Assessment of Allegations Involving the Environmental Protection Agency's Kansas City Regional Office

CED-80-17: Published: Oct 19, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 1979.

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A Congressman requested a review of procurement and personnel practices at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional office. Newspaper allegations of improper practices had been evaluated by EPA. The GAO review was sought to determine the validity of the allegations and the adequacy of the EPA evaluations.

GAO found that the regional procurement and personnel operations were generally run effectively. Regulations and procedures were usually followed, although some processing errors occurred and year-end procurements were not adequately controlled. The regional administrator was involved in a small number of procurement and personnel cases where regulations or procedures were not followed and staff advice was disregarded. Morale problems existed because of the administrator's management style, staff reassignments, and involvement in administrative activities. EPA had appointed an individual with a limited background in dealing administratively with large, complex organizations, and then failed to provide direction and support. The EPA reviews were narrow in focus, poorly coordinated, and did not fully explain why administrative or management problems occurred.

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