Rep.s John Mica, R-Fla., is not happy about what he sees as a lack of cooperation from the General Services Administration.
At a Tuesday hearing at the Georgetown West Heating Plant in Washington, D.C., Mica, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees GSA, said the agency was not doing enough to sell vacant buildings and make better use of its more than 9,000 building portfolio.
“If you think we came here to embarrass GSA then you are right on target,” Mica said. “Any company that allowed this to happen would be bankrupt.”
GSA has spent about $3.5 million on maintaining the heating plant over the last 10 years but plans to auction off the plant in September, according to the agency.
Flavio Peres, the deputy assistant commissioner for real property utilization and disposal at GSA, said at the hearing that the agency was working hard on disposing of excess property. In the last 10 years, the agency has disposed of more than 2,600 governmentwide buildings and structures for $4.2 billion in proceeds, according to Peres.
Jeff Denham, R-Calif., the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees public buildings, said that GSA has left too many properties too vacant for too long. The heating plant has been unused since 2000.
He said the agency has had disappointing results when it auctions off properties and he hopes GSA will work harder to get more money out of the properties.
Denham urged for the passage of the Civilian Property Realignment Act, which would establish a BRAC-style commission tasked with disposing of large numbers of unused federal properties.
After the hearing, GSA posted an article on their blog detailing their efforts:
Two years ago, President Obama called on his Administration to save taxpayers billions of dollars by consolidating operations and selling excess federal properties. Recently the White House announced that agencies are on track to save $8 billion in real estate costs by the end of this year. In fact, Agencies have already achieved more than $5.6 billion in savings, and GSA alone has contributed more than $317 million in savings so far.
In the past year alone, the federal government has sold or transferred 97 properties valued at $82 million. GSA recently sold the Nome Federal Building in downtown Nome, Alaska, for $1.68 million. The 27,000-square-foot, two-story building, built in 1958, will now be used as commercial office space. At the opposite end of the country in Moscow, Maine, GSA auctioned off a 1,425 acre Cold War-era radar site for around $750,000.
GSA has been working tirelessly with all federal landholding agencies to dispose of unneeded properties and since 2002 more than 3,355 federal properties have been taken off the government’s rolls. But more still needs to be done. Our mission at GSA is to make government more efficient and save money, and as the federal government’s landlord, we will continue to do that by working with agencies to identify and dispose of buildings and facilities that are no longer needed.