Not all agencies have tangled with the Office of Management and Budget over the Paperwork Reduction Act. Some simply ignore it.
According to a recent report by the General Accounting Office, the Labor Department's Office of Job Corps has 56 reporting and record-keeping requirements that never have been submitted to OMB.
The GAO said that some of the Job Corps' reports were "simple and straightforward," requiring as few as four lines of information. But others were "complex and burdensome," such as a nine-page questionnaire.
Investigators also found one form that contained "obsolete and inappropriate racial classifications," referring to "Negro, Spanish-Americans and Orientals," instead of the approved form, "Black, Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander."
The GAO discovered the unapproved forms while conducting a survey of the education-related reporting and record-keeping requirements of various federal agencies. The Job Corps, set up to provide education and training to disadvantaged youths, was the only Labor Department division studied.
The GAO said that Labor Department officials were unaware of the need to obtain OMB approval for the 56 Job Corps requirements, most of which were used to gather information needed to administer contracts. Labor told the GAO that the Job Corps paperwork was being reviewed. Unnecessary paperwork would be eliminated and the forms that were needed would be submitted to OMB for proper approval.
Roland Droitsch, the Labor Department's acting deputy assistant secretary for policy, said, "It's not surprising" that the Job Corps was unaware of the requirement. He said in any new massive program, such as the paperwork reduction drive, there is a "certain lag" between enactment and full operation.
"There are still areas of the department that probably don't know the Paperwork Reduction Act is in place," he said.