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Audit Unit Helped GSA Save Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Audit Unit Helped GSA Save Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Elizabeth Newell | Government Executive Magazine

December 07, 2009

The General Services Administration’s Office of the Inspector General says its work in the second half of fiscal 2009 saved the agency more than $466 million.

In its semiannual report to Congress, covering April 1 to Sept. 30, the inspector general said it made more than $268 million in financial recommendations for better use of government funds. The office also made 130 referrals for criminal prosecution, civil litigation and administrative actions, issued 83 subpoenas and received 1,441 calls to its hotline.

“This period, we achieved savings from management decisions on financial recommendations, civil settlements and investigative recoveries totaling over $466 million,” the report stated.

In addition to cataloging its own undertakings, the office is required to report on the most significant management challenges GSA faces. The OIG identified acquisition programs, information technology, management controls, protection of federal facilities and personnel, human capital, and the federal buildings fund as GSA’s greatest management challenges.

During this period, the office focused on four of those six challenges — acquisition programs, information technology, management controls and the federal buildings fund — and new challenges such as the economic stimulus effort and the mandatory contractor disclosure program.

GSA received almost $6 billion under the Recovery Act for programs such as remodeling federal buildings to achieve greater energy efficiency, constructing land ports of entry and acquiring more fuel-efficient government vehicles. OIG received $7 million under the stimulus for oversight of these new programs. The office already has issued a risk assessment of GSA’s stimulus implementation and an audit report evaluating whether its plans for construction and renovation are comprehensive. In cooperation with the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the GSA inspector general completed 32 audits of contractor proposals for Recovery Act projects.

Most of the potential savings the inspector general identified were in the area of acquisitions. The OIG manages a pre-award review program, which provides information to contracting officers for use in negotiating contracts. During the last half of fiscal 2009, OIG performed pre-award reviews of 74 contracts with a value of $8.1 billion.

“We recommended that more than $268 million be put to better use,” the inspector general told Congress. “During this reporting period, management decisions were made on 29 pre-award reports, which recommended that over $303 million be put to better use. Management agreed with 99.7 percent of the recommended savings.”

The office also conducted an audit to determine whether the nine acquisition centers that administer the Multiple Award Schedule Program were implementing pricing guidance effectively. The report found a number of inadequacies and inconsistencies among the centers.

Management of real property has plagued GSA for a number of years, and the inspector general found it to be a continuing problem. The Office of Personal Property Management within GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service determines whether personal property no longer needed by federal agencies can be used for another purpose within the federal government. If not, the property is available for donation to state and local public agencies through State Agencies for Surplus Property. An OIG audit found that GSA must improve oversight and corrective actions for the donation program to ensure all program requirements are met. Documentation also must be improved, the inspector general found.

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