GSA to centralize the sale of excess government property

Officials with the General Services Administration's Federal Asset Sales e-government initiative are preparing to launch a central Internet portal on Oct. 1 for selling excess government property, in an attempt to consolidate agency sale centers.

Federal Asset Sales, one of the original e-government projects launched in 2001, was originally intended to act as a governmentwide center for purchasing excess property. But the logistics proved difficult and the project struggled to move forward. It faced contract protests and a lack of agency buy-in.

The new concept for centralizing government sales is based on the lines of business idea introduced by Office of Management and Budget in 2004, GSA officials said in an interview last week. The lines of business give agencies options for unloading operations that are not part of their core functions, for a fee.

On July 17, OMB approved four agency-run sales operations that will act as centers for disposing of civilian agencies' personal property. The centers are GSA Auctions, the Treasury Department's Forfeiture Fund, the U.S. Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Program and the Agriculture Department's Centralized Excess Property Operation.

A draft regulation is being prepared to require agencies to migrate from their existing sales operations to one of the four approved centers, GSA officials said. The Defense Department will be excluded because its contracts for selling excess property are in place for several more years and cannot easily be changed, GSA officials said.

Because the sale of real property, such as land or buildings, already is largely centralized around three agencies -- GSA and the departments of Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development - those sale centers did not go through the same formal selection process administered for the personal property sale centers. But their property sales offerings will be included on the Federal Asset Sales Web portal.

The list of sale centers may grow to include other agencies and private sector companies, said Becky Rhodes, GSA's deputy associate administrator for the Office of Travel, Transportation and Asset Management.

The time-line for migrating to the centralized sale centers has not been established, but GSA officials anticipate agencies will make the switch within the next year or sooner.

"If OMB has their way it would be less, but realistically I think it takes a while for agencies to sort of change what they're doing," said Chris Fornecker, program manager for Federal Asset Sales.

All four centers will report what they are selling to the Federal Asset Sales-run Web portal that has yet to be named, Fornecker said.

"Our near-term plan is to focus on making it easy for citizens to find things that the government has for sale," said Fornecker. "So a citizen could come online and search for a 1957 Chevy for instance, and it'll tell that citizen all the '57 Chevies that the government is selling."

The Web site is intended to act as a way to advertise the items for sale, but the actual transactions will take place within the sale centers.

The original plan for Federal Asset Sales was to provide agencies with all the services necessary for selling excess property, including advertising, storage and transportation. But that approach was found to be faulty, Fornecker said.

"We're dropping back and taking a more modest approach that is patterned after what has been done in these other lines of business," Fornecker said. "If it were created today, it would be called a line of business."

Federal Asset Sales is funded solely by GSA at an average of $2.5 million annually, and the service centers will operate using agency funds and the fee-for-service model.

Fornecker said officials are hoping to reduce the Federal Asset Sales program management office overhead by 50 percent, down to a couple of staffers and some contractor support.

One of the program management goals is to collect and publicize performance data from the sale centers so agencies can compare prices among them.

GSA hopes to be able to know the number of assets disposed of on a quarterly basis, the value of those assets, the type of assets and how the amount received for them compares to their market value.

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 G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    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 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

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