A wide-ranging White House plan to reorganize the federal government released last week largely leaves the Pentagon untouched, but it includes several recommendations to shrink the federal real property footprint. The plan improves incentives for agencies to divest of unneeded assets, establishes a new budgetary mechanism for capital projects and outlines better leasing practices, reports Federal News Radio. It calls for several changes to the disposal process for unneeded properties:
- allowing agencies to retain sales’ net proceeds and dedicating them to real property use without further appropriation;
- expanding allowable uses of the General Services Administration Disposal Fund to support agencies with the upfront costs of disposition; and
- eliminating all conveyance authorities and allowing surplus properties to go straight to market.
The proposal expands on the 2016 Federal Assets Sale Transfer Act of 2016, which established a Public Buildings Reform Board to review agency recommendations for property disposal and included some language to streamline the disposal process.
Beyond reforming federal real estate practices, the White House plan would:
- shift the Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program to the departments of Interior and Transportation;
- transfer the responsibility for performing background investigations for security clearances and employment from the Office of Personnel Management to DOD; and
- move the Interior Department’s Central Hazardous Materials program and a similar program run by the Agriculture Department to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program in an effort to streamline management of cleanups at abandoned mine sites.
Many of the recommendations would require approval from Congress, where Democrats are expected to resist much of the plan, reported the Washington Post.
Photo by Ben Aveling