More Flexibility Needed by the General Services Administration for Delegating Leasing Authority to Federal Agencies

LCD-78-303: Published: Jan 9, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 9, 1978.

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The General Services Administration (GSA) was created in 1949 to centralize in a single government agency responsibility for procurement, management of real property, records management, and other housekeeping functions of the executive branch. In 1950, authority to lease general purpose real property was withdrawn from federal agencies and transferred to GSA. It was anticipated that the Administrator, GSA, would delegate this authority back to the agencies, particularly in smaller communities where space could be leased directly.

GSA does not delegate authority to agencies to lease space within designated urban centers and has limited delegations to five agencies outside of urban areas. Only about 60 of the 287 areas designated as urban centers contain major concentrations of federal agencies. The practice of broadly defining urban centers tends to centralize most leasing within GSA. GSA is inconsistent in that it refuses to grant to other agencies the authority granted to the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense to lease general purpose space outside designated urban centers. Leasing procedures and practices of agencies operating under the delegated authority have not been periodically reviewed, and GSA has no information concerning the capabilities of agency personnel involved in leasing, the adequacy of agency procedures, and the extent to which agency procedures comply with GSA regulations. Agencies complain that GSA does not lease space for them in a timely manner; in 1976, nearly a year was required to fill some agency requests.

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