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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed 246 sample sites that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) acquired during 1987 under its real estate acquisition program to determine the extent to which USPS: (1) had a choice among competing sites when acquiring land; (2) purchased only the land it needed to meet operational and customer service requirements; and (3) purchased the most economical alternative among competing sites.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Postal Service 1. The Postmaster General should instruct the operating divisions to use judgment based on local community conditions, rather than a standard 50-percent growth factor, in developing 20-year site size requirements.
Closed - Implemented
Action called for by GAO was taken.
United States Postal Service 2. The Postmaster General should issue guidelines standardizing the advertising practices of the five postal regions for soliciting sites for facility projects so that managers do not advertise for more land than needed. Advertisements should identify 20-year site requirements and say that site offers should be large enough to meet the site requirements plus whatever additional land is needed to accommodate any site use restrictions. If a range of sizes is used, that range should be centered on the net usable 20-year site requirements.
Closed - Implemented
Action called for by GAO was taken.
United States Postal Service 3. The Postmaster General should require site selection committees to fully document the reasons for purchasing sites larger than net usable requirements or more costly than other contending sites.
Closed - Implemented
Action called for by GAO was taken.
United States Postal Service 4. The Postmaster General should direct the facilities department to clarify USPS policy by specifying that the negotiation process on freely offered property is not limited by the appraised value or a lower offered price, and that negotiations may start below either. Further, the department should instruct managers to ensure that acquisition files contain complete documentation of the negotiation process in all projects.
Closed - Implemented
USPS needs to negotiate all offered prices in training courses and managers' meetings. The formal directive called for by GAO will not be issued.

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