Summary: S.1522 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (11/24/2003)

GAO Human Capital Reform Act of 2003 - (Sec. 2) Amends Federal law to make permanent: (1) the entitlement of certain General Accounting Office (GAO) officers and employees who separate from service voluntarily to annuities under the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees' Retirement System; and (2) authority of the Comptroller General to provide voluntary separation incentive payments to GAO employees.

Expresses the sense of Congress that the implementation of the voluntary early retirement authority and the voluntary separation incentive payments is intended to reshape GAO workforce and not downsize it.

Makes an employee ineligible for a voluntary separation incentive payment who, during the 36-month period preceding such separation, performed service for which a student loan repayment benefit was or is to be paid.

(Sec. 3) Authorizes the Comptroller General, under specified conditions, to adjust annually the basic rates of GAO officers and employees whose performance is at a satisfactory level. Provides the same authority under the same conditions with respect to Senior Executive Service officers and employees. (Current law permits such adjustments only at the same time and to the same extent as basic pay rates of the General Schedule are adjusted.)

(Sec. 4) Requires the Comptroller General to prescribe regulations under which a GAO: (1) officer or employee shall be entitled to pay retention if, as a result of any reduction-in-force or other workforce adjustment procedure, position reclassification, or other appropriate circumstances, such officer or employee is placed in or holds a position in a lower grade or band with a maximum rate of basic pay that is less than the rate of basic pay payable to the officer or employee immediately before the reduction in grade or band; (2) officer or employee may, in appropriate circumstances, be reimbursed for certain relocation expenses for which they would not otherwise be eligible, but only if the Comptroller General determines that the transfer giving rise to such relocation is of sufficient benefit or value to GAO to justify such reimbursement; and (3) key officer or employee with less than three years of service may accrue six hours of annual leave biweekly in those circumstances appropriate for his or her recruitment or retention.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes the Comptroller General, by regulation, to establish an executive exchange program under which GAO officers and employees may be assigned to private sector organizations, and employees of private sector organizations may be assigned to GAO to further the institutional interests of GAO or Congress, including to provide training to GAO officers and employees.

Limits such assignments at any one time for GAO officers and employees to 15 and to 30 for employees from private sector organizations.

Prohibits employees from the private sector organizations from having access to any trade secrets or to any other nonpublic information which is of commercial value to such organizations.

Requires the Comptroller General, before approving the assignment of a GAO employee, to determine that it is an effective use of GAO funds, taking into account GAO's best interests and the costs and benefits of alternative methods of achieving the same results and objectives.

Limits assignments to five-years after the enactment of this Act.

(Sec. 8) Renames the General Accounting Office as the Government Accountability Office.

(Sec. 9) Modifies requirements of the GAO personnel management system to include: (1) a link between the performance management system and the agency's strategic plan; (2) adequate training and retraining for supervisors, managers, and employees in the implementation and operation of the system; (3) a process for ensuring ongoing performance feedback and dialogue between supervisors, managers, and employees throughout the appraisal period and setting timetables for review; (4) effective transparency and accountability measures to ensure that the management of the system is fair, credible, and equitable, including appropriate independent reasonableness, reviews, internal assessments, and employee surveys; and (5) a means to ensure that adequate agency resources are allocated for the design, implementation, and administration of the system.

(Sec. 10) Requires the Comptroller General, before implementation of any changes authorized under this Act, to consult with any interested groups or associations representing GAO officers and employees.

(Sec. 11) Requires the Comptroller General to include in GAO's annual report to Congress, during the five-year period beginning on the enactment of this Act, a summary review of actions taken with respect to: (1) GAO's permanent authority to offer voluntary early retirements and voluntary separation payments to certain officers and employees; (2) annual pay adjustments; (3) pay retention; (4) increased annual leave for key employees; (5) the executive exchange program; (6) the performance management system; and (7) GAO's consultation with interested groups or associations that represent GAO employees before the implementation of any changes authorized under this Act.