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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the management and results of agencies' buyout programs authorized by P.L. 104-208, focusing on: (1) practices that GAO believes are associated with effective use of buyouts; (2) the extent to which Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance for implementing buyouts under P.L. 104-208 incorporated these practices; and (3) whether selected agencies' buyout programs were better planned and implemented than was generally the case governmentwide during the first non-Department of Defense (DOD) buyout program.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget To achieve the full potential savings from buyouts consistent with other organizational objectives, the Director, OMB, should require agencies to include in any future requests for buyouts information comparing the estimated costs and savings of buyouts versus other separation strategies, such as RIFs, for the separation year and a reasonable number of subsequent years for which accurate assumptions and estimates can be made. Agencies should include in their comparisons the anticipated costs and savings of steps planned to maintain productivity and service levels, such as contracting out, if they are expected to be significant. If RIFs are shown to save more money than buyouts but agencies choose to use buyouts, then OMB should require agencies to justify their use of buyouts by indicating the noneconomic factors the agency considered that made buyouts more advantageous than a RIF.
Closed - Not Implemented
According to OMB, there is no new buyout authority and none is expected. Agencies seeking buyouts are doing so under the existing buyout authority and are not submitting new strategic plans. Consequently, OMB believes no action is required.
Office of Management and Budget To achieve the full potential savings from buyouts consistent with other organizational objectives, the Director, OMB, should require agencies to consider giving buyout priority to those employees wishing to resign or take early retirement, and if such priority is not given, provide an analysis showing why it is advantageous to allow retirement-eligible employees to have equal access to buyouts.
Closed - Not Implemented
Although OMB generally agrees with GAO's recommendation, there has been no new buyout authority under which to implement it. According to OMB, there is no new buyout authority and none is expected. Consequently, OMB believes no action is required.

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