Use Of Government Excess Personal Property By Non-Federal Entities

Gao ID: LCD-76-207 September 15, 1975

Pursuant to a congressional request GAO examined the various uses made of federal excess property which is transferred outside the federal government before it becomes surplus and thus available for donation under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949.

GAO noted that: (1) government personal property no longer needed by the using agency is declared excess and is made available to other government agencies through the General Services Administration (GSA); (2) property which is not claimed by a federal agency within a certain time frame becomes surplus to the government and is made available for donation to the states through the GSA and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; (3) the states have established State Agencies for Surplus Property which are authorized to transfer property to eligible private and state-operated health and educational activities for a nominal service charge; (4) federal excess property originally costing hundreds of millions of dollars has been given to non-federal recipients without going through the channels described; (5) the Federal Property Management Regulations allow federal agencies to obtain property declared excess and to furnish such property to certain non-federal entities; (6) title generally remains vested in the government but a few agencies most notably the National Science Foundation, may vest title in recipients; (7) federal agencies distribute the excess property to colleges, universities, state and local governments; and (8) the grantees use the property for a variety of purposes, including reducing costs and expanding the ability of the grantee to fulfill its mission.

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