Office of Inspector General, HUD.
Notice of planned closing of Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty station.
This notice advises the public that the HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) is closing its Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty station, and also provides a cost-benefit analysis of the impact of the closure.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Bryan Saddler, Counsel to the Inspector General, Room 8260, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20410, (202) 708-1613. (This is not a toll free number.) A telecommunications device for hearing- and speech-impaired persons (TTY) is available at 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Information Relay Services). (This is a toll-free number.)End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
In 1998, HUD/OIG established a one-person post-of-duty station in Topeka, Kansas, to give direct support to the HUD/OIG's Operation Safe Home (OSH) initiative to combat violent and drug-related crime in public and assisted housing in Topeka and nearby communities. Although the Topeka post-of-duty station is only about 50 miles from HUD/OIG's Kansas City Regional Office, nationwide experience since the initiation of OSH in 1994 had proven that the best results/impact could be obtained when HUD/OIG Special Agents were physically located in the target city. However, in accordance with the requirements of the Fiscal Year 2002 HUD Appropriations Act (Pubic Law 107-73, approved November 26, 2001), HUD/OIG is terminating OSH and re-deploying staff to focus on investigations involving single-family fraud and property flipping. This change eliminates the need to maintain a separate post-of-duty station in Topeka, Kansas, and gives HUD/OIG the opportunity to generate cost savings associated with discontinuing an additional office.
Section 7(p) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (42 U.S.C. 3535(p)) provides that a plan for field reorganization, which may involve the closing of any field or regional office, of the Department of Housing and Urban Development may not take effect until 90 days after a cost-benefit analysis of the effect of the plan on the office in question is published in the Federal Register. The required cost-benefit analysis should include: (1) An estimate of cost savings anticipated; (2) an estimate of the additional cost which will result from the reorganization; (3) a discussion of the impact on the local economy; and (4) an estimate of the effect of the reorganization on the availability, accessibility, and quality of services provided for recipients of those services.
Legislative history pertaining to section 7(p) indicates that not all reorganizations are subject to the requirements of section 7(p). Congress stated that “[t]his amendment is not intended to [apply] to or restrict the internal operations or organization of the Department (such as the Start Printed Page 13646establishment of new or combination of existing organization units within a field office, the duty stationing of employees in various locations to provide on-site service, or the establishment or closing, based on workload, of small, informal offices such as valuation stations).” (See House Conference Report No. 95-1792, October 14, 1978 at 105-106.)
The two-person duty station in Topeka, Kansas, is a single-purpose duty station, and the duty station is being closed based on workload rather than on a reorganization of HUD/OIG field offices. Although notice of the closing of a duty station is not subject to the requirement of section 7(p), as supported by legislative history, HUD/OIG nevertheless prepared a cost-benefit analysis for its own use in determining whether to proceed with the closing. Through this notice, HUD/OIG advises the public of the closing of the Topeka, Kansas duty station and provides the cost-benefit analysis of the impact of the closure.
Impact of the Closure of the Topeka, Kansas Post-of-Duty Station
HUD/OIG considered the costs and benefits of closing the Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty, and is publishing its cost-benefit analysis with this notice. In summary, HUD/OIG has determined that the closure will result in a cost savings, and, as a result of the size and limited function of the office, will cause no appreciable impact on the provision of authorized investigative services/activities in the area (i.e., OSH activities, of course, will be impacted, but HUD/OIG has been directed to terminate these activities).
A. Cost Savings: The Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty currently costs $21,415 per year in lease and other expenses. Thus, closing the post-of-duty will result in an annual savings of at least $21,415. In addition, by closing the office HUD/OIG will not be required to incur additional costs associated with current plans to install high-speed computer access lines to and on the premises, nor will HUD/OIG incur costs associated with the lease or purchase of duplicative office equipment.
B. Additional Costs: There are no offsetting expenses anticipated. The Special Agent assigned to the Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty will be reassigned to the Kansas City Regional Office, without need for relocation reimbursement. Further, there is adequate existing office space to accommodate the Special Agent within the Kansas City Regional Office.
C. Impact on Local Economy: The Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty office space comprises a mere 1,162 square feet of space, which can easily be re-leased to other tenants. Thus, no appreciable impact on the local economy is anticipated.
D. Effect on Availability, Accessibility and Quality of Services Provided to Recipients of Those Services: The establishment of the Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty was based entirely on the needs of the HUD/OIG to have a Special Agent in closer proximity to OSH activities conducted in the Topeka area. These activities are being terminated. Further, as was the case prior to 1998, fraud investigations in the Topeka area can be cost effectively addressed by agents assigned to the Kansas City Regional Office, which is about 50 miles away.
For the reasons stated in this notice, HUD/OIG intends to proceed to close its Topeka, Kansas post-of-duty station at the expiration of the 90-day period from the date of publication of this notice.Start Signature
Dated: March 15, 2002.
Michael P. Stephens,
Deputy Inspector General.
[FR Doc. 02-7125 Filed 3-22-02; 8:45 am]
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