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Open Recommendations (10 total)

Tribal Issues: Bureau of Indian Affairs Should Take Additional Steps to Improve Timely Delivery of Real Estate Services [Reissued with revisions on Nov. 6, 2023]

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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Director of BIA should, using available data, conduct an initial assessment of its processing times and compliance with regulatory and internal deadlines in delivering real estate services (mortgages, leases, rights-of-way, and TSR requests). As a part of that assessment, BIA should identify and develop a plan to address any areas for improvement, factors affecting processing times (including staff shortages), and additional data needs for future analysis. (Recommendation 4)
Open
The agency agreed with this recommendation. We will update the recommendation status when we receive additional information.
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Director of BIA should enhance TAAMS to include additional data edit checks that require staff to enter all information necessary for measuring processing times and whether regulatory and internal deadlines are being met for new lease and right-of-way applications. (Recommendation 2)
Open
The agency agreed with this recommendation. We will update the recommendation status when we receive additional information.
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Director of BIA should conduct regular oversight and review of data entered into TAAMS to assess the degree to which new lease and right-of-way applications contain all information necessary to measure processing times and whether regulatory and internal deadlines are being met. BIA should also conduct this regular oversight and review of mortgage applications following implementation of the forthcoming TAAMS mortgage module that will replace the Mortgage Tracker. (Recommendation 3)
Open
The agency agreed with this recommendation. We will update the recommendation status when we receive additional information.
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Director of BIA should provide additional training and guidance to staff on TAAMS data field definitions and data entry requirements to ensure that staff are entering all information necessary to measure processing times and whether regulatory and internal deadlines are being met for new lease and right-of-way applications. BIA should also provide similar training and guidance to accompany the forthcoming TAAMS mortgage module that will replace the Mortgage Tracker. (Recommendation 1)
Open
The agency agreed with this recommendation. We will update the recommendation status when we receive additional information.
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Director of BIA should assess the quality of its communication with Tribes and stakeholders regarding real estate services and, based on that assessment, identify any areas for improvement. This could include the development of policy or guidance specifying procedures and time frames for responding to inquiries, such as those concerning the status of applications and TSR requests. (Recommendation 6)
Open
The agency agreed with this recommendation. We will update the recommendation status when we receive additional information.

Tribal Issues: Bureau of Indian Affairs Should Take Additional Steps to Improve Timely Delivery of Real Estate Services [Reissued with revisions on Nov. 6, 2023]

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Director of BIA should develop performance goals and accompanying measures for the agency to monitor its processing times and compliance with regulatory and internal deadlines for delivering real estate services (mortgages, leases, rights-of-way, and TSR requests) on an ongoing basis and inform its plans to improve processing times, as appropriate. (Recommendation 5)
Open
The agency agreed with this recommendation. We will update the recommendation status when we receive additional information.

Federal Personal Property: Better Internal Guidance and More Action from GSA Are Needed to Help Agencies Maximize Use of Excess

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs should ensure that internal guidance on considering excess personal property incorporates, at a minimum, the requirement to consider excess property, relevant roles and responsibilities, when it is practicable to check for and obtain excess property, and how to evaluate the suitability of excess property for meeting agency needs. (Recommendation 1)
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The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. In February 2024, BIA said it had updated its purchase card guidance and expected to update its purchase request guidance in the next month to include the requirement to consider excess personal property before purchasing new. We will continue to monitor BIA actions in response to this recommendation.

Alaska Native Issues: Federal Agencies Could Enhance Support for Native Village Efforts to Address Environmental Threats

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Affairs The BIA Director should review BIA's programs identified in this report and, where the agency determines it feasible and appropriate, implement relevant changes to address program characteristics that are not established in statute that pose obstacles to Alaska Native villages' obtaining assistance, including characteristics we identified and others that BIA may identify. BIA should also document its review, any related consultation with tribes, and any changes made to its programs. (Recommendation 3)
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In a January 2023 letter to GAO, BIA described possible solutions to the obstacles identified in our report. BIA has implemented some changes to its Tribal Climate Resilience Program to reduce obstacles to Alaska Native villages obtaining assistance, including adding a category for noncompetitive funding for relocation coordinators. We will continue to monitor BIA's actions in response to this recommendation and evaluate them when complete.

Alaska Native Issues: Federal Agencies Could Enhance Support for Native Village Efforts to Address Environmental Threats

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Affairs The BIA Director should identify options for providing additional technical assistance that is specifically designed to help Alaska Native villages navigate and obtain assistance from the variety of potentially available federal programs, including by assessing how BIA prioritizes its available resources. (Recommendation 1)
Open
As of January 2023, BIA had several ongoing actions to provide additional technical assistance to help Alaska Native villages obtain assistance from federal programs. In 2022, BIA added two additional Tribal Climate Resilience Liaisons in Alaska, which, according to BIA, can work with Tribes to identify funding sources and develop proposals. In addition, BIA was developing a curriculum for training community coordinators supported through its Tribal Climate Resilience Program and developing an updated catalog of federal programs related to relocation efforts. We will continue to monitor BIA's actions in response to this recommendation and evaluate them when complete.

Indian Programs: Interior Should Address Factors Hindering Tribal Administration of Federal Programs

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Indian Affairs The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs should develop a process that results in consistent determinations for inherently federal functions and to provide documentation to tribes on specific activities and functions determined to be inherently federal. (Recommendation 2)
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In December 2019, the Secretary of Interior issued a Secretarial Order asking the Office of the Solicitor to develop a list of contractible functions and activities for Indian oil and gas activities--and a list of "inherently federal functions" that are not available. In February 2020, the Office of Solicitor completed its review of the functions and developed a list of inherently federal functions and a list of federal functions and activities for Indian oil and gas activities that are contractible. In April 2021, Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Affairs officials said they would study developing a process that would result in consistent determinations for inherently federal functions for other federal functions and activities. As of January 2024, Interior's Office of Field Operations (OFO) is continuing work to develop a consistent and accurate template of inherently federal functions that can be applied across all 12 Regions. To date, Interior has developed an initial template and tested it in several Regions. During the testing phase, OFO learned that they needed to clarify several additional programs and their associated inherently federal function governing language. OFO is working with multiple Regions to develop those new and revised templates, which it expects to be complete by the end of March 2024. Prior to finalizing the templates, Interior will consult with Tribes and incorporate their input. We will continue to track Interior's progress implementing this recommendation.