Natural Resources Conservation Service-Obligating Orders with GSA's AutoChoice Summer Program
B-317249, Jul 1, 2009
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), requests an advance decision under 31 U.S.C. 3529 on whether NRCS may properly obligate current year appropriations to buy next year model motor vehicles (cars) through the General Services Administration's (GSA) AutoChoice Summer Program. Letter from E. Steven Butler, CFO, NRCS, to Gary L. Kepplinger, General Counsel, GAO, Sept. 24, 2008 (NRCS Request). In this program, while NRCS may submit an order to GSA in the summer of one fiscal year, it must wait until the next fiscal year for the information on next year model cars that it needs to finalize its order; at that time, GSA will award NRCS's order to a vendor for manufacture and delivery. NRCS Request. For the reasons stated below, we conclude that an order submitted through GSA's AutoChoice Summer Program does not constitute an obligation of the current fiscal year. GSA has informed us that it is in the process of retooling GSA AutoChoice to eliminate its Summer Program. Teleconference between Nathan C. Guerrero, Assistant General Counsel, Personal Property Division, GSA, Susan A. Poling, Managing Associate General Counsel, GAO, and Lauren S. Fassler, Senior Attorney, GAO, June 30, 2009.