Problems connected with the rapid close-out of the Community Services Administration might have been reduced or avoided if Congress had given CSA officials more time and if the administration had agreed on a central plan, the General Accounting Office told a congressional hearing yesterday.
For example, the delay in nominating and confirming a director for the doomed agency cost four months during which "little meaningful agency planning for the close-out and transition took place," GAO official Morton E. Henig told a House subcommittee.
Henig said the failure of the Office of Management and Budget to form and chair a central task force to coordinate the process "placed undue burdens on CSA officials to simultaneously plan and implement a complete agency termination with declining manpower resources and no close-out funding."
Among other difficulties, OMB's failure to comply with CSA director Dwight Ink's efforts to find out the source of funds for the close-out caused "great concern" among CSA workers that more than $12 million for severance pay and annual leave payments "would not be available for disbursement in a timely manner."
The federal antipoverty agency went out of business last week at the end of the fiscal year. It has been replaced by a block-grant program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, with most of its authority passing to the states.