Facilities Location Policy

GSA Should Propose a More Consistent and Businesslike Approach Gao ID: GGD-90-109 September 28, 1990

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the policies that guide federal civilian agencies in selecting facility locations; (2) whether rural areas received first priority in location decisions, as required by the Rural Development Act of 1972; and (3) whether any changes in federal location policies were warranted.

GAO found that: (1) during the past 10 years, agencies that experienced increased employment generally selected locations where the demand for their services was greatest, despite policies set forth in federal regulations; (2) several agencies believed that political considerations affected their ability to close and relocate facilities; (3) the private sector generally viewed location decisions as labor market decisions and generally located headquarters operations in major metropolitan areas and administrative operations in smaller cities with low labor costs; (4) localities routinely offered incentives to attract potential employers to their communities but, unlike the private sector, the government typically did not take full advantage of such incentives; (5) central business districts' rental rates averaged about 26 percent higher than the suburban areas of the District of Columbia and 10 standard federal regional cities; (6) the cost of living in 59 areas with at least 5,000 white-collar federal workers varied, but averaged 5 percent higher than the national average; (7) the federal government experienced personnel and production problems primarily because the private sector paid higher salaries than the federal government, but congressional and administrative pay proposals could rectify those problems and make it less costly for some areas to employ federal workers; and (8) the General Services Administration (GSA) did not assist agencies in formulating procedures and guidelines to implement location policies, due to political obstacles and its belief that agencies should make their own location decisions.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Team: Phone:

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.