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Highlights

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed employee-related aspects of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program, focusing on the: (1) type and extent of skilled staff shortages; (2) extent to which skilled federal and state employees are leaving for private-sector positions; (3) pay differentials between the public and private sectors for skilled positions; (4) success of Department of Defense (DOD) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) programs in retaining skilled personnel; and (5) training required to improve employee skills.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency To develop a more informed basis for determining Superfund's staffing requirements and work-force skill mix, the Administrator, EPA, should examine the costs and benefits of using more objective techniques to determine staffing requirements (levels), including the collection of more specific historical time data from employees to help validate the reasonableness of its staffing estimates.
Closed - Not Implemented
The agency has no intention of implementing this recommendation, however, in a recently issued report, RCED-90-22, December 14, 1989, GAO points out that this recommendation was valid.
Environmental Protection Agency To develop a more informed basis for determining Superfund's staffing requirements and work-force skill mix, the Administrator, EPA, should use productivity measures to gauge the appropriateness of the work-force size and skill mix, including regional variations.
Closed - Not Implemented
GAO restated this recommendation in a recent report, RCED-90-22, December 14, 1989, and recommended that EPA establish long-term measurable goals to achieve the Administrator's objectives for Superfund. As EPA is likely to be more responsive to that report, subsequent followup efforts should be shifted there.
Environmental Protection Agency To meet present as well as future training needs, the Administrator, EPA, should direct the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response to implement its plans and proposed policies for improving the Superfund training program.
Closed - Implemented
EPA has approved and issued training policies and procedures. It has been reviewing training needs and recommendations from its Superfund work-force planning project to ensure that existing and future training addresses critical needs. EPA established an 80-hour training requirement for all OSC and RPM and published guidance on the training and certification levels for OSC and RPM.

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