In December 2016, the U.S. Congress enacted the Federal Property Management Reform Act (FPMRA) of 2016 to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government in managing its properties. The law requires that:
- The U.S. Postal Service identify properties with space available for use by federal agencies and submit a list of those properties to Congress; and
- The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) submit an excess property report to Congress within two years of FPMRA’s enactment, that includes a survey of excess property held by the Postal Service and recommendations for repurposing excess property.
The FPMRA defines excess property as any postal property that management determines is not required to meet the needs or responsibilities of the Postal Service.
Our objectives were to evaluate excess space the Postal Service reported to Congress and provide recommendations for repurposing the property to reduce excess capacity and increase collocation with other federal agencies.
In the September 30, 2017, report to Congress, the Postal Service identified 369 properties with over 1.2 million square feet of excess space. As of October 1, 2018, the Postal Service owned over 8,400 properties and leased over 23,100 properties with annual rents of more than $800 million.
What the OIG Found
We determined the excess space the Postal Service reported to Congress was generally accurate. Of the 369 facilities the Postal Service reported to Congress, we found:
- Three hundred seventeen properties (86 percent) had excess space, totaling 1,158,498 square feet, that may be repurposed to reduce excess capacity and increase collocation with other federal agencies.
- Fifty-two properties (14 percent) did not have excess space, totaling 76,432 square feet, because the space at these facilities was needed for postal operations, occupied by lessors, or not suitable for out-leasing.
We recognized that there may be unique challenges to reducing excess space at each of the facilities reported to Congress. However, opportunities exist for repurposing Postal Service excess space to improve utilization of federal properties, lower the number of excess and underutilized properties, and improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the real estate portfolio.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended the Vice President, Facilities, increase collaboration with the General Services Administration in identifying opportunities to collocate with other federal agencies and to conduct a feasibility study to identify viable business opportunities to reduce excess space.