National Park Service Needs a Maintenance Management System

RCED-84-107: Published: Jun 1, 1984. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the potential for increased efficiency and effectiveness in maintaining the national park system.

The National Park Service (NPS) spends millions of dollars annually to maintain the buildings, roads, bridges, monuments, hiking trails, and utility systems on the more than 79 million acres of developed and undeveloped land which comprise the national park system. GAO visited nine NPS units in 1983 and found that attention had not always been given to systematically maintaining facilities, and that NPS had not provided adequate maintenance policy, guidance, or training. At seven of the parks visited, GAO found that park superintendents were not determining or requesting the funding needed to properly maintain park assets, properly accounting for maintenance resources, or assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of their maintenance activities. Superintendents at these seven parks agreed that they did not have the necessary information about their maintenance operations and did not know whether their maintenance activities were effective or efficient. NPS has estimated that the cost of developing and implementing an effective maintenance management system would be less than $10 million. GAO believes that the cost of such a system could be justified by the large annual NPS maintenance budget, the current maintenance problems, and the potential to recapture development and implementation costs through reduced maintenance costs, increased productivity, and other benefits.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Reports issued by the NPS Maintenance Management Task Force, on November 29, 1984, and MMS Steering Committee, on March 29, 1985, established an overall NPS policy on the purpose, goals, and objectives of the NPS park maintenance programs. An accomplishment report will be prepared when MMS is designed, tested, and implemented.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to develop overall NPS policy on the purpose, goals, and objectives of park maintenance programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Full implementation of the NPS servicewide maintenance management system is completed. The system has been installed in all 250 park units, and all appropriate staff have completed training.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to design, test, and implement in the national park system a maintenance management system which includes the key management elements discussed in this report. To help in designing a system, NPS officials may want to obtain information from organizations such as Parks Canada, which have maintenance management systems in operation.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The contract, awarded in June 1986, required the contractor to develop NPS guidelines on the system and processes needed to manage maintenance in the parks. Action on this recommendation was completed in March 1987. The guidelines and user manuals developed by the contractor were sent to printing. An accomplishment report will be prepared once MMS is fully implemented.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to develop NPS guidelines on the system and processes needed to properly manage maintenance in the parks.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The contract that NPS awarded in June 1986 requires the contractor to develop a training program and provide training to key NPS personnel. All of the originally planned training is complete. Further training is being developed to improve management and administrative skills in the field.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director, NPS, to develop a training program which focuses on planning, organizing, directing, and reviewing activities associated with a maintenance system and ensure that maintenance managers and other appropriate park and regional personnel receive the training.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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