zimmytws / Shutterstock.com

GAO Toots Its Own Horn, Sets Record for Returns on Taxpayers' Investments

Congress' watchdog says it brings in $134 for every dollar spent.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office delivered to the government a record-high $74.7 billion in financial benefits in fiscal 2015, the watchdog reported in its annual self-assessment.

GAO returned $134 for every dollar spent on its auditing staff of 3,000, and documented 1,286 improvements it influenced in agency programs and operational areas, said the report signed by Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.

With a fiscal 2015 budget of $551.6 million, GAO maintains 71 percent of its staff in the Washington area; the remaining employees work in 11 field offices.

“Seventy-nine percent of our recommendations were implemented by federal agencies or the Congress (1 percentage point short of our target), and about two-thirds (66 percent) of the products we issued contained recommendations,” Dodaro wrote in the report dated Feb. 11.

GAO employees testified at 109 congressional hearings (the goal had been 130), a third of which involved topics on the agency’s high-risk list, the report stated.

Internally, agency managers exceeded all seven of their performance targets, which include new hire and retention rates (with and without retirements), staff development, staff utilization, effective leadership by supervisors and organizational climate.

The report cited “progress addressing our three management challenges—human capital, engagement efficiency, and information security—and added telework as a fourth challenge.” The agency also completed a pilot program for streamlining employee engagement that will now go agencywide.

“For information security, we took steps to better protect against inappropriate access to computer resources such as enhancing authentication and updating encryption on mobile devices,” the report said.

“The hard work and dedication of our professional, diverse and multidisciplinary staff positioned GAO to achieve a 98 percent on-time delivery of our products,” the report added. “Further, GAO maintained its status as an employer of choice—ranking second among mid-sized federal agencies after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on the Partnership for Public Service’s [Best Places to Work in the Federal Government] list and first for our diversity and inclusion efforts.”

(Image via  / Shutterstock.com)

NEXT STORY: The Diversity Advantage