GSA’s total workplace furniture and information technology (FIT) program “does not effectively and efficiently meet its mission” of furthering the government’s “reduce the footprint” initiative to make more efficient use of real property and to reduce total square footage, an IG report has said.
The program allows customer agencies to lease the furniture and IT equipment needed when moving into new—typically smaller—space, freeing up funding for upfront move costs by deferring the costs of furniture and IT equipment through long-term lease agreements. GSA procures and pays for the furniture and IT equipment and the customer agency pays GSA back through the monthly rent bill over the term of its lease agreement with no interest charged although there is an administrative fee to the GSA.
GSA implemented the program “without clear policies and procedures to ensure the program was administered properly and run effectively. In many cases, the roles and responsibilities are unclear, undefined, and not performed,” the report said. “Further, where policy does exist, it is often not followed. By initiating the program without fully developed policies and procedures, GSA hindered its ability to effectively and efficiently meet the FIT Program’s mission.”
It cited issues including that GSA: does not apply its requirements to projects consistently and often grants exceptions from the requirements; has not been conducting payback analyses to support project approval decisions; and has not been appointing tenant agency contracting officers’ representatives. “We also found that the roles and responsibilities for the IT aspects of FIT Program projects are unclear, undefined, and unassigned. Finally, we found that GSA has been billing its customers late and that it does not have a standard billing methodology,” the auditors said.
The report said that GSA management generally agreed with recommendations to address those issues.