OMB touts progress on reducing federal property footprint

 Controller Danny Werfel Controller Danny Werfel Caitlin Fairchild/Govexec.com

The White House on Thursday announced new progress in the Obama administration’s effort to save money by consolidating and selling off unneeded federal real estate.

Through the first quarter of fiscal 2012, agencies saved $5.6 billion in property costs and were “on track” to exceed President Obama’s goal of saving $8 billion by year’s end, Controller Danny Werfel said in a blog post.

In response to Obama directives and the ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste, “agencies have worked to reduce office space, encourage wider adoption of telework, provide alternate workspace configurations, reduce operating costs and consolidate data centers,” Werfel wrote. “Through these efforts, agencies have generated millions of dollars in savings from selling or consolidating properties, on top of numerous examples of lease cancellations, improved space management, and reductions in operating costs that are driving greater returns for the taxpayer.”

Werfel pointed to the recent closings of 43 small offices by the Internal Revenue Service and the shuttering of 259 offices, facilities and labs by the Agriculture Department, which together will save some $190 million annually.

As examples of obsolete properties removed from federal responsibility, he mentioned the recent sale of the General Services Administration’s 1958-vintage Nome Federal Building in downtown Nome, Alaska, for $1.68 million, as well as a radar site in Moscow, Maine. The government also is preparing to sell the Portland Custom House in Portland, Ore., he added, which could generate as much as $4 million.

Efforts to unload unneeded federal properties are complicated by a weak economy, legal claims of first-refusal rights to properties by advocates for the homeless and historic preservation groups, as well as the agendas of local and national politicians.

Congress is mulling bills to reform the property sale process. The Office of Management and Budget has proposed legislation to create an outside board of property experts who would bundle properties for sale after congressional approval, much like the Defense Department’s Base Closure and Realignment Commission. A bill with some similar provisions introduced by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., cleared the House in February but is stalled in the Senate.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.