Federal Workforce

Inappropriate Use of Experts and Consultants at Selected Civilian Agencies Gao ID: GGD-91-99 July 17, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the government's use of experts and consultants, focusing on whether: (1) agencies complied with federal requirements for making expert and consultant appointments; and (2) agencies and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) adequately monitored the appointments to ensure compliance with applicable requirements.

GAO found that: (1) 37 of the 106 expert and consultant appointments reviewed were inappropriate, primarily because agencies assigned appointees to positions that involved regular government employees' duties; (2) agency installations often did not follow internal control procedures for ensuring the proper use of experts and consultants because officials were often unaware of such procedures, there was pressure to fill vacancies, and appointees submitted incomplete forms; (3) none of the installations complied with all the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) documentation requirements in making expert and consultant appointments and none of the quarterly reports represented an independent review of the appointees' duties to determine the appropriateness of their work; (4) 2 installations made over half of their 16 appointments with missing or inadequate resumes or standard federal employment application forms; (5) eight of nine agency installations reviewed failed to comply with the FPM requirement that they annually communicate to their appointing officials relevant information on the proper appointment of experts and consultants; (6) agency personnel offices generally did not review expert and consultant use because they either had no active personnel management evaluation program or lacked the capability to conduct independent appointment evaluations; and (7) existing legislation does not explicitly state that agencies must report on the effectiveness of their management controls over expert and consultant appointments, which allows for inappropriate appointments.


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