The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its plan to close 5 of its 11 regional offices. The FAA Administrator stated that these cost cutting measures were necessary to meet the Administration's budget goals. The reorganization is expected to result in a reduction of about 400 positions and annual savings of $19.2 million. The one-time cost of consolidation is estimated to be $22.3 million, excluding the estimated cost to the Federal retirement system for involuntary retirements. GAO reviewed projected costs and savings and related data and interviewed FAA officials. FAA current efforts to reorganize are intended to solve an imbalance in the workload of its regional offices and to eliminate redundant positions. FAA estimated that 300 supervisory positions and 100 secretarial, clerical, and technical positions would be eliminated. The documents provided to GAO to support these eliminations were unclear, and it was difficult to identify all of the positions to be eliminated. FAA does not expect that service to the aviation public will be lessened or that mission accomplishment will be negatively impacted by the reorganization. GAO did note some eliminations that might make it difficult to ensure that appropriate levels of service are provided. GAO could not verify the FAA estimate of savings in salaries. The computation for savings in personnel benefits was understated. Documentation supporting the estimates of savings in rent, utilities, equipment, etc. was extremely limited. FAA assumed that travel costs would not increase. Except for the costs of terminating leases, the estimated one-time cost of consolidation lacked accurate data on the decisions that regional employees would make once confronted with the plan. FAA selected Boston, Kansas City, and Seattle for the consolidated regional office cities because it believed that these cities offered the most advantages in cost of living, recruitment possibilities, and accessibility to areas where the majority of the development and manufacture of aircraft is taking place. FAA announced other anticipated personnel cuts. GAO has little information or comment bearing on those cuts.
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