Over the past 10 years, GAO, the Congress, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and others have raised numerous concerns about the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. GAO was asked to assess (1) the adequacy of the Commission's project management procedures, (2) whether the Commission's controls over contracting services and managing contracts are sufficient, and (3) the extent of recent oversight of the Commission's financial activities.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Commission on Civil Rights||To further the Commission's efforts to better plan and monitor project activities, the Commission should monitor the adequacy and timeliness of project cost information that the staff director will soon be providing to commissioners and make the necessary adjustments, which could include providing information on a monthly rather than quarterly basis, as necessary.|
|Commission on Civil Rights||To further the Commission's efforts to better plan and monitor project activities, the Commission should adopt procedures that provide for increased commissioner involvement in project implementation and report preparation. These procedures could include giving commissioners a periodic status report and interim review of the entire range of Commission draft products so that, where appropriate, commissioners may help fashion, refine, and provide input to products prior to their release to the public.|
|Commission on Civil Rights||To ensure proper contracting activities at the Commission, the Commission should establish greater controls over its contracting activities in order to be in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation. These controls could include putting in place properly qualified personnel to oversee contracting activities, properly collecting and analyzing information about capabilities within the market to satisfy the Commission's needs, and properly administering activities undertaken by a contractor during the time from contract award to contract closeout.|
|Commission on Civil Rights||While the Commission has received waivers from preparing and submitting audited financial statements for fiscal years 2002 and 2003, the Commission should take steps immediately in order to meet the financial statement preparation and audit requirements of the Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 for fiscal year 2004. These steps toward audited fiscal year 2004 financial statements could include, for example, (1) identifying the skills and resources that the Commission needs to prepare its financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and comparing these needs to the skills and resources that the Commission presently has available; (2) preparing such financial statements, or at least the balance sheet with related note disclosures, for fiscal year 2003; and (3) ensuring that evidence is available to support the information in those financial statements.|