Office to modify existing accounting procedures to instruct Finance Directorate personnel to enter the date on the invoice into the accounting system.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our audit of the American Battle Monuments Commission's (the Commission) fiscal year 2010 financial statements, we found that Commission controls were not always effective in ensuring that the receipt and acceptance of goods and services were properly authorized and that invoice dates were accounted for in a consistent manner. The Commission informed us that all Finance personnel were instructed to enter both the invoice receipt date and the invoice date when processing invoices for payment. However, during our fiscal year 2012 audit, we found that the date on the invoice was not consistently entered into the accounting system. For example, we found inconsistencies with the invoice receipt date being entered into the accounting system as either the date the goods were received, the date the invoice was received, or the date the invoice was being entered into the financial system. In addition, we could not verify whether current accounting procedures included this requirement. During our fiscal year 2017 follow-up, the Commission informed us that the invoice date entered in Oracle is taken directly from the invoice approval stamp, however, the Commission was not able to provide a policy, procedures, or statement of work supporting the actions taken. We contacted the agency to ask for further information but no response was received within the established deadline for us to conduct our follow up. Therefore, we will follow up on this recommendation at a later date.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202)512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote an efficient use of resources and to better plan for the design of a new performance management system, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy to, in conjunction with the DOD Comptroller, help ensure that information identifying and supporting the costs of the NSPS termination and new performance management system is documented, reliable, traceable to a source document, and readily available for examination.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, there has been no evidence that the department has taken action to address this recommendation.