FCC's Decision To Consolidate Licensing Division in Gettysburg, Pa. Was Made Without Adequate Analysis

CED-80-27: Published: Dec 3, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 1979.

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has planned to consolidate its Private Radio Bureau Licensing Division in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. FCC believes consolidation in Gettysburg would reduce training costs and create a more stable work force because employee turnover there is about one-third of that in Washington. In a review of this plan, GAO surveyed the availability and cost of office space in both areas, evaluated costs associated with the consolidation, and attempted to determine the impact consolidation would have on affected employees.

While the decision to consolidate was based on improving Division operations and increasing service to the public, cost savings were a factor in the selection of Gettysburg as the site of consolidation. It is estimated that relocation would save an estimated $1,220,000 per year through reduced space rentals costs. Although some of the benefits will occur through consolidation, some of the expected improvements were not adequately supported and appeared to be overstated. Some of the benefits could be accomplished under the existing organizational arrangement. Not enough documentation exists to support the FCC contention that after consolidation the Division would need 17 fewer positions. The difference in turnover rates between the two offices was overstated. This difference results from the promotion or reassignment of Washington employees to other positions in FCC. A building has not yet been located to house the Division in Gettysburg. It appears that rental costs there are likely to exceed the FCC estimate if construction or extensive renovation is required. Since a large number of employees are unlikely to transfer to Gettysburg, FCC will incur substantial training costs. Relocation is also likely to impair, to some extent, coordination with other FCC units and result in some inconvenience and expense to private concerns which interact with the Division. It is believed that FCC has not fully considered the ability of the staff choosing not to transfer to find other employment, nor its own ability to replace these workers.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: FCC should reconsider its decision to consolidate the Licensing Division in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. As part of this reconsideration, FCC should clearly distinguish those benefits which can be achieved only through consolidation and weigh them against the associated costs, particularly the loss of experienced staff.

    Agency Affected: Federal Communications Commission


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