Federal Advisory Committee Act:

General Services Administration's Management of Advisory Committee Activities

GGD-89-10: Published: Oct 5, 1988. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the extent to which the General Services Administration (GSA) has carried out its responsibilities under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

GAO found that GSA: (1) reviewed and concurred with all 114 advisory committee charters that federal agencies proposed between October 1, 1986 and May 16, 1988, although 52 of the proposals lacked information required to determine compliance with FACA; (2) did not advise Congress that it had not verified information in agencies' required annual reports regarding committee procedures, accomplishments, membership, and meeting frequency before submitting the reports to Congress; (3) agreed with agencies to continue 86 committees into fiscal year 1988, although those committees had not met during the previous year and had incurred costs of about $535,000; (4) did not timely submit to Congress its annual reports on all committee activities, statuses, and changes; (6) has not submitted follow-up reports regarding the actions taken on committee recommendations since 1980; and (6) conducted less analysis of committee costs, meetings, and other activities in current reports than in earlier reports. GAO also found that the GSA Secretariat Director, who was responsible for all advisory committee administration matters: (1) blamed inadequate GSA staff resources for its selective implementation of FACA responsibilities; and (2) is developing plans to establish procedures for full FACA compliance.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA developed a written plan, as recommended, to implement its FACA responsibilities. GSA completed the President's Report on Federal Advisory Committees for FY 1988 on-time and ahead of the prior 3 fiscal years' schedule. GSA is making annual reviews of advisory committees to determine if they are needed, and is taking steps to follow-up on recommendations made by Presidential commissions.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the Secretariat receives the management attention and support necessary, the Administrator of General Services should develop a written plan for implementing FACA responsibilities and specify the target dates for completing tasks and the resources to be applied. The plan should provide for reviewing advisory committees that have not met for extended periods and determining whether GSA should recommend, in line with FACA requirements, that the committees be abolished.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration


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