One of the important functions of the GAO Employees Organization is to collect, synthesize, and communicate employees’ comments about new or revised GAO orders to Agency management. As you know, GAO orders are management documents that grant rights and impose obligations and duties on employees in a range of diverse areas, such as human capital and IT security. Over the past year, there has been a flurry of activity in this area. The GAO Employees Organization has issued formal comment letters to management on many proposals, and we want to share them with you. All the comment letters issued since 2011 can be found by clicking on this DM link.
These comment letters are the result of a process that begins with management putting its new or revised order out for comment. We then send the proposal to bargaining unit employees for their review and comment. (This is just one of several ways we receive input from GAO Employees Organization members regarding proposed new and revised orders.) Sometimes, for orders covering non-controversial issues, we receive fewer than a dozen comments from GAO Employees Organization members. On other orders covering more significant issues, we may receive well over a hundred comments.
Elected representatives and volunteers of the GAO Employees Organization who are familiar with the issues raised in the order consider all the comments as they draft a comment letter to be presented to management. The comment letters are not an attempt to reflect the relative positions of either the commenters as a whole, all GAO Employees Organization members, or the larger Bargaining Units because our efforts to gauge opinion do not include a validated survey instrument. Instead, while our comment letters may cover the breadth of comments we have received, they take positions on specific matters that GAO Employees Organization officers—often with input from our legal counsel and Assembly members—determine need to be addressed as management considers revising its proposal.
Once management receives the GAO Employees Organization’s comments and those of other interested parties, management will issue a proposed revision that we hope is designed to address them. After we take a look at this document, we prefer to meet informally with management to discuss any outstanding issues that were not satisfactorily addressed. If we can’t reach agreement on all these issues, depending on the nature of those that remain, we may advise management that we would like to more formally negotiate on those where we remain at odds. Often, at either of these two stages, we will be able to resolve all issues and can fully support the new or revised order when it is finalized by management.