Government Business Operations Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Year 1998

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-09-01.

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

                   United   States General   Accounting   Office
                   General Government Division

September   1997
                   Government Business
                   Operations Issue Area
                   Fiscal Year 1998
* ^


                   As the investigative arm of Congress and the nation’s auditor, the General
                   Accounting Office is charged with following the federal dollar wherever it
                   goes. Reflecting stringent standards of objectivity and independence, GAO'S
                   audits, evaluations, and investigations promote a more efficient and
                   cost-effective government expose waste, fraud, abuse, and
                   mismanagement in federal programs; help Congress target budget
                   reductions; assess financial and information management; and alert
                   Congress to developing trends that may have significant fiscal or
                   budgetary consequences. In fulfi&ng its responsibilities, GAO performs
                   original research and uses hundreds of databases or creates its own when
                   information is unavailable elsewhere.

                   To ensure that GAO'S resources are directed toward the most important
                   issues facing Congress, each of GAO'S issue areas develops a strategic plan
                   that describes the significance of the issues it addresses, its objectives,
                   and the focus of its work. Each issue area relies heavily on input from
                   congressional committees, agency officials, and subject-matter experts in
                   developing its strategic plan

                   The Government Business Operations issue area does program and
                   evaluation work involving operations and activities of the General Services
                   Administration, which controls or oversees over $60 billion in annual
                   government spending, and the U.S. Postal Service, which has revenue in
                   excess of $55 billion annually. This issue area also responds to other
                   congressional inquiries, usually in areas where GAO does not have
                   dedicated resources, on a special response basis. Special response work
                   has involved inquiries regarding numerous federal agency activities, such
                   as the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Mint, and the Library of Congress.

                   We have recently issued reports on federal courthouse utilization and
                   testified on government downsizing and office space reductions. We have
                   also testified and reported on Postal Service reform and significant
                   internal control concerns, which could negatively impact their revenues.

                   The principal themes in the Government Business Operations issue area

                 9 effective acquisition, use, and disposition of government assets to reduce
                   costs and provide a greater return on investment;
                 . improved management for greater responsiveness in meetmg agency goals
                   and consumers’ needs; and

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.-t -   l   improved and more efficient operations through alternative strategies for
/’          providing service.

            In the following pages we describe our key planned work on these themes.

            Because events may significantly affect even the best of plans, our
            planning process allows for updating the plan to respond quickly to
            emerging issues. If you have any questions or suggestions about this plan,
            please call me at (202) 5124232.

            Bernard L. Ungar
            Director, Government
               Business Operations Issues

            Page 2

Foreword                       1

Table I: Key Issues            4

Table II: Planned              6
Major Work
Table III: GAO                 7

                      Page 3
       -Issue                                                             Significance
        Asset and support services acquisition: Are facilrties, goods,    The General Services Admtnistratron (GSA) acts as the marn
        and servrces acquired in the most effectrve, effrcrent, and       government focal point for over $60 brlllon of federal
        economical ways to achieve missron goals and return on            procurements each year, ranging from buildings and
        investment?                                                       telecommunrcations equipment to everyday support services
                                                                          Postal Service acquisition programs constrtute several billion
                                                                          dollars each year, primarily in support of meeting customer needs
                                                                          and accurate and timely delivery of the mail to over 223 million
                                                                          locatlons daily, moving over 177 billion pieces of mail annually

        Asset maintenance and use: Are maintenance         and use of     GSA maintains over 1,700 federal buildings whose operation,
        financial assets, facilities, goods, and services being used to   modernization, and general maintenance require continuous
        optimrze value, reduce costs, and achieve mission goals?          oversight and attention The proper maintenance of these
                                                                          buildings IS critical to the quality, health, safety, and usefulness of
                                                                          hundreds of thousands of federal employees Proper maintenance
                                                                          IS vital to malntainrng their service value as well as ensurtng
                                                                          continued income producrng capability commensurate with the
                                                                          private sector

        Asset disposition: Are asset disposrtion policies and practices   Congressional oversight assumes even greater importance as the
        maximizing benefits to the government   and U S citizens?         inventory of federal historic buildings grows, and the bulldings
                                                                          deteriorate for lack of renovation, which is needed to establish
                                                                          them as entitles capable of houstng tenants, consistent wtth
                                                                          current technology This could be especially true for the
                                                                          Courthouse construction program where large numbers of old
                                                                          courthouses WIII become available for dlsposltron or
                                                                          modernization as new courthouses are constructed With federal
                                                                          downsizing and budget deficits as a watchword, these issues
                                                                          remain at the forefront
        Management improvement: Are management          systems and       GSA and the Postal Service are key providers of services that
        processes lmprovtng performance     and being responsive to       contribute to smooth government operation as well as provide for
        customer needs7                                                   a vital network of communication for business transactions and
                                                                          household-to-household   contacts

                                                        Page 4                                                                     GAO/‘lAP-97-24   ’
                                                 Table I: Key Issues

Obiectives                                                                    Focus of work
(1) Improve agency capabilities    to plan for long-and short-term            l Monitor implementation of prior recommendations.
needs and to satisfy them.                                                    l Assess ongoing major reform efforts.
                                                                              l Examrne agency controls to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse

(2) Improve the federal acquisition process by streamlining policres          l Evaluate profitability of selected pieces of currency ($1 corn,
and procedures, improving contracting systems, and making the                 penny, and commemorative corn)
process more responsive.

(3) Identify obstacles that impede cost-effective,     businesslike
acquisitions and assess their impact
(1) Improve maintenance and use of real and other property used               l Examrne systemic obstacles,    such as budgetary limitatrons and
to enhance mIssion accomplishment  and productivity                           lack of strategic planning, which impede cost-effective
(2) Promote the adoption of more economically sound, businessltke             l Focus on agency best practices     and inltratrves
practices In malntalnrng and using properties as valuable national            l Inform Congress    and agency leaders of best practices for
assets.                                                                       inclusion in other buslnesslike activities

(3) Promote the adoption of “best practices” in the real estate
management area                                                                                                                          ,
(1) Promote the adoption of rnnovatrve, economically sound,                   l Identify process lncentrves and private sector strategies
businesslike Incentives and strategies for disposing of government            l Work wrth executive  branch and congressional officials to
assets, which Improve the return on investment to the government              design better approaches for identifying and closing facilities
and the taxpayer                                                              deemed no longer needed

(2) Improve federal agencies’ organizatronal structures and
processes for disposing of real and personal property and financial

(1) Identify opportunities   to promote improvements     in agency            l Review and evaluate agency    management systems and
systems and practices                                                         processes
                                                                              l Identify objective measurement systems
(2) Evaluate how agency management        reform rnitlatives are tracked      l Exambne results from program   lmplementatlon of management
and what progress they show                                                   improvements
                                                                              l Review surveys of customer   satisfaction and evaluate
(3) Assess whether agencies are achieving mandated            social policy   measurement techniques
goals In real estate asset disposition programs

(4) Ensure quality management efforts result In improved service
and responsiveness to customers.

                                                     Page 5
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     ’”Table II: Planned Major Work

                   Issue                                    Planned maior job starts
                   Asset and support services acquisition   l   Federal building funds shortfall
                                                            l   Prison constructron
                                                            l   Bullding security and safety
                                                            l   Federal Pnson Industries (FPI) customer     satisfaction
                                                            l   FPI pricing policies and procedures
                                                            l   FPI timeliness in flllrng customer orders
                   Asset maintenance and use                l   Identification of best practices
                                                            l   GSA’s building modernization program
                                                            l   Deterioration of federal buildings
                                                            l   Burlding energy conservation
                                                            l   Management of historical bulldings
                   Asset disposition                        l   Drsposition of old courthouses
                   Management improvement                   l  Monitoring of GSA ongoing major reform efforts
                                                            l  Managing real property operations
                                                            l Adequacy      of Postal Service controls over $55 billion in Postal revenue
                                                            l International    mail customs treatment
                                                            l New Postal products       and services                                            I
                                                            0 Outsourcing by the Postal Service
                                                             l Postal rnrtlatlves to improve  working conditions and organizational performance
                                                             l Adequacy     of Postal measures and-data

                                                            Page 6
Table III: GAO Contacts

Director              Bernard L. Ungar       (202) 512-4232

Assistant Directors   Teresa Anderson        (202)   512-7658
                      John S. Baldwin, Sr.   (202)   512-4535
                      Gerald P. Barnes       (202)   512-4228
                      Sherrill Johnson       (214)   777-5699
                      Ronald L. King         (202)   512-5248
                      Gerald Stankosky       (202)   512-5758

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