GAO performs a wide range of work. It conducts audits and evaluations of executive branch agencies, resolves disputes over awards of government contracts, and sets auditing and accounting standards for the federal government. To do this work, the agency has a highly educated, multidisciplinary workforce of around 3,100 employees who work in Washington, D.C., and 11 field offices. It employs analysts, auditors, economists, lawyers, and other professionals, and more than half of the workforce has master's or doctoral degrees. Background The GAO Personnel Act of 1980 gave the agency its own personnel system, separate from that of the executive branch, and it increased the agency's flexibility in hiring, paying, and managing its workforce. The act also created the Personnel Appeals Board (PAB), a body independent from GAO management, to hear GAO employee issues related to discrimination and prohibited personnel actions and to conduct oversight of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) programs. In the past decade, GAO has taken steps toward diversity management, which aims to create and maintain a positive work environment where the similarities and differences of individuals are valued, so that all can reach their potential and maximize their contributions to an organization's strategic goals and objectives. In 2001, GAO created its Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness (OOI) and gave the office responsibility for: (1) helping to create a fair and inclusive work environment by incorporating diversity principles in GAO's strategic plan and throughout its human capital policies and programs, (2) handling discrimination complaints, and (3) managing the agency's EEO activities. OOI has a total of six staff members, including the Managing Director.
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