The GSA has proposed rules to increase the use by agencies of the exchange/sales authority, under which agencies can swap used “personal property” such as computers, office equipment and vehicles and apply the value toward new versions.
In that program—distinct from policies regarding surplus property since agencies have an ongoing need for it—such property either is traded in to the manufacturer with a credit toward the purchase of replacement or is sold with the proceeds being applied for that same purpose.
However, a Federal Register notice notes that GAO has called for more use of that authority, which amounted to just $2.8 billion in value government-wide over a five-year period even though the government holds some $1 trillion in such property. More than half of such transactions were by the GSA itself, with DHS, Agriculture, DoD and Interior accounting for almost all the rest.
The proposed rules would broaden the definition of what type of equipment qualifies for such transactions; remove some items from a list of those prohibited; and clarify that the exchange or sale may occur after the receipt of the replacement property; among other changes.
“By using the exchange/sale authority, agencies have an opportunity to be good stewards of government property by efficiently replacing needed property, including high value items, that serves critical and continuing requirements to meet agency missions. GSA expects these proposed amendments to increase agency flexibility and understanding of this program,” the notice says.