Improvements Needed in Space Leasing Program

PLRD-82-88: Published: May 6, 1982. Publicly Released: May 6, 1982.

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GAO evaluated the space leasing policies followed by General Services Administration (GSA) Region 10 in finding new sites for ACTION and Forest Service offices in Seattle. The relocation was one of the major moves accomplished by the region during 1980, and the approach used in this case was supposedly typical of the way the region leases space.

GAO believed that it was appropriate for GSA to attempt to obtain offers from other property owners and not attempt to automatically negotiate a new lease at the current agency location. However, GAO believed that the handling of the relocation demonstrated a need to for improvement in the region's space leasing program. Cost was given little consideration throughout the leasing process, and regional officials developed an unnecessarily restrictive solicitation package. They rejected the only initial offer received for questionable reasons. In addition, preferential treatment was given to two higher cost locations in subsequent sole-source negotiations. As a result, ACTION and the Forest Service were relocated to space costing about $160,000 a year more than necessary. ACTION officials believe that their new space is more luxurious and costly than warranted for their mission and clientele. They also said that the increased space cost diverted funds that would have been spent on operating programs and thus the move impaired their ability to perform their mission. Delay in initiating the lease action ultimately limited the options available to satisfy the space requirements. Colocation of the two agencies in the core of the central business areas was the only option solicited. Despite Federal Property Management Regulations which encourage consultation with local officials regarding Federal use of space in a community, Region 10 made no arrangement for consultation about specific GSA space acquisitions.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. 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, GSA, Region 10, should place greater emphasis on cost, timeliness, and marketability in the space leasing program. Specifically, the Administrator should: (1) encourage competition by increasing the versatility incorporated in solicitations; (2) promote competition in the leasing program by expanding the areas of solicitation used in individual leasing actions; (3) require consultation with knowledgeable professionals before rejecting offers for reasons beyond the expertise of the contracting officer; and (4) establish a working relationship to include local officials in the planning phase of major lease actions.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration: Region 10, Auburn, WA

 

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