Why the National Park Service's Appropriation Request Process Makes Congressional Oversight Difficult

FGMSD-79-18: Published: Mar 1, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1979.

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The use of contingency reserves by the National Park Service as discretionary funds was reviewed.

The Service uses contingency reserves obtained for emergency purposes and unforeseen events to pay for a variety of routine projects not specifically considered by the Congress. In fiscal 1977, for example, the Service obtained $10 million for contingencies from the operations appropriation but used about $7 million for projects that could have been reasonably estimated and justified to the Congress through the normal budget review process. This method of obtaining contingency reserves without adequate disclosure to the Congress is unacceptable and should be discontinued.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Matter: Congress should eliminate the Service's operating contingency reserves and provide funds for estimated emergency and unforeseeable events on the basis of a separate line-item in the budget.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the National Park Service to: (1) discontinue the practice of obtaining funds through including a percentage add-on to appropriation requests and present requests for contingency reserves as a separate line-item in the budget; (2) include all reasonably anticipated costs in its budget request and reduce the reserves now used by limiting them to emergency and unforeseen items; and (3) establish guidelines to properly account for reserve funds and require the regions to submit complete and accurate annual reports on reserve fund expenditures.

    Agency Affected:


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