Real Property Management Issues Facing GSA and Congress

T-GGD-92-4: Published: Oct 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 1991.

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GAO discussed: (1) the General Services Administration's (GSA) role in federal real property management; and (2) why GSA has been unable to cost-effectively manage federal real property assets. GAO noted that: (1) ever since GSA was established in 1949, GSA has been torn between an internal dynamic emphasizing a more centralized approach to service delivery and a largely external expectation that its role be to oversee decentralized operations within the federal agency community; (2) GSA has not effectively fulfilled its intended central management role or been successful in cost-effectively acquiring and managing federal buildings and other valuable real property assets; (3) reasons for GSA ineffectiveness that are within its direct control include GSA preference toward operations at the expense of its central management leadership, policymaking, and oversight responsibilities, and its lack of a strategic approach to asset management; and (4) reasons for GSA ineffectiveness that are not within its control include the federal government's decentralized management of real property assets, funding shortfalls, the current federal budget structure, and the existing prospectus authorization process. GAO believes that GSA needs to concentrate on its envisioned central management agency role and leave day-to-day building management and lease administrative responsibilities up to tenant agencies.

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