Retirement Security:

The Social Security Administration's Management of Personal Property at Headquarters Needs Improvement

HRD-83-50: Published: Jun 21, 1983. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the management of personal property, which consists of office furniture and equipment, required for operations at the Social Security Administration (SSA) headquarters.

GAO noted that the capitalized value of SSA personal property nationwide is about $164 million, of which $143 million is located at SSA headquarters. GAO found that SSA does not: (1) keep accurate inventory records of its stored personal property; (2) adequately coordinate the disposal of excess property with the General Services Administration (GSA); or (3) make annual property accountability surveys. GAO further noted that these problems existed partly because SSA reorganized several times without monitoring personal property.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: SSA initially agreed with this recommendation, but after implementing it, SSA found that it was too cumbersome to use and the effort was not economically sound. GAO had no basis to disagree.

    Recommendation: SSA should require that custodial officers obtain signed receipts when they issue sensitive property.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Property accountability surveys are made as part of the routine property inventories.

    Recommendation: SSA should make annual property accountability surveys at SSA headquarters.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Improvements were made in coordinating property disposal with GSA.

    Recommendation: SSA should adequately coordinate the disposal of excess personal property with GSA.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SSA is developing an automated property accountability system which will improve its ability to inventory stored property. However, development of the system was halted until the SSA Financial/Administrative Integrated Management System (FAIMS) is completed. FAIMS is not scheduled to begin until May 1987. SSA issued a solicitation on the system to be implemented by October 1989.

    Recommendation: SSA should develop and maintain accurate inventory records of stored personal property.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Annual inventories are being conducted on a routine basis.

    Recommendation: SSA should make annual physical inventories of personal property as required by SSA regulations.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Property management officers were reminded of their responsibilities by memorandum in August 1983. Periodic reminders will be issued in the future.

    Recommendation: SSA should emphasize to property management officials the need for controls over sensitive property to avoid loss or theft.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

 

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