oversight

Observations on the General Services Administration's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-20.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office                                                           General Government Division
Washington, D.C. 20548



                 B-282259

                 July 20, 1999

                 The Honorable Dick Armey
                 Majority Leader
                 House of Representatives

                 The Honorable Dan Burton
                 Chairman, Committee on Government Reform
                 House of Representatives

                 The Honorable Fred Thompson
                 Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs
                 United States Senate

                 Subject: Observations on the General Services Administration’s Fiscal Year 2000 Performance
                 Plan

                 As you requested, we have reviewed and evaluated the fiscal year 2000 performance plans for
                 the 24 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies that were submitted to Congress as
                 required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (Results Act). Enclosure I
                 to this letter provides our observations on the fiscal year 2000 performance plan for the
                 General Services Administration (GSA). Enclosure II lists the identified GAO management
                 challenges and the GSA Inspector General’s areas of concern that the agency faces and the
                 applicable goals and measures in the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan.

                 Our objectives were to (1) assess the usefulness of the agency’s plan for decisionmaking and
                 (2) identify the degree of improvement the agency’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan
                 represents over the fiscal year 1999 plan. Our observations were generally based on the
                 requirements of the Results Act, guidance to agencies from the Office of Management and
                 Budget (OMB) for developing the plan (OMB Circular A-11, Part 2), our previous reports and
                 knowledge of GSA’s operations and programs, and our observations on GSA’s fiscal year 1999
                 performance plan. Our summary report on the CFO Act agencies’ fiscal year 2000 plans
                                                                                             1
                 contains a complete discussion of our objectives, scope, and methodology.




                 1
                  Managing for Results: Opportunities for Continued Improvement in Agencies’ Performance Plans (GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215, July
                 20, 1999).




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B-282259


As agreed, unless you announce the contents of this letter earlier, we plan no further
distribution until 30 days from the date of the letter. The major contributors to this report are
Gerald Stankosky, Assistant Director; Bill Dowdal, Senior Evaluator; and David Sausville,
Senior Evaluator. If you or your staff have any questions, please contact me on (202) 512-
8387.




Bernard L. Ungar
Director, Government Business
Operations issues

Enclosures - 2




Page 2                                        GAO/GGD-99-113R GSA’s Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I

Observations on the General Services
Administration's Annual Performance
Plan for Fiscal Year 2000
                                                                                                                          1
The General Services Administration’s (GSA) fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan,
issued March 2, 1999, should be useful to decisionmakers in that it provides a clear picture of
intended performance across the agency and a general discussion of the strategies for
achieving its goals. For example, 48 of the 58 goals in the 2000 plan had measures, baselines,
and targets that are quantifiable and that should allow decisionmakers to more easily gauge
performance. However, the plan’s discussion of the budget resources needed to achieve the
goals is incomplete, and it provides only limited confidence that agency performance
information will be credible. For example, the 2000 plan continues to be very general and
does not sufficiently discuss GSA’s planned actions to verify and validate data that will be
used to measure results. Figure 1 highlights the plan’s major strengths and key weaknesses.

Figure 1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000 Annual Performance
Plan

Major Strengths
• It provides sufficient context for understanding GSA’s operations and what it intends to
achieve.
• It contains clear connections between GSA’s mission, strategic goals, and performance
goals.
• It includes goals and measures that are quantifiable, with related baselines and targets.
• It contains clear relationships between goals and measures.

Key Weaknesses
• It does not sufficiently discuss how the performance goals and measures link to the
program activities and funding in GSA’s budget.
• It does not explain how GSA will ensure that its performance data are reliable.

Overall, the fiscal year 2000 plan more fully meets the criteria in the Results Act and related
guidance and provides sufficient context for understanding GSA’s operations and what it
intends to achieve. Among its improvements, the plan has (1) much better linkages between
GSA’s mission, strategic goals, and performance goals; (2) goals and measures that are more
quantifiable and outcome oriented; and (3) clearer relationships between the goals and
measures. For example, measures of the percentage of construction and repair and alteration
projects delivered on time are directly linked to the performance goals related to the on-time
delivery of these services. The plan is also improved in how it addresses crosscutting issues,


1
 GSA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan contained revised goals, measures, and targets for fiscal year 1999; GSA refers to it as
the “Fiscal Years 1999/2000 Performance Plan.” Our analysis compared this plan with the fiscal year 1999 performance plan,
which GSA issued on March 5, 1998, hereafter referred to as the “fiscal year 1999 performance plan” or “the 1999 plan.”




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Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




management problems, and the strategies needed to achieve the goals. However, the plan
does not sufficiently discuss budget resources needed to achieve the goals or adequately
describe GSA’s efforts to verify and validate performance data. For example, the narrative
for 30 of the 58 goals does not directly link the goals to the budget or explain why the linkage
is missing.

GSA’s Performance Plan Provides a Clear Picture of Intended
Performance Across the Agency
The plan provides a clear picture of intended performance across the agency. Compared to
the 1999 plan, the 2000 plan has much clearer linkages between GSA’s mission, strategic
goals, and performance goals that each of GSA’s major organizational components aim to
achieve.2 The plan accomplishes this through a combination of tables and narrative that
describe GSA’s mission, as well as each organizational component’s specific performance
goals, measures, and targets. The plan has a summary table that identifies the goals,
measures, and targets for easy reference. Another table shows how the strategic goals link to
the performance goals for each organizational component. These tables and the related
narrative should provide the context that decisionmakers need to better understand the plan
and what GSA aims to achieve.

The goals and measures in GSA’s 2000 plan are more quantifiable than the goals and
measures that were in GSA’s fiscal year 1999 performance plan. We reported in May 1998
that the 1999 plan did not provide a succinct and concrete statement of expected performance
for subsequent comparison with actual performance. Despite the expectations of the Results
Act and related Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance that annual performance
goals be quantifiable, only 9 of the 31 performance goals in the 1999 plan had measures and
targets that could have been used to gauge performance. For example, the 1999 plan
contained a performance goal to “offer the quality of goods and services desired by our
customers:” but did not include any measures, baselines, or targets. In the 2000 plan, 48 of
the 58 goals had measures, baselines, and targets that are quantifiable and that should allow
decisionmakers to more easily gauge progress. For example, the 2000 plan contains a goal to
“increase tenant satisfaction with leased space,” indicates that tenant satisfaction surveys will
provide the measure, and identifies a baseline and targets. For some of the goals and
measures, GSA plans to benchmark itself against the private sector in areas such as travel and


2
GSA’s major organizational components include the Public Buildings Service (PBS), the Federal Supply Service (FSS), the
Federal Technology Service (FTS), and the Office of Governmentwide Policy (OGP).




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Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




leasing costs. These types of goals and measures should be especially useful in gauging
GSA’s future performance.

The goals and measures in the 2000 plan also provide more meaningful, straightforward
information in relation to their stated goal. In the 1999 plan, the relationship between each
measure and its goal was sometimes unclear. This relationship is much clearer for the large
majority of goals and related measures in the 2000 plan. For example, measures of the
percentage of construction and repair and alteration projects delivered on time are directly
linked to performance goals related to on-time delivery of these services. In addition to
having goals and measures with clearer relationships, we noted that the plan has many goals
related to GSA’s core functions, such as effectively managing space. Examples for this
important function include goals to reduce the amount of non-revenue-producing space in
government-owned buildings and to reduce the time required to lease space for federal
agencies.

We also noted that the fiscal year 2000 plan has more outcome-oriented goals. We reported
in May 1998 that GSA’s fiscal year 1999 performance plan had goals that were typically
more activity or output oriented rather than results or outcome oriented, as envisioned by the
Results Act. OMB guidance specifies that as a general rule, outcome goals should be
included in an annual performance plan, whenever possible. The fiscal year 2000 plan does
include outcome-oriented goals. Some of these reflect important aspects of GSA’s core
functions, such as leveraging the purchasing power of the federal government and ensuring
that federal customers are satisfied with their physical working environments. For example,
the plan contains a goal to achieve significant savings on the cost of federal travel as
compared with commercial travel. Another example is the goal and related targets for
offering 20 percent in savings over commercial prices for compact sedans. The plan also has
goals and related targets for assessing the level of satisfaction among GSA’s federal
customers. If GSA continues to include more outcome-oriented goals as the performance plan
evolves, the usefulness of these future plans will be enhanced.

The 2000 plan also shows improvement in its discussion of crosscutting issues and
management challenges. We reported in May 1998 that GSA’s 1999 plan did not adequately
explain how crosscutting functions were to be coordinated with the federal community. We
pointed out that OMB Circular A-11, section 220.8, states that the annual performance plan
should identify performance goals that reflect activities being mutually undertaken to support
programs of an interagency, crosscutting nature. We went on to say that GSA is an agency
with governmentwide policysetting, oversight, and operational functions and that its major
activities collectively affect the whole federal community.




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Enclosure I
Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




The 2000 plan discusses the crosscutting nature of its activities in the narrative at the
beginning of the plan and in the FSS and OGP sections. Also, the OGP section of the plan
contains some goals that relate directly to interagency coordination. The plan also makes
indirect reference to the crosscutting nature of its activities throughout the plan. Further, the
improvements in the goals and measures in the plan mentioned earlier have the effect of
clarifying GSA’s role as an agency whose functions cut across government. However, in
some areas of the plan, it is difficult to determine which goals reflected activities being
undertaken to support programs of an interagency, crosscutting nature and how exactly the
efforts are being coordinated. This seems inconsistent with OMB guidance that states that
agencies should indicate such goals to assist in reviewing the plan. For example, the plan
recognizes that other government agencies have “shadow GSAs” for real property and
procurement. Implicit in this discussion is that other agencies probably have mutual or
competing goals; however, the plan is silent on whether they do, and, if so, how GSA
coordinated with these other agencies. The FSS section of the plan contains a subsection
entitled “Cross-Cutting Programs,” where the plan recognizes crosscutting areas affecting
FSS and statements about FSS working closely with the agencies involved. However, there is
no mention of which goals were specifically affected or what exactly was done to coordinate
the plan with the other agencies. Moreover, there is no direct discussion of potential
crosscutting issues in the sections on FTS and PBS, which is GSA’s largest component.

Finally, unlike the 1999 plan, the 2000 plan did include a specific discussion of major
management challenges. This discussion and a few of the performance goals touch on some
of the problems we and the IG have identified, such as the need for timely, accurate, and
useful financial information and the agency’s challenges in the area of employee skills.
However, the plan does not adequately address several other long-standing, core problems
that we believe could hamper the accomplishment of many of the performance goals GSA
hopes to achieve. For example, in a November 1998 letter to the House Majority Leader and
a February 1999 letter to the Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, the
IG identified several major management challenges that seem worthy of discussion in the
plan. Some examples of these problems include the effects of removing management controls
that deter fraud, waste, and abuse; data security concerns; and cost and time controls over
replacing outdated information systems. Throughout the plan, there is some implicit
discussion of issues related to some of these areas, but the plan does not focus on how best to
address them.

With respect to the building security area, the IG also identified deficiencies in implementing
building security measures and in reliably tracking progress. Relatedly, in June 1998, we




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Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




recommended that GSA develop outcome-oriented goals and measures for the security
program.3 The plan contains a goal to reduce the number of buildings with high protection
costs while maintaining effective security in government buildings. It also contains some
discussion of actions GSA plans to take to monitor and improve security. However, the plan
recognizes that GSA has no measures to assess performance related to enhancing building
security and is exploring ways to develop such measures.

Overall, the fiscal year 2000 performance plan shows much improvement in providing a clear
picture of intended performance across the agency. It addressed all—or is well on its way to
addressing all—the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999
performance plan as it relates to providing a clear picture of intended performance across the
agency. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 performance plan, we observed that the plan did not
have (1) good linkages between GSA’s mission, strategic goals, and performance goals; (2)
many quantifiable or outcome-oriented goals; or (3) clear relationships between the goals and
measures. It also had a limited discussion of crosscutting issues and major management
problems. The fiscal year 2000 plan shows much improvement in addressing these issues; as
a result, the plan more fully meets the criteria of the Results Act and related guidance.

GSA’s Performance Plan Provides a General Discussion of
Strategies to Achieve Goals
The plan provides a general discussion of the strategies that GSA would use to achieve the
goals. For example, the fiscal year 2000 plan has a strategy associated with each performance
goal and provides, in the management challenges section, a general discussion of the skills,
technology, and financial information resources that are needed to meet the goals. Also, the
FTS section of the plan contains a specific overview of the management strategies FTS plans
to pursue. These discussions respond to the requirements in the Results Act and related OMB
guidance that agencies discuss the operational processes, skills, technology, and resources
(human, capital, information or other resources) needed to achieve the performance goals.
However, it is difficult to specifically link individual goals or groups of goals directly to the
skills, technology, and information resources required to meet them. Without a good linkage,
it is difficult for decisionmakers to determine the extent to which GSA is equipped to achieve
the goals. To illustrate, the strategy for the goal to “Maintain the current proportion of
Schedules contracts awarded to small businesses” was to “Actively participate in outreach
efforts to sustain the proportion of contracts awarded to small businesses.” This strategy is

3
 General Services Administration: Many Building Security Upgrades Made But Problems Have Hindered Program Implementation
(GAO/T-GGD-98-141, June 4, 1998).




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Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




silent on the skills, technology, and human or other resources that are available or needed to
achieve the performance goal. A more explicit discussion of the skills, technology, and
human or information resources that GSA planned to use to achieve its goals would, in our
view, strengthen the plan.

We also noted that the front part of the plan does identify external factors that can affect
GSA’s performance, such as the competitive marketplace, the changing international
economy, and administration priorities. Also, the FSS section identifies several external
factors that can affect performance in the vehicle acquisition and leasing, travel and
transportation, and personal property management areas. In fact, the plan does a good job of
laying out these external factors. However, the discussion of the strategies to mitigate these
factors was not always clear or explicit. A clear and explicit discussion of the strategies
would enhance the plan and provide decisionmakers with better insight into the types of
actions GSA could take to address these factors.

Although the plan provides a more complete discussion of strategies, it does not sufficiently
discuss the budget resources needed to meet the goals. Contrary to the Results Act and
related guidance, the plan does not always show clear connections between the performance
goals and the specific funding and program activities in the budget. Without such linkages,
decisionmakers will have difficulty relating the performance goals in the plan to the program
activities in the budget and assessing how GSA intends to allocate its anticipated budgetary
resources among its performance goals. In the narrative for many of the performance goals,
GSA included a subsection entitled “Budget Link” where the source of funds to be used to
achieve the goal is identified. However, the narrative for 30 of the 58 performance goals does
not contain the “Budget Link” subsection or explain why it is not included. In addition,
several accounts or program activities in GSA’s budget are not linked to any performance
goals, including $4 billion in the information technology fund, $1 billion for special services
and improvements, and about $775 million related to vehicle acquisition/leasing and fleet-
related purchase of equipment.

It is important to recognize that in 21 of the 28 goals where the link was included, the plan
does identify an amount to be spent and its source. For example, the goal to reduce the
amount of non-revenue producing space identified $77 million from the Basic Repair and
Alterations program activity. However, in the other cases, the link to the funding category
and activity in GSA’s budget is often unclear because the activity and source of funding are
not identified explicitly or in a consistent manner.

OMB’s guidance gives agencies some flexibility in how they relate the performance plan to
the budget. For example, an agency may aggregate, consolidate, or disaggregate activities in
the budget’s program and financing schedules if this would make the plan more informative.



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Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




However, it is not always clear which, if any, of these approaches GSA used. As a result, the
plan could benefit from having an explicit discussion of the approach used to link the goals to
the budget, as well as a consistent application of this approach throughout the plan.

Overall, the fiscal year 2000 performance plan shows moderate improvement in the strategy
and budget resources areas, despite the shortcomings mentioned above. The plan has made
progress in addressing the weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year
1999 performance plan, especially as it relates to providing a general discussion of the
strategies the agency will need to achieve performance goals. In reviewing the fiscal year
1999 plan, we observed that the discussion on strategy and resources was very limited and
incomplete and did not meet the criteria in the Results Act and related guidance. Among the
improvements in the fiscal year 2000 plan are a general and informative discussion of the
strategies to achieve the goals and at least a recognition that there needs to be a link between
performance goals and the funding and program activities in the budget. For example, some
of the goals have budget resource linkages.

GSA’s Performance Plan Provides Limited Confidence That
Agency Performance Information Will Be Credible
The plan provides limited confidence that the agency’s performance information will be
credible. The front part of the 2000 plan does discuss the importance of having the
technological capacity to maintain good data, and the plan’s section on PBS discusses the
importance of reliable information and PBS’ implementation of a new system for tracking
real property data. Further, the narrative for all but nine of the performance goals have
subsections entitled “Verification/Validation” that generally identify the source of the data
that will be used as a measure, with some identifying actions to be used to identify data
problems, such as audits of financial records and systems. It should also be recognized that
GSA has received an unqualified opinion on its financial statements for the last several years.

However, the information on data reliability is too general to sufficiently describe, as
required by the Results Act and related OMB guidance, GSA’s planned actions to verify and
validate the data that will be used to monitor progress and gauge results. The information also
does not identify any actions GSA is taking to compensate for unavailable or low-quality data
or discuss the implications of data limitations for assessing performance. Furthermore, audits
of financial records and systems will not necessarily validate specific performance measures.
The process used to develop measures by extracting and manipulating data from the audited
system would also have to be checked to ensure the data are used correctly and provide a
valid basis for assessing performance. As a result, the 2000 plan provided only limited
confidence that the data used to measure performance will reflect actual performance. The




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Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




plan’s recognition that data reliability is important is a good first step. However, data
integrity is critical to the success of any performance measurement initiative, and
decisionmakers must have assurance that the program and financial data being used are
sufficiently complete, accurate, and reliable.

An example of an agency attempting to provide this assurance is in the Department of
Education’s fiscal year 1999 performance plan. In this plan, the Department discusses its
efforts to establish accountability for data quality with its program managers as one strategy
for ensuring high-quality information. The plan also mentions that the Department will
support this strategy through guidance to managers on developing and monitoring quality
data systems and using data to measure program performance. GSA’s performance plan
would better aid decisionmakers if it described the overall strategy for ensuring data quality
and discussed the major procedures to be used to verify and validate performance information
on an ongoing basis. Such procedures could include periodic data reliability tests, computer
edit controls, and supervisory or independent review of the data used to develop performance
measures. The plan relies on many different types of data for its measures and indicators.
Although GSA may not be able to verify all data in a given year, it should be able to do so
over a period of time. Thus, a schedule showing when data are to be verified, by whom, and
how would provide useful information.

Overall, the fiscal year 2000 performance plan shows little, if any, improvement in the data
validation and verification area. It does recognize the weaknesses that we identified in our
assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance plan related to providing full confidence that
performance information will be credible, and it makes some attempt to address those
weaknesses. However, real progress is not yet evident. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan,
we observed that the plan only partially discussed how the agency will ensure that its
performance information is sufficiently verified and validated and did not discuss data
limitations. The discussion in the 2000 plan continues to be very general and does not
sufficiently discuss, as required by the Results Act and related OMB guidance, GSA’s
planned actions to verify and validate data that will be used to measure results.

Other Observations on GSA’s Implementation of Performance-
Based Management
GSA’s performance plan has nearly 60 performance goals reflecting major activities in each
of its primary components—20 for PBS, 19 for FSS, 8 for FTS, and 11 for OGP. However,
the plan does not identify any of GSA’s top goals or priorities for fiscal year 2000 from an
organizationwide perspective. A discussion of the agency’s top priority goals would provide
decisionmakers with a better context for understanding what GSA believes are the most




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Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2000




important initiatives for fiscal year 2000 and what strategies and resources it needs to
accomplish them. Although the Results Act and related OMB guidance do not require
agencies to do this, identifying a small number of performance goals as priorities for the
agency as a whole could be helpful to both GSA and its stakeholders. Both would be able to
focus their time, attention, and resources on the most important areas, which could have the
effect of facilitating GSA’s efforts to achieve its most critical intended results in 2000.

Finally, the 2000 performance plan reflects a solid commitment by GSA’s top management
to achieve the purposes of the Results Act. Although there is room for improvement, the 2000
plan is, overall, superior to the 1999 plan. Furthermore, in reviewing the plan, we noted
several positive statements and initiatives that, if implemented effectively, should go a long
way toward improving GSA’s operations and making it a more results-oriented organization.
These included:

• PBS’ recognition that having accurate, reliable information to make responsible business
decisions is important, and its implementation of the new System for Tracking and
Administering Real Property to achieve this goal;

• PBS’ ongoing practice of measuring accomplishments in each major program and its stated
commitment to linking rewards to performance;

• FTS’ investment in its employees by giving them an individual training budget of 1 percent
of salary, in addition to the normal training allocations; and

• FSS’ strong commitment to minimizing costs while maintaining a high level of product
quality and service.

Agency Comments
On March 30, 1999, GSA’s Chief Financial Officer, Director of Budget, and Managing Director
for Planning provided oral agency comments on a draft of our analysis of GSA’s fiscal year
2000 performance plan. They generally agreed with our analysis and said it would help them
correct the weaknesses we identified as they develop next year’s plan. They did point out that
GSA has actions under way or plans that address the IG’s management challenges discussed
in our analysis. However, they said that they did not share the IG’s view that the year 2000
computer challenge continues to exist. They said that GSA has been very aggressive in
preparing its systems for year 2000 and, as discussed in the management challenges section
of the performance plan, GSA believes it has addressed the problem for all mission-critical
systems. They said that the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government




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Management, Information and Technology, Committee on Government Reform, had reviewed
GSA’s plan to address the year 2000 challenge and gave its plan a grade of A-.




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Enclosure II

Management Challenges


Table II.I provides some major issues related to management controls, information systems,
building maintenance and security, and others that GSA’s Inspector General believes present
key management challenges to GSA.

Table I : Management Challenges Identified by GSA’s Inspector General
Inspector General’s areas of concern                        Applicable refernces in the fiscal year 1999/2000
                                                            performance plan
Management is not emphasizing the importance of             None. Although there is no general goal addressing
following management controls that are intended to deter this broad challenge, the transportation area has a
fraud, waste, and mismanagement.                            goal related to transportation audits. Specifically, the
                                                            goal is to reduce government’s transportation costs
                                                            by recovering or avoiding excess charges through
                                                            pre- and postpayment audits of freight and
                                                            transportation audits measured in terms of dollars
                                                            saved through cost avoidance and collections of
                                                            overpayments.
Developing new management information systems to            None. The plan does discuss some GSA efforts to
replace the many GSA systems that are outdated provides use new information systems like the System for
significant challenges to (1) control costs and time frames Tracking and Administering Real Property and an off-
and (2) develop agencywide architecture.                    the-shelf financial management system that will be
                                                            known as Pegasys. Also, its goals to recover full
                                                            costs associated with leasing programs, complete all
                                                            construction programs on time, and complete all
                                                            repair and alteration projects on time mention the
                                                            need to maintain and improve management
                                                            information systems.
GSA’s automated information systems need to (1) have        None. GSA has goals related to providing information
security features that restrict individuals’ access to data on best practices in system accessibility. Although
and processes needed to perform job duties and (2) utilize security is not explicitly mentioned in these goals, this
controls and safeguards to protect its systems from         issue certainly could be addressed, and GSA could
interference and destruction from outside GSA.              take advantage of this information to address its own
                                                            potential problems. The goals are:

                                                              improve accessibility to shared databases and
                                                              information on best practices and policies for
                                                              government, industry, and the public’s use; and
                                                              establish policies, standards, and best practices to
                                                              help develop an interoperable, single face for
                                                              government electronic business transactions.
Eliminating some multiple award schedule preaward and         None.
postaward processes, which uncovered problems and led
to large settlements and payments to the government,
may leave the government without adequate protection. In
addition, industrial funding arrangements for these
contracts may provide a structural disincentive for
contracting personnel to negotiate lower prices or
eliminate contracts because GSA recovers its costs to
operate this program through a 1 percent of total sales fee
levied on all contractors.




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Enclosure II
Management Challenges




Inspector General’s areas of concern                         Applicable refernces in the fiscal year 1999/2000
                                                             performance plan
GSA’s organization and management structure have not         None.
changed to keep pace with the downsizing, streamlining,
and reform that have taken place within the agency. In
addition, the structure does not seem to match the
responsibility with the authority to manage programs. The
structure has created situations where regions, which
operate independently, compete with one another and
take divergent positions on similar issues.
Much of GSA’s corporate knowledge and expertise has          None. Although there are no specific goals or
been lost or displaced, and replacement staff in             measures linked to upgrading staff qualifications,
procurement and contract management positions have           GSA has a goal related to providing a core curriculum
limited job knowledge and have not been adequately           of courses for all federal agencies and increasing the
trained.                                                     number of employees completing these courses.
                                                             Also, the FTS section of the plan makes reference to
                                                             giving employees individual training budgets of 1
                                                             percent of salary in addition to normal training
                                                             allocations. However, there is no direct discussion of
                                                             how these efforts, or other references to developing
                                                             employee skills that appear in the plan, will address
                                                             this management problem.
GSA is challenged to provide quality space to federal        PBS has the following goals that directly relate to the
agencies with an aging and deteriorating building            repair and alteration of buildings:
inventory and critical budgetary limitations.
                                                             complete repair and alteration projects on time;
                                                             minimize cost escalations on repair and alteration
                                                             projects; and
                                                             meet client agency space needs at the best value to
                                                             the client and taxpayer.

                                                             In addition, it has several goals which relate to
                                                             efficient use of funds for capital projects:

                                                             optimize revenue from government- owned buildings
                                                             to fund capital programs;
                                                             reduce the amount of non-revenue- producing space
                                                             in government-owned buildings to maximize rental
                                                             income;
                                                             maintain building operating costs at or below market
                                                             rates;
                                                             reduce indirect costs;
                                                             reduce the number of buildings that have high
                                                             security costs; and
                                                             minimize cost escalation on construction projects.
GSA’s supply depots may no longer be cost effective to       None. FSS’ management challenges and solutions
operate.                                                     section specifically states that FSS believes there is a
                                                             need to maintain its stock (i.e., depot) program.




Page 14                                                 GAO/GGD-99-113R GSA’s Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II
Management Challenges




Inspector General’s areas of concern                           Applicable refernces in the fiscal year 1999/2000
                                                               performance plan
GSA may not be positioned to meet the Y2K problem.             None. Although the plan has no general goal
                                                               intended to address this broad challenge, the plan’s
                                                               management challenges section states that GSA has
                                                               addressed the Y2K problem for all of its mission-
                                                               critical systems, and it leads four governmentwide
                                                               work groups addressing Y2K compliance issues.
                                                               Also, OGP has a goal to maintain a centralized
                                                               database that contains sources of Y2K-certified
                                                               hardware and software that could be used by GSA to
                                                               address this problem.
GSA has deficiencies in implementing security measures In the Government-Owned Operations area, there is
and in the reliability of systems tracking the progress        a goal of reducing the number of buildings with high
towards implementation. After the security upgrades are        protection costs while maintaining effective security in
implemented, GSA needs to take steps to ensure that it         government buildings. Although the plan identifies
has adequate staff to carry out its security responsibilities. several actions related to security, including the
GSA also needs to ensure that its security program is          exploration of security measures, it does not have
integrated to gather intelligence, maintain technology, and measures that decisionmakers could use to assess
keep a physical presence throughout the federal and local GSA’s performance related to enhancing building
law enforcement community. In addition, GAO                    security or in addressing the IG’s or GAO’s concerns
recommended that GSA develop outcome-oriented goals in this area.
and measures for the security program.




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