Each Department of the Interior (DOI) bureau has its own administrative structure and provides its own administrative services. In addition, the bureaus provide certain programmatic functions and public affairs services. The bureaus unilaterally decide the level of resources to be spent on these services and the locations where these services will be delivered. These decisions are often made without regard to the collective needs of other bureaus. In some cases, individual bureaus have more than one office in a given location. Consequently, bureaus provide duplicative services with varying costs, quality, and utilization.
In the past, improved service and cost savings at DOI have been achieved in several ways:
--establishment of two Departmental Administrative Service Centers (DASC) to provide consolidated payroll service and financial management;
--use of several Departmental Learning Centers located throughout the country to fulfill common training needs;
--implementation of an agencywide contract to monitor unemployment claims;
--designation of a lead bureau for certain types of procurement and unique services such as the protection of arts and artifacts; and
--selective use of Consolidated Administrative Support Units (CASUs).
These efforts should serve as models for the department to achieve further improvements in service and cost savings.
During 1992, nine DOI task forces conducted analyses of programmatic areas for fiscal year 1994 budget formulation to identify ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. These task forces presented a number of findings and recommendations, including areas for potential collocation and consolidation of functions. For example, one task force recommended a site study to collocate the mapping activities of five or six bureaus in the Denver area, and identified other areas where such collocation might realize efficiencies.[Endnote 1] Another task force recommended consolidating administrative and technical support services at design centers, and departmentwide consolidation of design and construction offices.[Endnote 2]
The DOI Inspector General (IG) noted in 1992 that the Bureau of Land Management has multiple offices (at the state, district, and resource area levels) located in the same cities. Of 140 resource area offices, 84 were located in the same cities as 41 district offices. The IG recommended reducing administrative costs by collocating these offices, permitting consolidation of administrative services.3
The DOI Division of Space and Facilities Management (SFM) reports that there are departmental offices in approximately 1,300 locations. These offices range from small two-person offices to large regional offices. SFM advises that the greatest potential for improving efficiency exists in cities where several bureaus have a significant number of employees, such as Denver, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boston, Portland, Anchorage, Phoenix, and Sacramento.
1. Within six months, all DOI bureaus and offices should identify parallel administrative, programmatic, and public outreach functions in areas where offices are collocated.
The review should identify opportunities for consolidation within each bureau and across bureau boundaries. The objectives are to improve customer service, promote efficiency of operations, and reduce costs. In conducting this exercise, the department should consider:
--the recommendation of the Secretary's Fiscal Year 1994 Budget Task Force on Mapping Activities to collocate multi-bureau mapping services in the Denver area;
--options B and C of the Fiscal Year 1994 Budget Formulation Task Force on Design and Construction Management; and
--pertinent findings of the Secretary's Fiscal Year 1995 Budget Formulation Task Force reviews.
DOI should focus on areas identified as having the greatest potential for consolidation by the SFM.
2. Over the next three fiscal years, DOI should use the information identified by the bureaus to consolidate offices, increase the use of CASUs and DASCs, and designate lead bureaus to provide commonly needed services wherever feasible.
These recommendations would result in the elimination of organizations and positions which are duplicative, underutilized, inefficient, and ineffective. This should free additional resources for program functions and missions. In addition to salaries and related expenses, immediate cost savings would be realized in support services (i.e., space, supplies, and information technology).
The fiscal impact of consolidating functions and collocating offices is difficult to determine at this time because of the prior need to identify appropriate sites. Before fiscal impacts can be identified, the most appropriate method of service delivery must be determined, and implementation plans must be prepared. Actual cost savings will depend on the degree to which the recommendations are implemented; however, DOI has estimated the cost savings of partial implementation. By consolidating personnel services at five regional centers, DOI could save $17.5 million dollars and eliminate 470 full-time equivalents (FTE) over six years. These estimates cover only one aspect of consolidating administrative services. Full implementation of these recommendations would result in greater cost savings.
1. See U.S. Department of the Interior, Report of the Budget Formulation Task Force on Mapping Activities (Washington, D.C., July 15, 1992).
2. See U.S. Department of the Interior, Report of the Design and Construction Management Task Force (Washington, D.C., 1992).
3. See U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Inspector General, Staffing and Resource Allocation, Bureau of Land Management, Report No. 92-I-367 (Washington, D.C., January 1992).
Budget Authority (BA) and Outlays (Dollars in Millions) Fiscal Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Total BA* 0.0 -3.5 -3.5 -3.5 -3.5 -3.5 -17.5 Outlays 0.0 -3.5 -3.5 -3.5 -3.5 -3.5 -17.5 Change in FTEs 0 -94 -188 -282 -376 -470 -470
*Note: Budget authority, outlay, and FTE estimates are based on the assumption of one consolidation of personnel offices per year for five years.
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