Impact Uncertain From Reorganization of the Water and Power Resources Service

CED-81-80: Published: Apr 29, 1981. Publicly Released: May 19, 1981.

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The December 1979 reorganization of the Water and Power Resources Service (WPRS) decentralized some authority from the Service's Engineering and Research Center in Denver, Colorado to its seven regional offices. The Service had three major objectives for the reorganization: (1) to increase program accomplishment; (2) to improve contracting; and (3) to resolve the internal power struggle between the Engineering and Research Center and the regional offices. GAO reviewed a number of alleged adverse impacts concerning the reorganization and its possible effects on operations.

GAO found that the alleged adverse impacts were varied in that: (1) lines of authority were not blurred; (2) efficiency has decreased; (3) costs have increased; (4) safety and technical quality should not be compromised; (5) chaos and mass resignations did not occur; and (6) nonuniform contract administration did not occur. GAO cannot be certain whether the reorganization will accomplish the stated objectives because the Commissioner of the Service implemented the reorganization without identifying ways to measure its impacts.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner of the WPRS to (1) establish methods to measure the reorganization's effectiveness; and (2) reevaluate staffing needs and capabilities for contract administration and reassign responsibilities where needed.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior


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