The White House announced Wednesday a proposal to create a Civilian Property Realignment Board to expedite the disposal of an estimated 14,000 excess federal buildings, an initiative that could save $15 billion over three years. The board would be made up of public and private-sector experts, and its recommendations would be presented to Congress in a single package to be voted on in an up-or-down manner. All properties would be swiftly disposed of or consolidated, said Jeffrey Zients, the federal chief performance officer and the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.
Congress will need to approve the proposal before the White House can establish the realignment board. Beyond the 14,000 buildings already identified as excess, the government has 55,000 underutilized properties that also could be sold or consolidated, Zients said.
The realignment board is needed to sidestep a number of obstacles that slow the ability of the government to shed surplus property, primarily bureaucratic rules for disposing of real estate, the lack of federal funding for moving and transaction costs, and opposition from local officials and lawmakers, he said. The administration plans to release detailed information on these excess properties next month.
For more details on recent efforts to sell unneeded federal buildings, read the Washington Post story.