Selected GSA Real Property Operations Contain Internal Control Weaknesses

AFMD-83-35: Published: Jan 14, 1983. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 1983.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed selected real property operations of the General Services Administration (GSA).

GAO found that GSA lacked adequate control over its leasing program for federal office space, a nonrecurring reimbursable work program, and investment in operating equipment used to support real property operations. As a result of these and numerous other control weaknesses identified by GAO, the Government could not be ensured that its assets were safeguarded or that its funds were being expended efficiently and effectively. About $4 million in actual and $12 million in potential overpayments, overcharges, waste, and improper accounting for funds were identified. Since completion of the review, GSA has advised GAO that it has taken or initiated a number of actions to strengthen its internal controls, including: issuing a new lease acquisition handbook; establishing a contract clearance function in each region; issuing a task force report on reimbursable work; revising its billing policy for reimbursable work so that tenant agency bills will be based on actual rather than estimated costs; and other measures.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The GSA Inspector General staff should review operating equipment to ensure that sound controls over this equipment are implemented.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration: Office of the Inspector General

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for cost estimates prepared by GSA field offices to be fully justified and backed by supporting documentation.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for field offices to keep an inventory of materials and supplies, such as copper wire, sheetrock, paint, and other items that have personal or commercial use, so that building managers and others can readily determine whether such items are being properly used.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for the automated reporting system to identify any completed job that has had no actual charges against it for 3 months so that excess funds do not remain available for charging.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for shop personnel to promptly forward copies of the job order control sheets for completed jobs to the building manager's office so the jobs can be closed.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for field offices to keep all source documents related to reimbursable work, such as cost estimates, reimbursable work authorizations, job order control sheets, daily timesheets, inspection reports, vendor invoices, contractual documents, and National Electronic Accounting and Reporting System transmittal forms, to provide an adequate audit trail for completed and terminated jobs.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require and enforce existing requirements for field officials to properly allocate charges for labor and materials for reimbursable jobs so that the data entered into the financial management system are accurate.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should direct contracting officers to correct problems identified during contract clearance and clearance officials to follow up and make sure that the regions take the recommended corrective actions.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should enforce the provisions of the Penalty Guide when contracting officers and realty specialists willfully or negligently disregard lease acquisition procedures and contract clearance requirements.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require the Office of Acquisition Policy's contract clearance directorate to refer to the Deputy Administrator of General Services the names of those who do not comply with clearance officials' mandatory preaward requirements for appropriate administrative action and those proposed lease actions on which the contracting office and the Office of Acquisition Policy disagree for final review and decision.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for duties to be segregated so that: (1) the person preparing the cost estimate is not the one who is responsible for doing the work and for inspecting the completed job; and (2) the person obtaining bids is not the one placing orders or picking up materials.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for: (1) customer approval on all work within a specified time after completion and before final payment is made; and (2) strict adherence to the existing $500 limit on purchasing via certified invoice, so that purchases are not split to circumvent this requirement.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by the Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for participation by staff of the Director of Finance in inventory taking, on a sample basis, to ensure the integrity of the physical counts.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for guaranteeing that information put into the property management system for operating equipment (Equipment Depreciation and Inventory Control System) is accurate and properly describes the individual items of equipment.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by the Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for consolidation and updating of the various manuals by those responsible for property management so that one comprehensive publication is available for use GSA-wide.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for attendance at GSA property management training programs of those responsible for Government property.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for defining and listing sensitive items that fall under the capitalization threshold to ensure accountability for equipment with a high personal use value.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  18. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO considers this recommendation closed based upon information obtained from a GSA audit resolution official.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for proper segregation of the duties of inventory, property control, purchasing, and receiving.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  19. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for reconciliation of property records, Equipment Depreciation and Inventory Control System, and the general ledger.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  20. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: With respect to operating equipment managed by the Public Buildings Service, the Administrator of General Services should require or enforce existing requirements for a wall-to-wall inventory of equipment at all field and regional offices.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  21. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Inspector General of GSA should, using multidisciplined staffs of auditors and technical personnel, make comprehensive reviews of field offices' reimbursable work, both the paperwork and the actual work done, to determine whether records are reliable and the reimbursable program is auditable.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration: Office of the Inspector General

  22. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should emphasize to managers at all levels the importance of complying with existing lease acquisitions procedures and provide oversight to ensure adherence.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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