The Operations of the United States Commission on Civil Rights

Published: Mar 25, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1986.

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Testimony was given on allegations of improprieties in the operations of the Commission on Civil Rights, focusing on whether the Commission had followed merit principles in personnel actions. GAO found that: (1) a large number of the employees hired since the Commission's reconstitution were in noncareer categories; (2) all of its consultant appointments contained indications of irregularities and their personnel files did not contain the required statement of duties and responsibilities; (3) because the Commission does not have detailed applicant supply file procedures for its temporary employees, there were numerous violations and insufficient documentation to justify their need; (4) there was no documentation to show the nature of the unusual or emergency circumstances requiring the use of the special needs hiring authority in making 21 special needs appointments; (5) the financial disclosure reports indicated that none of the Commissioners relied on their Commission salary as their sole source of income and the nature of the billings was consistent with the job descriptions; (6) although the extent of travel has been constant since the reconstitution, the use of private donations for official travel constitutes an unauthorized augmentation of appropriations; (7) the lack of a budget-setting process precluded a determination about which costs should remain in an earmarked budget activity and which should be allocated as overhead to all seven earmarked budget activities; and (8) although competitive bidding is generally required for all contracts over $25,000, of the two contracts the Commission awarded, the smaller, $53,000 contract, was noncompetitively awarded and the larger was initially competitively awarded but novated to a different firm.

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