Constituent's Complaints About the Regional Storage Management Office in Topeka, Kansas

LCD-80-88: Published: Jul 25, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 1980.


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    GAO was asked to investigate complaints about the Department of the Army's regional storage management office in Topeka, Kansas. The Military Traffic Management Command is the single manager for the personal property program of the Department of Defense. Among other things, the command is responsible for arranging for storage of such property, including unaccompanied baggage and household goods. The storage function is the direct responsibility of five regional storage management offices (RSMO) which contract with commercial firms for storage facilities and related moving services. The Topeka RSMO is responsible for a 15-State area and currently has approximately 525 warehouses under basic agreements to provide services for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Army/Air Force Exchange Service. A contractor of the RSMO in Topeka, Kansas, has complained that: (1) the contracting officer required the contractor to perform services not specified in the basic agreement; (2) the contracting officer issued a stop order suspending the contractor because it refused to use wirebound tags, even though such tags are not required by the agreement; (3) the contractor was illegally denied the right to participate in storage business with the Government; (4) the Government incurred additional costs because of the contractor's suspension; (5) the Army's responses to congressional inquiries were misleading concerning the contractor's performance; and (6) the new basic ordering agreement contained no significant changes in the areas of disagreement.

    In its investigation, GAO found that: (1) the contactor's suspension increased the cost the Government paid for storage and related services by $1400 which is the maximum difference in price between the contractor's cost for storage per hundredweight and the next five higher contractor's storage cost for the period of suspension; (2) the Army's responses to congressional inquiries were inaccurate and misleading concerning the contractor's performance in locating, identifying, and tagging items for storage; (3) the contractor had reason to conclude that its method for identifying property was proper and did not violate the basic agreement since the basic agreement did not require use of wirebound tags on segregated items; (4) the new basic ordering agreement had no significant changes, because the changes could reasonably be considered optional and did not adequately convey the meaning intended by the Military Traffic Management Command; and (5) the contractor's locator system was able to quickly identify and locate property in storage and was able to distinguish nontemporary lots from other lots in the warehouse.

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