GSA Could Save More in High-Value Leases, Watchdog Says

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., requested the report. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., requested the report. Evan Vucci/AP

The government’s 218 most expensively leased facilities could be made more cost-effective if the General Services Administration had sufficient funding and better information on long-term consequences of leasing buildings for agencies, auditors found.

While GSA has demonstrated progress in pursuing the Obama administration’s agenda of reducing building costs and shifting more sites from leasing to federal ownership, it is hampered by tight funding and an absence of transparent information on long-term opportunity costs, said a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office.

In a report requested by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, GAO found that “GSA's capital-planning approach lacks transparency and a strategic focus that could support more informed decision making in this area. Specifically, GSA does not follow capital-planning practices involving alternatives evaluation, project prioritization, and long-term capital planning.”

GAO faulted GSA’s lease prospectuses for failing to discuss the length of time of the space it needs to place an agency on a new site, which is “key to understanding whether leasing or owning would be more cost-effective,” it said. GSA in nine high-value leases did not go through the prospectus process and in general had not systematically ranked the high-value leases in order of which is more likely to save the government money through conversion to federal ownership, auditors said. “This lack of information on the long-term consequences, including costs and risks, of high-value leases could inadvertently contribute to the federal government's overspending on long-term space needs.”

GAO reviewed all 218 high-value leases and performed case studies on 12.

The watchdog recommended that GSA create a strategic vision and improve transparency—including delivering more detailed information to Congress -- to better identify cost savings opportunities when current leases expire.

GSA managers agreed with the recommendations.

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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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