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Administration Proposes New Federal Property Tools


GSA # 9710

July 13, 2000
Contact: Viki Reath (202) 501-1231
viki.reath@gsa.gov

Washington, DC -- The Clinton administration's proposal to reform portions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 for the first time in 50 years would create commercial-type opportunities for federal real property management, officials said yesterday.

"With the dollar value of federal real and personal property assets estimated to be in the hundreds of billions, and the federal government owning nearly 3 billion square feet of space, it is increasingly imperative that prevailing policies ensure their efficient and effective stewardship," Administrator David J. Barram, of the U.S. General Services Administration, said in testimony delivered during yesterday's Senate hearing. "It's time we use the same common-sense property management strategies in the federal government that have already proven successful in the private sector."

Mr. Barram and David Bibb, GSA's deputy associate administrator for real property, Office of Governmentwide Policy, testified at the House Government Reform Committee's subcommittee on government management, information and technology hearing. The Senate companion bill is S.2805.

"With few exceptions, agencies today are not authorized to sell, exchange or lease outmoded capital assets and use the proceeds for replacements," Mr. Bibb said. "As a result, agencies lacking sufficient appropriations must get along with sub-standard facilities and divert resources from vital facilities to maintain unproductive property."

To allow for better management of federal assets, the proposed bill authorizes agencies to:

- exchange or sell personal property for replacement property or related services;
- retain proceeds from surplus personal property sales to offset disposal costs;
- exchange or transfer real property to other federal agencies;
- enter into agreements with non-federal entities to exchange or sell real property as a means of acquiring replacement property;
- sublease unexpired portions of federal leases;
- lease underused government property that must remain under federal ownership to private sector companies.

To improve federal property management processes, the bill authorizes agencies to:

- retain the bulk of proceeds from real property transactions to offset disposal costs and - use in meeting capital asset needs;
- control disposal of their surplus real property, with the option, not the mandate, to choose GSA;
- permit nonprofit institutions, along with the currently mandated state and local governments, to receive surplus real property for historic preservation;
- execute personal property negotiated sales without submitting a statement to Congress;
- increase threshold for explanations to Congress concerning real property negotiated sales to $2 million;
- reduce administrative burdens and costs associated with making real property available for homeless assistance programs, thereby enabling efficient and effective property disposal for other purposes, when appropriate;
- allow nonprofit organizations, along with the currently mandated state and local governments, to acquire abandoned federal property that has no commercial value;
- clarify and remove conflicting provisions regarding donation of personal property and reduce administrative and recordkeeping burdens on state surplus property agencies.