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for GAO's relations with the Congress to reduce miscommunication and ensure that all requesters are treated equitably. The final protocols were issued in November 2000.
We continued our outreach efforts to understand how best to meet congressional needs and assist the Congress in using our resources and services. During each Congress, I and other GAO executives plan to meet with the leadership of the Senate and House, all Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members, and Members of our oversight and appropriations committees to obtain feedback on our performance and information needed to update our strategic plan.
We issued our first-ever Accountability Report to the Congress discussing our performance and accountability in serving the Congress and the American people in fiscal year 1999. The report reviews our accomplishments in meeting our mission and sustaining our core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. We also issued a performance plan for fiscal year 2001 that contains the performance measures and annual performance targets we will use to gauge progress toward accomplishing our strategic goals and objectives.
We also realigned the agency to better support the Congress and prepare ourselves
We also began implementing a range of new and enhanced human capital and information technology strategies to position GAO for future success. Thanks to the Congress, we now have legislative authority that provides us greater flexibility to effectively manage our human capital. This legislation, enacted into law in October 2000, grants us the authority to establish new senior-level scientific and technical positions; offer targeted voluntary early-outs and buy-outs; and carry out reductions in force to downsize, realign, or correct skills imbalances within our agency. We have issued implementing regulations for early-outs and the scientific and technical positions and plan to issue buy-out and reductions-in-force authorizing regulations later this year.
Other accomplishments within the human capital area include:
Completion of a first-ever electronic knowledge and skills assessment and inventory that is being used to help identify skill gaps and succession planning needs within the agency. In addition, staff completed an employee preference survey that is being used along with the results of the knowledge and skills inventory to meet our
institutional work needs while accommodating staff preferences for engagements to the extent possible.
• Significant recruiting and college relations efforts on the nation's campuses.
Aggressive efforts are underway to attract, recruit, and hire high-caliber staff with the skills and abilities needed to assist GAO in achieving our strategic goals and objectives.
Revised performance standards for all staff that incorporate GAO's core values and
Enhanced internal communications that remain a vital tool for change management throughout the agency. Throughout fiscal year 2000, I conducted a number of telecasts to all agency staff to discuss GAO's strategic plan and congressional protocols, client service, employee survey results, initiatives to enhance the agency's human capital programs and legislative proposals, work processes, organizational alignment, information technology, and other areas of interest to the staff. Also, to engage our employees more fully in improving the agency's performance, we established the Comptroller General's Employee Advisory Council to discuss current and emerging issues of mutual interest and concern and implemented an employee suggestion program that received more than 800 submissions in its first year of operation.
We also made significant gains in strengthening and improving our operations and processes in fiscal year 2000. We implemented two new management strategies: risk management and matrix management. GAO's risk management approach allows management to identify and involve key stakeholders throughout an engagement to transcend traditional organizational boundaries to maximize institutional value and minimize related risks. GAO's matrix management approach maximizes our value to the Congress by leveraging the knowledge, skills, and experience of all employees to ensure the highest quality products and services and to help the Congress address the challenging, complex, multidimensional problems facing the nation.
Throughout fiscal year 2000, we also continued to improve our use of information technology as a tool for productivity and knowledge management. To provide our teams of analysts with a mechanism for simplifying and standardizing their work, we launched the Electronic Assistance Guide for Leading Engagements--the EAGLE, which is a prototype of a comprehensive Webbased guide to conducting GAO engagements. We also continued to enhance the capabilities of our computer network and successfully made our systems Y2K compliant. In addition, we began a number of projects on enabling technologies, including software upgrades, the deployment of notebook computers, and improved remote access to allow teams to work more efficiently in the
field. Also, to carry out GAO's responsibilities under the Presidential Transition Act of 2000, we developed a separate section on our Internet web site with links to key GAO contacts and reports on the major executive branch agencies, which was completed at the beginning of fiscal
FISCAL YEAR 2001 PLANS AND FUTURE CHALLENGES
During fiscal year 2001, we will continue to focus our work on the major issues facing the Congress, including Social Security solvency, education, economic development, Medicare reform, national security, international affairs, and government management reforms and computer security. Another top priority this year will be working with leaders on the Hill to help the Congress strengthen its approach to oversight, with an emphasis on looking hard at what government does, how it does it, and the long-term consequences of today's policy choices. GAO's 2001 Performance and Accountability Series and High-Risk Update will serve as a solid foundation for congressional oversight. Also, as I mentioned earlier, we have several key initiatives in progress to improve how we serve the Congress, among them an expanded client feedback system; protocols governing our dealings with federal agencies, new high-level advisory bodies to gain the expertise of business leaders, former Cabinet officials, and other experts; and new avenues for sharing our own expertise with other accountability organizations.
We also are preparing to carry out two new responsibilities mandated by the previous Congress. We will chair a panel to review the government's A-76 process for obtaining services through competitive sourcing. Also, if the needed funding is provided, we will review the costs and benefits of major regulations under the Truth in Regulating Act (P.L. 106-312, Oct. 17, 2000). We have a request pending for $2.6 million in supplemental funding for fiscal year 2001 and are requesting $5.2 million for fiscal year 2002 to meet the requirements created by the Truth in Regulating Act.
Internally, we will continue to emphasize initiatives to address our two major management challenges: human capital and information technology. With about 80 percent of our resources devoted to staff salary and benefits, the area of human capital presents a major challenge. A significant percentage of our workforce is nearing retirement age, while marketplace, demographic, economic, and technological changes indicate that competition for skilled workers will be greater in the future. With our agency realigned to facilitate our work for the Congress and new legislative authority in hand to manage our workforce more effectively, we are pursuing several initiatives to strengthen our human capital. For example, we are recruiting diverse, highcaliber staff with the skills and abilities we need to achieve our strategic goals and objectives. We will be putting into place a competency-based performance appraisal system and using the results of our staff knowledge and skills inventory to help us in workforce planning. We also have reestablished and are expanding training opportunities for our staff—from the senior executives to the new hires.
Another major management challenge is building an integrated and reliable information technology (IT) infrastructure that supports the achievement of our goals. We are conducting a comprehensive IT review to identify opportunities to increase our efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. We also are mapping our business processes to our IT architecture and will link
future IT investments to our business goals. In addition, we plan to continue initiatives to increase our employees' productivity, maximize the use of technology, and enhance the Webbased knowledge-sharing applications on the desktop. Last, we also must heighten the security of our network.
FY 2002 BUDGET REQUEST
To fully support the Congress as outlined in our strategic plan and the additional congressional mandates received since its issuance, we are requesting a budget for fiscal year 2002 of about $430.3 million. This funding level will allow us to support and staff to our targeted level of 3,275 full-time equivalent personnel. We will increase our emphasis on areas of congressional and public interest and, internally, will continue to emphasize initiatives to address our two major management challenges: human capital and information technology. Our request also includes $5.2 million to carry out new responsibilities created by the Truth in Regulating Act. In addition, we are seeking a nominal increase in GAO's representation expenses, from $10,000 to $12,500, to accommodate our expanded role with both domestic and international accountability organizations.
Additional funding in fiscal year 2002 is being requested for:
mandatory pay and benefit costs resulting primarily from federal cost-of-living and locality pay adjustments, based on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance, increased participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System, and an increase in the estimated number of retirees--$17,554,000;
uncontrollable inflationary increases in transportation, lodging, postage, printing, supplies, contracts, and other essential mission support services, based on OMB's 2percent inflation index and other factors--$1,565,000; and
uncontrollable contract rate increases in building operations and maintenance and information technology programs--$1,453,000.
Funding of $8,004,000 for salaries and benefits also is being requested to staff and support our targeted 3,275 full-time equivalent staffing level. We plan to use these resources to enhance our review efforts in areas of congressional and public interest and concern, such as government computer security, Social Security solvency, education, economic development, Medicare reform, and international affairs.
The additional funds requested also would be used to continue initiatives begun in fiscal year 2000 that are critical to supporting the Congress and the goals and objectives identified in our strategic plan. These initiatives include human capital initiatives and enabling technological advances to enhance the performance and productivity of our workforce as follows.
• Human capital initiatives--$3,324,000:
Mass transit subsidy allowance comparable to the mandatory benefit provided in the executive branch--$1,500,000;
- Performance-based recognition and compensation programs--$1,014,000;
Training and professional development activities to continue efforts begun in fiscal year 2000 to address skill gaps, maximize staff productivity and effectiveness, and update our training curriculum to address organizational, change management, and technical needs of both individuals and the agency-$400,000;
Education loan repayments to provide recruitment and retention incentives and benefits comparable to the executive branch--$410,000.
• Enabling technology initiatives to increase employee productivity, maximize the use
of technology, and enhance employee tools available at the desktop, including such initiatives as reengineering business processes, upgrading hardware and software applications, expanding our videoconferencing capabilities, and implementing a best practices network security program--$2,585,000.
Other efforts include:
• Enhancing security and removing asbestos within the GAO Building to protect the
health and safety of our most important asset our staff--$2,839,000;
Upgrading GAO's computer security facility to ensure our continued ability to conduct effective, comprehensive computer security controls testing of complex, diverse, and interconnected executive branch systems and to attract and retain skilled, technical staff--$750,000;
• Enhancing the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institution's efforts to
combat government related corruption around the world, multi-lateral training efforts with eastern-bloc and selected South and Latin American countries, and bilateral assistance to Russia--$250,000; and
Contracting for the development of a requirements document to be used along with other legislative branch agencies to jointly procure and share a common financial management system--$250,000.
In addition, as previously mentioned, we are requesting $5.2 million to provide the annual funding requirement specified in the Truth in Regulating Act.