Department of Energy

Poor Property Management Allowed Vulnerability to Theft at Rocky Flats Gao ID: OSI-95-4 July 3, 1995

According to the Energy Department (DOE) and contractor officials, theft is a factor in their inability to account for millions of dollars worth of government-owned property at the Rocky Flats Plant. The extent of theft is unknown due to poor property management and inadequate records. Further, even when potential theft was identified, it was not property referred to DOE's Office of Inspector General or the FBI. At the Rocky Flat Motor Vehicle, Maintenance Shop, ineffective management oversight, poor internal controls, and lax physical security meant that shop automotive parts could be easily stolen. GAO also found that a shop supervisor had accessed a database without authorization and has disclose the incumbent supplier's unit prices of its then current contract to a competitor. The competitor later won the new contract.

GAO found that: (1) DOE and its current operations and maintenance (O&M) contractor cannot account for millions of dollars worth of government-owned property because of theft; (2) poor property management practices and inadequate records make it impossible to determine the extent to which theft contributes to equipment accounting problems; (3) the contractor often fails to report thefts to DOE and DOE, in turn, fails to refer instances of potential theft to the responsible investigative authorities; (4) in response to GAO audits and investigations, DOE, its Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have increased their investigations concerning missing or stolen property; (5) the maintenance shop's poor ordering and inventory systems, ineffective management oversight, inadequate internal controls, and lax physical security render the shop vulnerable to theft; (6) the shop's supervisor gained unauthorized access to the part ordering database and disclosed the incumbent supplier's unit prices to a competitor who eventually won the new contract; and (7) DOE and the contractor have made improvements in the ordering system and the physical security of government-owned equipment, but greater vigilance will be needed during the transition to the new O&M contractor who must be made aware of the property management problems.

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