DC Courts: Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Request and Financial Information Page: 4 of 15
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Courts would actually need supplemental funding in view of its stated intent to reserve more
than $5 million of its operating funds for fiscal year 2000 to cover all defender service costs,
as discussed later.
In reviewing DC Courts' initial budget request, OMB raised questions about the
reasonableness of estimated amounts, denying several items that were not adequately
supported. On October 27, 1999, DC Courts submitted a fiscal year 2001 budget request
totaling $164.5 million to OMB. Then in February 2000, the President submitted his
recommended budget for DC Courts of $141.4 million to the Congress. The $23 million
reduction stemmed from the denial of DC Courts' proposed (1) cost-of-living adjustments
that were not provided to nonjudicial court employees in January 1999 nor in January 2000,
(2) increase in the investigator reimbursement rate, and (3) additional capital improvements.
In a March 2000 correspondence to Congress, OMB stated that the increase for nonjudicial
compensation was denied because DC Courts had not provided any of the analysis requested
by OMB and Congress to justify this increase. OMB also denied additional requests for
capital budget improvements that exceeded the President's 3-year commitment for capital
OMB Circular No. A-11, as revised on November 10, 1999, Preparation and Submission of
Budget Estimates states in Section 25.1, "Applicability, Exceptions, and Advance Approval"
that the District of Columbia must submit information in accordance with this Circular to
support its request for federal payments. Our review confirmed that DC Courts' fiscal year
2001 budget request submitted to OMB on October 27, 1999, did not meet the requirements
of this circular. For example, OMB denied funding for Juvenile Urban Services expansion
because the cost of program changes was not supported. Other required information that was
not in DC Courts' submission included the (1) the broad policies and strategies proposed and
the total amounts of discretionary and mandatory budgetary resources and FTE requested,
(2) relevant performance information, including performance goals and indicators, and (3) a
breakdown of the budget base by expenditure type, such as personnel services, contractual
services, and administrative costs.
In April 2000, DC Courts provided a more detailed budget justification than was submitted
along with its initial budget request to the Congress, including the job comparison analysis
requested by the Congress and OMB to support the nonjudicial employee compensation
increase (pay parity) that DC Courts requested in fiscal year 1999. The Congress is
currently determining the level of appropriated funding for DC Courts. Our review showed
that DC Courts' April 2000 budget justifications included the type of detailed information
that it annually provided to the Congress since fiscal year 1998. Prior to that, the same
information was provided to the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and
Management Assistance Authority, the Mayor, and the City Council before submission to the
Congress. The inclusion of the required detailed justification information assists the
Congress and other decisionmakers, and previously assisted the District, in making critical
4In November 1999, an independent study was conducted of the pay comparison between DC Courts'
nonjudicial employees and their counterparts in U.S. Courts and federal agencies. The study found that the pay
of DC Courts' nonjudicial employees was at least 14 percent less than their counterparts in federal courts and 11
percent less than comparable federal agency employees.
GAO/AIMD-00-172R DC Courts FY 2001 Budget
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United States. General Accounting Office. DC Courts: Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Request and Financial Information, text, July 31, 2000; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298542/m1/4/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.