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Mr. MICHEL. I understand our time limitation, Mr. Chairman. Mr. FLOOD. Mr. Natcher.
COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES Mr. NATCHER. Mr. Brown, how do you coordinate your programs with other federal agencies such as the Department of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare and CSA?
Mr. BROWN. For the first time in the history of the agency, I think we have begun to move toward some very cooperative relationships. We now have a program with HEW, the Right to Read, and a program between us and the Department of Agriculture, in which they are providing some technical assistance directly to us, and we are providing volunteers for them. There is a program between us and the Department of Labor for a youth community service demonstration project coming up this year.
There is a proposed program between the Community Services Administration and ACTION in which they would provide winterization materials and we would recruit volunteers to do that work with CSA.
There is a wide range of cooperative programs which had not existed previously and which have been developed in the last year, and which I think will make both their work and our work much more effective.
Mr. NATCHER. Can you tell us what major evaluation projects you have underway at this time?
Mr. BROWN. Yes. There is a VISTA volunteer activity survey currently underway. Mr. NATCHER.
Dealing, generally and briefly, with what? Mr. BROWN. Trying to get a clear handle on what the VISTA volunteers are doing.
Mr. NATCHER. Do you have difficulty determining what they are doing?
Mr. BROWN. We have general project descriptions, of course, but what we have tried to do with the volunteers is to ask them for their judgments about their own work, what has been most effective, what has been least effective, what resources they have been able to generate in the community, and how they relate to other programs in the community. It is not difficult finding out what they are doing, but measuring the impact of that accurately is more difficult. In my own view, we have to provide you with better data about the impact of that activity in the community, not simply to say we have a lot of people out there.
Mr. NATCHER. What other projects do you have underway?
Mr. BROWN. There is a RSVP project, a VISTA, a Foster Grandparents Survey, and a project which is being undertaken by Educational Testing Service to evaluate University Year in ACTION overall. Then there are a number of special studies ongoing, the initial effects of VISTA groups, nutrition, a cost study on foster grandparents, health benefits study for senior companions, and VISTÅ training model evaluation.
Mr. NATCHER. Mr. Brown, how do you handle recruitment for all of your programs?
Mr. BROWN. Recruitment is now in a unified Office of Recruitment and Communications headed by a new director. The office has had a varied history over a period of years, but the recruitment is done in essentially two ways for the domestic programs. The responsible office is headed by a new director, a former
Peace Corps volunteer by the name of Larry Brown. That office operates out of five service centers around the country and provides a fulltime effort with recruiters who talk to potential volunteers so they have a clear idea of what they are getting into. Additionally, it runs a communications program to carry the volunteer message to the country at large. But in many ways, the most important way, and one I mentioned earlier is the local recruitment mechanism for VISTA volunteers. We believe that the volunteer from Peoria will better serve the people there than a-
Mr. NATCHER. You are speaking of Peoria, Illinois?
Mr. BROWN. Yes, I was simply re-echoing the earlier expressed concern in Peoria.
About 68 percent of this year's volunteers will be recruited and placed locally, which means essentially the funding goes to the community and the community group makes the decision about the VISTA's they will employ. They are not foisted on the community in any way by us.
Many times communities will say: We think a fresh voice coming from the outside will be helpful.
In those cases, we recruit, screen, and provide the requested volunteers.
Mr. NATCHER. Tell us how many vacant positions you currently have in your domestic operations budget.
Mr. BROWN. Approximately twenty.
Mr. NATCHER. Will you submit a list of those vacant positions for the record?
Mr. BROWN. Yes, sir.
At the present time, there are 23 vacant positions in ACTION's Domestic Operations. These include: Region and vacancies!
1) Training Specialist, GS-12. 11—(2) Program Operations Officer, GS-013. (3) Training Officer, GS-13. (4) Training
Specialist, GS-12. (5) Volunteer Services Clerk, GS-5.
X-16) Training Clerk, GS-5. (17) Grants and Contracts Specialist, GS-5.
Secretary for ACTION Education Programs, GS-5. (21, 22) 2 Program Specialists in Special Volunteer Programs, GS-14. (23) Program Clerk, GS-5.
1 It is anticipated that of the 23 vacancies listed abve, 9 will be filled by the end of fiscal year 1978.
Mr. NATCHER. How many positions are assigned to your Compliance Office?
Mr. BROWN. There are twenty-five full time people. The director of that office is not here currently, but there are nine people who came out of the former Office of Equal Opportunity, and sixteen from the former Inspector General's Office.
Mr. NATCHER. On page 88 of your justifications you speak of an increase of $716,000 for administrative expenses. What accounts for this increase?
Mr. BROWN. What I am pleased about, is that it is relatively small in comparison to the overall budget.
Among other things, we have been concerned about the microfiche system which will provide both for information storage and retrieval. Although we estimate its costs at $200,000, we believe that in the long term it will result in substantial savings to the government.
Additional staff training is another area of concern. As we move from Washington and region-based staff closer to the community and a state-based staff, it will require some additional training of some of the already existing staff so they will have the skills they need when they get to the state offices. Also, this past year we had only a part-year rental of computer terminals. So that this increase is a result of the annualized cost of the computer terminals which were included on only a part-time basis last year.
Mr. NATCHER. Why are your printing costs doubling? Why, Mr. Brown?
Mr. BROWN. A substantial amount of that is the National Student Volunteer Program. A total of $56,000 is for National Student Volunteer Program, which works primarily with high school-based groups providing technical assistance.
The second is the program support for other DO programs. My feeling has been that people volunteer for something. As Representative Michel suggested, he and his wife go out to volunteer because they care about something in the community. My feeling with older American volunteers is that they are Foster Grandparents or Senior Companions not ACTION volunteers. As a consequence, we are putting together separate publications for those programs, so that the volunteers do not read only about the broader agency issues, but have a specific publication directed at their own concern. That, hopefully, will provide some assistance to those volunteers. That is $55,000 of that $112,000 increase. The other $1,000 is due to a large increase in VISTA which will require more printing materials for the VISTA volunteers.
Mr. NATCHER. If you will, at this point provide for the record a breakdown of your figure of $8,759,000 for “Other Services”.
Mr. BROWN. That is in the object class schedule. [The information referred to follows:
Other services-Object class 25
Thousands Volunteers in Service to America-health insurance and training contracts ......
$2,364 National Student Volunteer Program-information, training, and technical assistance materials....
341 Foster Grandparent Program-training for project staff and recognition materials for volunteers...
46 Retired Senior Volunteer Program-training for project staff, and recognition materials for volunters ..
101 Senior Companion Program-training for project staff and recognition materials for volunteers.
26 Domestic Operations Program Support-program evaluation, audit contracts, training materials, and mailing services....
802 OVCP/Technical Assistance-conferences to promote volunteer awareness and training seminars and workshops.
740 OVCP/Statewise-national conferences and training.
50 OPP/Short term volunteers-project development and analysis, technical assistance papers
300 OPP/Stints-contracts to support and expand citizen imvolvement to meet community emergencies....
150 National Youth Service-analysis of policy issues, model design, administrative design, research, analysis and evaluation contracts .
3,839 Total other services .......
8,759 Mr. NATCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. FLOOD. Mr. Conte.
Mr. CONTE. Mr. Brown, since ACTION is shifting considerable responsibility from the Federal and the regional levels to the State offices, why is it necessary to maintain the Federal and regional staff levels at the fiscal year 1978 strength?
Mr. BROWN. Mr. Conte, if you look at those, there is a distortion because of the way in which the budget is presented. That is, it is only presented as Federal staff and then regional staff. It is within the regional breakdown that the staff fundamentally moves. There are 67 people who will move from the regional to the State level, but who are included in the same budget section in that breakdown.
The reorganization information will show you a breakdown of the shift by Headquarters, region, and State.
[The information follows:)