« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
Agencies. At the same time, a primary focus is ensuring that the American public has unobstructed access to the Government's information at the lowest possible cost. Unfortunately, technological advances have blurred traditional definitions of "printing", "publishing", "duplicating" and "document", and departments and agencies from all branches of Government are providing their own definitions and often circumventing the law. The Congress is now deliberating various legislative proposals that will determine a strategy dealing with government information and its myriad related issues.
A. Printing Plant Rechartering
The Joint Committee on Printing in conjunction with GPO technical staff has begun the process of reviewing Executive Branch authorized printing plants to determine the true need for the existence of these facilities. In-house printing operations have been proven to be more costly to the Federal Government and unless a compelling need exists to fulfill an Agency's mission by printing and/or duplicating in-house, the Joint Committee on Printing believes substantial savings to the Government can be realized by contracting this work through GPO's Federal Printing Program to the private sector. Recent studies have shown that GPO is capable of providing the printing and duplicating needs of Federal Agencies for approximately 50 cents on the dollar through their competitive bidding process. At the present time, the Joint Committee has approved the disestablishment or is in the process of reviewing for disestablishment or downgrading, a total of 38 printing plants with a current estimated cost savings of $4,189,779. Of the 38 plants, 20 are Defense Printing Service facilities which have been downgraded to duplicating status. The Joint Committee on Printing plans to continue its efforts in the next fiscal year to take an in-depth look at more of these plants in order to obtain even more savings to the Government in these tight economic times.
Memorandum of Understanding Between the Joint Committee on Printing, the
Legislative language contained in the Report accompanying the FY 1993 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act directed these three parties to enter into discussions aimed at reaching a Memorandum of Understanding which would address the need to employ and train increased numbers of prison inmates without significantly impacting on the level of printing procured through GPO. Staff representatives of all three parties met throughout the year on a regular basis to achieve this goal. An agreed upon draft MOU was submitted early in November 1993, to the senior management of Federal Prison Industries for approval which we believe adequately meets the needs and intent of the Congressional language. Specifically, the MOU would establish a joint GPO/FPI Clearinghouse tasked with the responsibility of identifying and directing appropriate work through GPO to an FPI pilot site and subsequent sites. The FPI Ray Brook, New York printing facility was chosen as the initial pilot and will operate in that status for one year. Under this concept the Clearinghouse would begin loading work at all FPI printing facilities with the cooperative work loading arrangements completed no later than the end of Fiscal Year 1999. While the Joint Committee has not received a notification from FPI that final agreement has been reached on this proposal, it is our intent to pursue to completion, compliance with this
The Joint Committee on Printing continues to be concerned about the expansion of Executive Branch duplicating centers which permit individual Departments and Agencies to maintain in-house facilities for the production of work which could more economically be procured through GPO's Federal Printing Program. The Defense Printing Service, with its acquisition of 57 expensive DocuTechs at an estimated value of $14.8 million, is taking the lead in this trend. The Committee believes that this expansion throughout the Executive Branch negates any cost savings that would be achieved if the bulk of this work were more economically procured through the private sector. The Joint Committee was pleased that the House Subcommittees on Legislative Branch Appropriations and Defense Appropriations requested the General Accounting Office to conduct a more formalized report dealing specifically with the Defense Printing Service but with directions to make real distinctions between printing and duplicating. It is the Joint Committee's hope that this report will yield comprehensive data to substantiate our claims. Until such time that the GAO submits its findings, the Joint Committee has delayed the initiation of oversight or reporting requirements for Executive Branch duplicating activities.
Department of Defense Printing Services Consolidation
The Joint Committee on Printing has continued to monitor the activities of the Defense Printing Service (DPS) to ensure that the printing services consolidation provides the Federal Government with the most efficient and cost-effective means of producing its printed information. While DPS has ignored previous Congressional language and intent, the Joint Committee on Printing again this year, requested favorable consideration of language within the FY 1994 Defense Appropriations Bill that would require reductions of funds DPS could use for printed products and instead expend 50 percent of those funds on a competitive basis through GPO. While the final report to the DoD FY 1994 Appropriations Bill did not include this language, the request for a GAO review also specified receipt of a study showing a comprehensive cost comparison between DPS and GPO in providing printing and duplicating services. It is the Joint Committee's hope that this study which is to be completed by mid-April, 1994, will resolve the differences and disputes of which Agency can most cost-effectively and efficiently provide the printing and duplicating needs of the Defense Department and that Congressional language can then be developed which will mandate any changes that should be made.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration Inspector General
The JCP learned that some areas of NASA were directly procuring printing from support contractors without the benefit of competitive bidding through GPO. In two specific cases, NASA's printing management organization was ignored when it directed that printing was to be sent to GPO. As a result of this inaction, approximately $40,000 of elaborate printing was purchased illegally. The JCP brought this matter to the attention of the NASA Inspector General for investigation and resolution. The NASA IG found these allegations to be true, recommended several corrective actions, and is attempting to recover the funds spent
During 1993, the VA's Regional Office and Insurance Center in Philadelphia acquired a two-color printing press without the knowledge of VA's printing management organization and without obtaining the approval of the Joint Committee. The JCP asked the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to involve the VA's Inspector General to determine why the equipment was acquired without approvals when a full level of printing services are available from GPO's Regional Procurement Office in the same city at far less cost. The VA Inspector General opened an investigation into the matter and found no justification for the equipment, but failed to take appropriate corrective actions. The matter has been returned to VA for full
II. Oversight of the Government Printing Office's Policies and Operations
The joint Committee on Printing is responsible for overseeing the Government Printing office to ensure that the printing needs of Congress, the Executive and Judicial Branches of Government are met expeditiously and cost-effectively and that the public has the widest possible access to government information. The Joint Committee is achieving its mandated directives by setting policy for the GPO to execute, by providing continuity in GPO programs through all Presidential Administrations and by encouraging the application of new technologies to GPO's functions. While we believe GPO has made significant strides in the improvement of its services to its agency customers and the American public, we are urging GPO to move forward in technological improvements and search for new ways to reduce waste and promote greater cost savings. Following are some examples of Joint Committee actions taken to assist the Government Printing Office in its overall operational capabilities.
In response to Congressionally expressed concerns, language was included within the Conference Report accompanying the FY 1994 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill which required a review of the practices currently used in assigning GPO detailees to Congressional offices. While recognizing that legitimate needs exist for professional assistance in the preparation and publishing of Committee prints, hearings, reports and other printed materials, Conferees directed GPO, with guidance from the Joint Committee on Printing, to include a proposal within their FY 1995 budget request for significant changes in this area.
The Joint Committee has consulted with GPO officials on this matter and GPO has responded by taking initial steps to address the amount of overtime hours currently being charged to the Congress. While GPO has reported a 36% reduction in overtime for FY 1993 as compared to FY 1992, they are in the process of preparing further suggestions for improvements in the area which will be submitted to the Committees on Appropriations for
In an effort to reduce the number of Legislative Branch employees, the FY 1994 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (P.L. 103-69), granted GPO the authority to offer a lump-sum cash incentive payment to certain GPO employees who retire or resign prior to January 1, 1994. Public Printer Michael F. DiMario reported that as of November 30, 1993, 377 applications for separation had been approved. Of the 4,850 legislatively authorized FTE's for FY 1994, 4,661 FTE's were on board in October, with an estimated January number of 4,261. GPO predicts an FY 1994 net cost reduction of $6,800,000 and $20 million in FY 1995 if a projected 400 separations occur.
As approved by the Membership of the Joint Committee on Printing in July 1992, GPO was directed to purchase three 64-page web offset presses to be used for the production of the Congressional Record and the Federal Register. The contract for these presses was awarded in December 1992, at a cost of $14,489,570. Public Printer DiMario has recently informed the Joint Committee that the first press is scheduled for delivery in March 1994, with the other two presses installed by August 1995. The total project cost including the removal of the present record presses and restoration of that area for other productive uses, will approximate $18.4 million.
While GPO successfully demonstrated to Congressional officials that they could provide final typeset Congressional bills on a print-on-demand basis by using PostScript files on optical disc equipment, little demand has surfaced for this service. Should Congress decide that this technology would prove to be a cost-effective and efficient means of obtaining immediate copies of legislative materials, GPO will implement the service at strategic locations on Capitol Hill.
As stipulated in the GPO Access Legislation, the Superintendent of Documents is required to provide a system of on-line access to the Congressional Record, the Federal Register and other appropriate publications collectively referred to as the GPO Access System. This service, which is to be operational by June 1994, will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will include two methods of on-line dissemination that can be achieved prior to the deadline and the second phase will provide a more sophisticated online search and retrieval service. Both phases will provide access to the Congressional Record and the Federal Register. The two methods of dissemination that are achievable within the next few months are the development of a prototype service to provide both products on-line, complete with graphics via the Internet, using a Wide Area Information Server (WAIS) and a second prototype service to provide the Record and Register on-line, complete with graphics, via dial-up or Internet access, using commercially available document interchange file formats. A longer development cycle will be required to meet a broader spectrum of Federal depository library and public needs for the second phase of the
line services, they will price all of the on-line services at "incremental cost" as directed by law. Prior to full public release, the GPO Access System will be tested at a number of sites to gather information on the quality and value of the services as well as to determine an estimation of usage and costs.
The CD-ROM Task force, assembled at the initiation of the Joint Committee on Printing to develop requirements for producing the Congressional Record on CD-ROM, has determined that it is best to delay their work until implementation details of the on-line Record are available. One of the requirements of GPO's Request for Proposal is to include the capacity for the software to search and retrieve a CD-ROM product using the same commands. The Joint Committee believes that developing both the on-line and CD-ROM versions of the Record around the same basic software will reduce costs and greatly simplify its use.
The Joint Committee continues to manage the activities of the Congressional Record Index Office. The 1987 Index is scheduled to be delivered by December 17, 1993, and the 1998 Index will be released for printing also in December. During the past fiscal year the Index Office has also been working on the 1992 electronic cumulative database. It is anticipated that this project will be completed and available for on-line distribution before Congress reconvenes in January 1994.
One third of the 1990 bound Congressional Record volumes have been distributed to offices and Regional Depository Libraries. The Joint Committee on Printing after reviewing the report of the Congressional Record pilot project, established a task force to plan for the publication of other years of the Record on CD-ROM. The software chosen will be compatible with the software selected for the on-line Record as required in the recently enacted GPO Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993.
9. Federal Register
In response to GAO recommendations to the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register specifying increased usage of electronic technology, GPO, in consultation with the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), announced a new page-rate incentive discount policy for agencies who electronically submit documents in uncoded format, WordPerfect and WordPerfect template for conversion to fully coded products. The OFR, in turn, has conducted training sessions to minimize errors in agency-submitted disk documents. To further the goal of using telecommunication for document transmission, GPO installed a VAX computer and linked it by laser with OFR's network of personal computers. GPO is currently expanding its existing plans to be more inclusive of OFR's operations and is