Federal Personnel:

Architect of the Capitol's Personnel System Needs Improvement

GGD-94-121BR: Published: Apr 29, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Architect of the Capitol's (AOC) personnel management system, focusing on whether the AOC personnel system incorporates selected personnel management principles.

GAO found that: (1) the AOC personnel management system does not exhibit many generally accepted personnel management principles; (2) AOC does not have an adequate equal employment opportunity (EEO) program to ensure that it achieves a diverse workforce and that women and minorities are fairly represented in higher-paying managerial positions; (3) AOC hiring and promotion policies and procedures are not well defined or adequately documented; (4) AOC employees were often unaware of their job performance because supervisors are not required to provide job performance appraisals or routine performance feedback; (5) AOC employees' ability to improve their performance and advance to targeted positions is hindered by the lack of skilled-based training opportunities; (6) although the AOC hearing process is generally fair, employees are often unaware of their options for appealing disciplinary actions; (7) AOC lack of communication with its employees has contributed to its workforce's low morale; (8) although AOC has taken some initial steps to update its personnel system, it needs to develop and implement a detailed plan to incorporate commonly accepted personnel principles and policies; and (9) AOC personnel management improvements will require increased congressional support, oversight, and funding.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Architect of the Capitol Human Resources Act (40 U.S.C. 166b-7) was enacted July 22, 1994, and mandated that AOC (1) establish and maintain a personnel system that incorporates fundamental principles of other modern personnel systems; (2) submit a plan to do so within 12 months after the date of the Act; and (3) implement the plan not later than 90 days after submission. These actions meet the intent of the recommendation.

    Matter: The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration should, possibly in conjunction with the comparable House Committee that oversees AOC operations, monitor the development and implementation of the Architect's plan to improve the AOC personnel system.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Pursuant to GAO's report, Congress enacted the Architect of the Capitol Human Resources Act of 1994, which mandates GAO-recommended improvements; thus the intent of the recommendation has been met.

    Recommendation: The Architect of the Capitol should develop and implement a detailed plan to revise the AOC personnel system to incorporate basic personnel management principles, including policy statements, procedures, and implementation dates.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has gone on record in Congress that he will (1) delete all window washing duties from the position descriptions of these employees and (2) provide them with back "hazardous duty" pay for work already performed. The intent of the recommendation has been met.

    Recommendation: The Architect of the Capitol should reconsider whether duties associated with cleaning the mobile in the Senate Hart Office Building warrant hazardous duty pay in light of the specific criteria for such pay in the code of federal regulations.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol


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