Government Needs Better Data on Federal Real Estate Holdings, GAO Says

The federal government lacks reliable data on the number of excess properties it owns, calling into question the White House’s effort to achieve $3 billion in savings by the end of fiscal 2012, concluded a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The congressional watchdog agency found that data maintained by the Federal Real Property Council — including buildings’ utilization, condition, operating costs and value — is not always accurate and consistent.

Some federal efforts to better manage excess properties have been discontinued, with the potential savings achieved unclear. Five civilian agencies that GAO reviewed have made progress disposing of and managing excess properties by consolidating offices and using space more efficiently. However, they still face challenges to selling the properties, including the high cost of property disposal, legal requirements prior to disposal, stakeholder resistance and remote property locations.

GAO recommended that the General Services Administration improve data-keeping, and that the Office of Management and Budget develop a national strategy for managing excess and underutilized property.

Read the Government Executive story.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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