Federal Real Property:

Views on Management Reform Proposals

T-GGD-00-175: Published: Jul 12, 2000. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2000.

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Bernard L. Ungar
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed aspects of S. 2805--the Federal Property Asset Management Reform Act--and H.R. 3285--the Federal Asset Management Improvement Act.

GAO noted that: (1) S. 2805 would require the General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator to take a leadership role, in collaboration with the heads of federal landholding agencies, to publish, and maintain a set of real property asset management principles; (2) these principles would be used by agencies as guidance in making decisions about property planning, acquisition, use, maintenance, and disposal; (3) GSA believes that these principles would promote more efficient and effective use of federal assets and better communication among the agencies; (4) H.R. 3285 would require the GSA Administrator to establish performance measures designed to track executive branch agencies' progress in achieving property management objectives; (5) S. 2805 also would provide for a Senior Real Property Officer to oversee all real property asset management activities relating to agency programs and operations; (6) the Senior Real Property Officer would continuously monitor the management of assets to ensure that they were being used and invested in a way that supported the goals and objectives of the agency's strategic plan; (7) S. 2805 would require the GSA Administrator to accumulate and maintain a single, comprehensive, worldwide listing of all real property interests under the custody and control of federal agencies; (8) presently, GSA has no assurance that their inventory contains accurate, timely, or complete data and has no leverage or authority over property holding agencies to ensure that the data they voluntarily submit is current, accurate, or complete; (9) GAO believes that a comprehensive, reliable listing of federal properties, as envisioned by S. 2805, is essential to overseeing and managing the government's large portfolio of federal assets; (10) S. 2805 would provide managers more flexibility and incentives for better property management; (11) the bill would amend the law so that each agency could retain proceeds from the sales of real property and deposit them into agency capital asset accounts for real property needs; (12) each agency would be able to be reimbursed for the costs of property dispositions from the proceeds of the dispositions or from its capital asset accounts; (13) S. 2805 provides asset management tools, which in themselves may be incentives for agency property managers to better manage federal real estate assets; and (14) the bill would provide four new enhanced asset management tools for effective management of federal property: (a) interagency transfers or exchanges; (b) sales to or exchanges with nonfederal sources; (c) subleases; and (d) outleases.

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