Loss of Experienced Staff Affects Conservation and Renewable Energy Programs

EMD-82-100: Published: Jul 19, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the staffing of the Department of Energy's conservation, renewable energy, and State and local assistance programs.

Fiscal year 1981 reductions in force and resignations at the Department of Energy (DOE) resulted in a loss of management and staff continuity as well as program monitoring ability at the State and local assistance level. DOE also experienced a loss of management and staff continuity and a high attrition rate in the conservation and renewable energy research and development programs. With fiscal year 1982 funding for conservation and renewable energy reduced by about 40 percent, the agency must administer 1982 projects in addition to administering and monitoring contracts and grants from previous years. Headquarters personnel at the Office of State and Local Assistance Programs was reduced by approximately 26 percent while the program's field staff was reduced by 52 percent. Retraining of staff for new positions was a major problem and there was a loss of experienced top management caused by the replacement of all branch chiefs. Although DOE is attempting to supplement its field monitoring capability by contracting for the services, GAO does not believe that adequate monitoring will be provided. The conservation staff and the renewable energy staff were reduced by approximately 53 percent and 39 percent, respectively, by April 30, 1982. Although some program officials stated that their offices were functioning well despite the staffing changes, GAO believes that over the long term the management of these offices is likely to be adversely affected.

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