Sequestration eroded GAO ability to produce reports, Comptroller says

Staffing cuts due to sequestration severely eroded the Government Accountability Office’s ability to produce reports and make recommendations to Congress about the efficiency of government agencies, GAO Comptroller Gene Dodaro said at a May 21 Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

GAO is at its smallest staffing level since 1935 and if sequestration continues, the agency won’t be able to issue all the reports needed to deal with the federal government’s fiscal challenges and agency issues, he said.

Staffing is down 14 percent from the 2010 level at GAO, Dodaro said, and a smaller GAO means fewer reports.

If sequestration continues, GAO would only be able to focus only on critical replacement hires, as it did in fiscal years 2010 to 2013, Dodaro said.

About 81 percent of GAO’s money goes to funding staff, he said.

GAO hasn’t been able to fill empty senior and mid-level management positions due to sequestration cuts, he said.

Around 40 percent of senior executives and 26 percent mid-level managers are set to retire in 2014.

“I feel like college coach with seniors leaving but no freshman or sophomores coming in,” Dodaro said.

Reducing staff even more, if sequestration continues, would hamper GAO’s ability to identify cost savings and improvements in government operations and initiate government-wide reforms, he said. GAO would also not be able to effectively assist the Congress in addressing a broad array of social, economic and security challenges, which is at the core of the agency’s mission, Dodaro said.

Sequestration cuts hit the Government Printing Office as well.

 

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