Transfers of Excess and Surplus Federal Personal Property--Impact of Public Law 94-519

Gao ID: LCD-80-101 September 30, 1980

Public Law 94-519 significantly changed various Government policies and procedures on the transfer of excess and surplus Federal personal property to non-Federal organizations. The Law's objectives included restricting the transfer to non-Federal organizations of excess property that might be needed within the Federal Government, and encouraging the fair and equitable donation of surplus property to meet the needs of a wide range of eligible non-Federal organizations.

Much less excess property is now being transferred to non-Federal organizations and a greater portion is being transferred to Federal agencies for their use. There is a greater flow of surplus property to eligible donees. The General Services Administration (GSA) and the responsible State agencies appear to be reasonably effective in their efforts to distribute property fairly and equitably. However, improvements are needed to ensure that the property is managed and used as required by implementing regulations. In the management of the surplus property Donation Program, GAO found instances of failure of States to submit permanent, legislatively developed Donation Program plans of operation, as required by law. There were inconsistent and possibly excessive service charges assessed by State agencies, inadequate inventory control procedures, nonuse or improper use of property by donees, and insufficient audit and review of the Donation Program. The Law's provision concerning the return of excess property located overseas may restrict the Agency for International Development (AID) access to domestic property and property in Europe. The Law did not change the priorities of voluntary organizations regarding domestic or other foreign excesses. Recent congressional action will require the Department of Defense to recover greater costs for its surplus property. GAO believes that the imposition of a care and handling surcharge will result in reduced donee participation in the program.


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