Parks and Recreation:

Interior Did Not Comply With Legal Requirements for the Outdoors Commission

RCED-88-65: Published: Mar 25, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors, specifically its: (1) compliance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); and (2) processes and procedures to accomplish its mission.

GAO found that the Department of the Interior did not comply with FACA administrative requirements for advisory committees, since it did not ensure that the Commission: (1) published advance notice in the Federal Register of its meetings; (2) followed proper procedures for closing meetings to the public and press; (3) maintained detailed minutes of its meetings; and (4) had a designated federal official participate in each of its meetings. GAO also found that the Commission: (1) maintained records of its activities and funds disposition; (2) undertook extensive outreach programs to include the public in its activities; and (3) expended about $1.5 of its $1.9 million budget authorization during its tenure.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior prepared written guidance on FACA administrative requirements and provided it to each bureau and office committee management officer for further distribution to the designated federal officers of each advisory committee serviced by those bureaus and offices.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should provide current and future advisory committees written detailed information and guidance on FACA administrative requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Interior's Office of the Solicitor has not yet revised the departmental manual on advisory committees to include written internal controls for FACA administrative requirements. This is a low priority for Interior.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should develop written internal controls that provide for adequate monitoring and ensure that FACA administrative requirements are met when these responsibilities are handled by an advisory committee. Such controls should include written confirmation that details FACA responsibilities and to whom these responsibilities are delegated.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior


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