or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Letter to Mr. Dan Tangherlini, Acting Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Last evening, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, led a bipartisan group of Senators calling for the Government Services Administration (GSA) to evaluate the organizational structure of its Public Buildings Service division and consider the need to address long-standing property management problems in an effort to minimize wasteful spending. The letter follows last month's Environment and Public Works Committee hearing examining wasteful spending and employee misconduct related to GSA's 2010 Western Regional Conference. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) join Sen. Carper on the letter.

"In an era of shrinking budgets and scarce resources, it is critical that the federal government becomes a better steward of the land and property it owns," wrote the Senators. "As the landlord to most federal civilian agencies, it is our hope that GSA will continue to work with agencies to develop innovative property management tools that will identify opportunities to dispose of assets that are no longer serving their intended purpose, are exceptionally expensive to retain, or are little used. "

In March, the Senators introduced The Federal Real Property Asset Management Reform Act of 2012, deficit reduction legislation that would help facilitate the disposal of underutilized and unneeded federal property and establish a framework for federal agencies to better manage existing space in a more cost-effective manner. The bill would address vulnerabilities in current law by streamlining the current federal real property disposal process and implementing measures that eliminate property mismanagement and achieve greater efficiencies within the existing disposal process.

"As you conduct your internal review and advance efforts to strengthen internal controls and oversight within the agency, I ask that you consider the structure of GSA's Public Buildings Service and the need to address long-standing property management problems so that we can minimize wasteful spending," continued the Senators. "In doing so, it may be helpful to work with Congress and the Committee to develop additional legislative authority to help accomplish the goals of improved financial and operational management of federal real property."

The federal government owns over one million properties across the county, making it the largest property owner in the United States. In fact, every year since January 2003, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has placed real property management on its list of "high risk" government activities, citing long-standing problems with excess and underutilized property; deteriorating and aging facilities; unreliable property data; and a heavy reliance on costly leasing instead of ownership to meet new needs. In fiscal year 2009, 24 federal agencies reported that they possessed more than 14,000 excess and 45,000 underutilized buildings that cost more than $1.7 billion annually to operate.

The Public Buildings Service of GSA is responsible for acquiring, maintaining, and managing federal facilities. GSA currently operates 11 Public Buildings Service regional offices, including the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C.

The text of the letter follows:

May 21, 2012

Mr. Dan Tangherlini
Acting Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
One Constitution Square
1275 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20417

Dear Mr. Tangherlini:

The details that have been brought forth regarding the General Services Administration's (GSA) mismanagement of its 2010 Western Regional Conference have raised serious questions in the minds of many about how our government is managing taxpayer funds, as well as our efforts to curb wasteful spending. The GSA Inspector General's finding that there were hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper expenditures related to this conference is deeply disturbing and completely unacceptable.

During these times of record high national debt, and the ongoing debate over deficit reduction, we are certain you would agree that we should spare no effort to eliminate government waste. One way we can achieve greater savings is by improving the way the federal government's real estate assets are managed. For nearly a decade, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has placed real property management on its list of "high risk" government activities, in part due to the overwhelming number of excess and underutilized facilities held by federal agencies. This problem is exacerbated by federal agencies' reliance on costly leased space to meet new requirements, despite the fact that building ownership has proven to be more cost effective over time.

Considerable amounts of vacant or underperforming assets can translate into significant costs associated with their operation, maintenance, and security. To fully understand the magnitude of this problem, please consider the following data. According to the Federal Real Property Profile, the government's real estate portfolio is comprised of nearly 900,000 buildings and structures worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Of these assets, we are told that nearly 80,000 are underutilized or excess, costing taxpayers more than $1.6 billion in annual operating expenses.

To address these challenges, in March, we introduced S. 2178, the Federal Real Property Asset Management Reform Act of 2012. This legislation would facilitate the disposal of unneeded facilities, while establishing a framework for federal agencies to make more efficient use of existing space. The measure would also eliminate costly leasing arrangements, particularly those for longer-term needs that would be better served, from a life-cycle cost perspective, by government-owned facilities.

In an era of shrinking budgets and scarce resources, it is critical that the federal government becomes a better steward of the land and property it owns. As the landlord to most federal civilian agencies, it is our hope that GSA will continue to work with agencies to develop innovative property management tools that will identify opportunities to dispose of assets that are no longer serving their intended purpose, are exceptionally expensive to retain, or are little used.

As you conduct your internal review and advance efforts to strengthen internal controls and oversight within the agency, we ask that you consider the structure of GSA's Public Buildings Service and the need to address long-standing property management problems so that we can minimize wasteful spending. In doing so, it may be helpful to work with Congress and the Committee to develop additional legislative authority to help accomplish the goals of improved financial and operational management of federal real property.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Tom Carper
U.S. Senator Rob Portman
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor


Source:
Back to top