The Public Service:

Issues Affecting Its Quality, Effectiveness, Integrity, and Stewardship

GGD-90-103: Published: Sep 13, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1990.

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In response to a legislative requirement, GAO reported on key issues affecting the federal public service as identified from 93 reports and testimonies GAO issued in fiscal year (FY) 1989.

GAO found that deficiencies and problems within government programs and services continue because of the federal government's inability to consistently: (1) ensure a high-quality work force and improve its effectiveness through successful recruiting, competitive pay, competent leadership, and improved performance management; (2) enhance the integrity of the public service by curtailing conflicts of interest and strengthening the effectiveness of personnel administrative systems and management practices; and (3) strengthen the stewardship of the public service through more effective leadership by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in human resources management and civil service administration. During FY 1989, GAO also found that: (1) agencies experienced staffing shortages that impeded efficient accomplishment of their missions; (2) agencies conducted ineffective affirmative action programs; (3) the median federal pay rates for certain jobs lagged behind median private sector pay rates by as much as 25 percent; (4) agencies lacked management continuity and accountability in certain costly defense programs; (5) discrepancies existed between agencies' training and development programs; (6) such inappropriate, insufficient, or questionable personnel actions as management retaliation, improper salary payments, special services provided to a manager, and conflicts of interest occurred in several agencies; and (7) differing operating philosophies of previous OPM directors and declining budgets and staffing levels undermined its ability to maintain a stable agenda and provide sustained attention to identifying and resolving critical governmentwide problems.

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