New Audit Announcements
Audit Initiated of PHMSA’s Workforce Management
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) inspection and enforcement staff, along with State inspectors, determine safety standard compliance for companies operating about 2.6 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid transportation pipelines. Effective workforce management is essential for the Agency to fulfill its mission. The Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 directed us to:
- Review PHMSA’s workforce management, including geographic allocation plans, hiring and time-to-hire challenges, expected retirement rates, and recruitment and retention strategies;
- Identify and describe any previous periods of macroeconomic and pipeline industry conditions under which PHMSA encountered difficulty filling vacancies and the degree to which special hiring authorities, such as direct-hire authority, could have ameliorated such difficulties; and
- Make recommendations to address hiring challenges, training needs, and any other identified staff resource challenges.
Accordingly, we are initiating this audit to determine (1) whether PHMSA has developed geographic allocation plans, identified expected retirement rates, and developed recruitment, retention, and training strategies for OPS to address gaps and challenges, such as hiring and time-to-hire challenges and (2) whether previous periods of macroeconomic and pipeline industry conditions impacted the ability to fill OPS vacancies and the degree to which special hiring authorities, including direct hiring authority authorized by the Office of Personnel Management, could have alleviated such difficulty.