HUD Management:

Information on HUD's 2020 Management Reform Plan

RCED-98-86: Published: Mar 20, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 1998.

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Judy A. England Joseph
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed aspects of the management reform proposals outlined in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) 2020 Management Reform Plan, focusing on: (1) studies and analyses that HUD performed to determine the efficiencies derived from the centralization and consolidation of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and other major programs and activities; (2) studies and workload analyses that were conducted to show that HUD would be able to carry out its responsibilities with 7,500 employees; and (3) HUD's plan to manage the personnel changes that will result from its reforms and downsizing.

GAO noted that: (1) reports covering each of HUD's major program areas and functions, prepared by teams of HUD employees in the spring of 1997, are the principal documents supporting the 2020 plan; (2) the reports identify a number of prospective efficiencies from consolidating and centralizing certain processes; (3) in addition to allowing the agency to operate with a reduced workforce, HUD intends the changes to reduce the time or paperwork required for various processes; (4) the efficiencies cited are generally not based upon detailed empirical analyses or studies, but rather on a variety of information, including some workload data, limited results from a pilot project, identified best practices in HUD field offices, benchmarks from other organizations, and managers' and staff's experiences and judgment; (5) the plan is directed in part towards correcting the management deficiencies that have been identified; (6) because the reforms are not yet complete and some of the plan's approaches are untested, the extent to which they will result in the intended benefits is unknown; (7) according to HUD's Deputy Secretary, the process changes proposed by the 2020 plan, along with states and local entities and the use of contractors, will allow the agency to operate with 7,500 staff--a staffing target level established prior to the plan; (8) however, proposed staffing levels for each program area are generally not based upon systematic workload analyses to determine needs; (9) while the reform teams were instructed by the Deputy Secretary to determine staffing requirements based upon workload, they were also instructed to work within targeted staffing levels and the Department's staffing constraints; (10) the reform teams relied on a variety of factors, including some workload data, to show whether responsibilities could be carried out within targeted staffing levels; (11) because the downsizing target of 7,500 staff is not based upon a systematic assessment of needs and because proposed legislation could affect those needs, it is uncertain that HUD will have the capacity to carry out its responsibilities once the reforms are in place; (12) an August 1997 agreement between HUD and the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of HUD Locals 222 established the framework for managing personnel changes to implement the 2020 plan; (13) this agreement includes buyouts, reassignments, and an outplacement program for HUD employees and provides that a reduction in force may be used if necessary, but not before 2002; and (14) this agreement also provides for hiring new employees for some positions.

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