USGS Reduction in Force

GGD-96-155R: Published: Aug 1, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Geologic Division's October 1995 reduction in force (RIF), focusing on: (1) how USGS ensured that veterans received preferences during the retention ranking process; and (2) issues relating to the posting and updating of position descriptions. GAO noted that: (1) 415 USGS Geologic Division employees were affected by the 1995 RIF; (2) RIF were achieved mainly through involuntary separations, reductions in grade, or reassignments; (3) employees with veterans preferences were either placed at lower grade levels or reassigned at equal grade levels more often than non-preference employees; (4) USGS briefed employees eligible for veterans' preference on RIF procedures, made RIF information materials readily available, checked the accuracy of employee personnel records, and provided training for staff involved in competitive-level positions; (5) although some USGS employees questioned veterans preference entitlements, most raised issues relating to benefit entitlements, RIF assignment rights, and post-RIF employment; (6) there were very few veterans' preference issues raised in employees' RIF appeals; (7) USGS consistently placed preference-eligible employees higher in the retention retention ranking process; and (8) USGS updated some position descriptions in preparation for the 1995 RIF, but there were insufficient data to evaluate whether there was any correlation between pre-RIF position description changes and those employees who were ultimately affected by the RIF.

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