Park Service:

Need to Address Management Problems That Plague the Concessions Program

T-RCED-00-188: Published: May 24, 2000. Publicly Released: May 24, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the management of the National Park Service's concessions programs.

GAO noted that: (1) the shortcomings in the agency's overall approach to managing the concessions program centered on three areas, which includes: (a) the inadequate qualifications and training of the agency's concessions specialists and concessions contracting staff; (b) the agency's out-of-date practices in handling its contracting workload as well as its chronic backlog of expired contracts; and (c) a lack of accountability within the concessions program; (2) the problems are long-standing and are consistent with similar concerns raised by the Department of the Interior, its Office of the Inspector General, and the Park Service concessions staff; (3) the Park Service has two principal options available for dealing with the problems identified in the management of the concessions program: (a) using better hiring and training practices to professionalize the workforce and thus obtain better business and contracting expertise; or (b) contracting for the needed business and contracting expertise; (4) these two options are not mutually exclusive because the agency could contract for expertise in certain functions while developing the expertise in-house for other functions; (5) no matter which option, or combination of options, it selects the agency needs to strengthen its accountability for and control of the program; and (6) unless this is done, the effectiveness of other changes to the program will likely be diminished.

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