Property Management:

Excess and Surplus Personal Property Transfers to Nonfederal Organizations

GGD-88-68: Published: May 13, 1988. Publicly Released: May 13, 1988.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed: (1) executive agencies' procedures regarding the transfer of excess and the donation of surplus federal personal property to nonfederal organizations; and (2) whether the General Services Administration (GSA) conducted timely regional reviews of the operations of state agencies for surplus property.

GAO found that: (1) since the implementation of P.L. 94-519, federal agencies have acquired a greater percentage of excess personal property than nonfederal organizations; (2) although the amount of excess property donated to nonfederal organizations increased from $243 million to $371 million in the 2 years prior to implementation, the amount of excess donated property has not exceeded $54 million; (3) some agencies did not include all the required information in their annual reports or did not submit their reports to GSA within the required calendar quarter; (4) the Department of Energy (DOE) did not include the excess personal property furnished to its contractors in its annual report; (5) state agencies donated $35.6 million in personal property to three new categories, because the law encouraged donation to a wider range of eligible nonfederal organizations; (6) 44 state agencies donated a disproportionate amount of excess property to their 10 largest recipients; (7) 440 of about 29,800 organizations received 35 percent of the total donated amount; (8) about 25 state agencies requested less than their full entitlements, and 11 received 200 percent or more of their entitlements because no other states requested them; (9) due to a decrease in donated excess property, many state agencies had operating losses from 1983 through 1985; and (10) GSA reviews did not include the financial conditions of state agencies' operations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE developed new reporting with GSA concurrence. Information was collected from all contractors and submitted to GSA in the consolidated annual report in December, 1988.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should include information on excess personal property furnished to DOE contractors who operate government-owned facilities in its annual report submitted to GSA in compliance with section 202(e) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA issued Federal Property Management Bulletin H-54, January 1989, containing the recommended approach.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should inform the heads of all executive agencies that GSA will issue its summary and analysis report to Congress on a specified date and this report will: (1) include only those executive agency reports that have been submitted to GSA during the calendar quarter following the close of the fiscal year, as required by section 202(e) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended; and (2) identify those executive agencies that have not submitted an annual report on time.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Several actions have been planned or taken. A new permanent regulation was issued in November, 1988 (Amendment H-169).

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should encourage the state agency directors to aggressively promote the benefits of the donation program within their states and advertise the variety of property available through the donation program to those public and private organizations that establish their eligibility. The purpose of this recommendation is to help: (1) increase the amount of surplus personal property some state agencies request from GSA; and (2) expand the number of eligible nonfederal organizations that receive donated property.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interim steps were taken, with final donation handbook changes issued in July, 1989.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require that regional reviews: (1) be conducted once every 2 fiscal years in compliance with the Donation Handbook; (2) include information on the amount of state agencies' service charges, operating expenses, operating profit/loss, and property donated; (3) develop and use inventory-level criteria to assess and reduce the amount of property in inventory; and (4) increase the coverage of property and inventory control, eligibility of donee organizations, performance of compliance and utilization reviews, the adequacy of the fiscal accounting system, and resolution of the management problems identified.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration


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