Improvements Needed in Work Force Management Gao ID: RCED-88-1 October 26, 1987

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.

GAO found that: (1) 80 percent of Superfund employees believed that they worked in understaffed units; (2) units experienced problems obtaining the services of chemists, hydrologists, and toxicologists; (3) staffing and skill shortages resulted in delays in performing Superfund activities; and (4) EPA filled 533 of 773 additional authorized full-time positions for fiscal year (FY) 1987. GAO also found that: (1) the turnover rate of EPA Superfund employees was below the average federal employee rate for FY 1984 and 1985, but increased from 2.9 to 7.2 percent between FY 1985 and 1986; (2) over one-third of Superfund employees planned to look for other jobs in 1987; (3) 67 percent of former employees cited a lack of or limited advancement opportunities as a major reason for leaving employment; (4) pay for federal attorneys, chemists, and engineers trailed private-sector pay by 25 to 68 percent; (5) EPA is considering compensation improvement through bonuses and additional fringe benefits; (6) about 60 percent of current employees believed that they needed more training; and (7) EPA has developed a 2-year plan that should provide needed training.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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